Photographs are sold as unique prints, as editioned prints or as open editions.
The rarity of an artwork, the printing date and the historical provenance influences commercial value.
Editions were created in the 1970s when the photography market took on for two purposes; limit the offer of a specific print, hence ensuring rarity, and keep control of the market through tracking. If a print sells as an open edition, there are no indications of how many are existing. An edition of photographs can range from two to 150 or more. The fewer prints in the release, the higher their value. Prices can sometimes rise gradually with the edition (scaled pricing); as the work becomes less available and therefore more desirable, it's price increases until the edition is sold out. Artists often add artist’s proofs or AP’s to an edition. The aim is to keep the artist proof for herself, donate it to a museum or to sell it when the edition is sold out. Artists may release various sizes for a specific image, and larger size prints usually cost more. A unique print will hold the highest value similarly to a ‘vintage’ print.
Photographs printed before the 1970s edition system are usually open editions and categorised as ‘Vintage’ prints, ‘Later’ prints and ‘Modern’ prints. ‘Vintage’ prints have been printed soon after the image was made and are very often unique. ‘Later’ prints were made out of negatives or transparencies whereas ‘modern’ prints are contemporary prints.
At Lenscloud, all prints are editioned.