Sunday, May 18, 2008

Print Swap Chain

As I've mentioned earlier on this blog I am a fan of trading prints. I've wound up trading prints with a few blog readers and I've been pleased with the quality of photography out there. I'd like to propose a more formal print trading system for any readers who are interested.

Here's how it works. You send me your name, address and email. I collect these addresses into a database. At the end of each month, I email one address at random to each person. You send a small-medium sized (somewhere around 11 x 14) gallery quality print to the name/address. You receive the same from another person in the database. So, at the end of each month you send out one print somewhere out into the world and receive one print. Within several months you've built a nice small collection, and your prints have found loving homes across the globe.

The prints can be old or new but whatever you send out must be your own work. I will change the order of addresses each month so that no one receives more than one print from anyone else.

Anyone who would like to join the print swap, please contact me either via email or through the comments field.


tomé said...

think this would work better with some sort of curation. with all due respect to all potential swappers, without curation you'll inevitably end up doing some quite unfair trades.

think i'll still give it a try.

Blake Andrews said...

I deliberated about how and if this project should be curated before deciding in the end to just let it go and see what happens. Partly this is because I am uncomfortable being put in a gatekeeper position and partly because I think it's impractical. There is no way I can examine everyone's prints before they are mailed out.

I think most readers of this blog are committed photographers. Photography is the only thing I write about here and I can't imagine who else besides photographers would be interested in reading about it. So I will trust that people joining the project are serious enough to make good prints that others will enjoy.

That said, over the course of several months you are almost guaranteed to get one or a few prints that you don't like. You may judge their trade value to be somehow "unfair". On the other hand you will probably get at least one or two prints from photographers you've never heard of which you will like quite a bit, which may open a new path of interest for you.

Regular blog readers can probably guess my feelings toward chance and uncertainty. I think they are generally healthy in photography and in life. One of the best things about the way I've set this up is that whatever print you get will be completely unexpected, from an unexpected place and an unexpected person. You will be surprised, either pleasantly or perhaps unpleasantly. Joining the project is like buying a raffle ticket with a very cheap admission and an unknown but potentially very interesting prize.

The alternative, which is by nature much less uncertain, is to just make prints for yourself and keep them in a drawer somewhere.

Anonymous said...

... this sounds very interesting. I'm not to familiar with gallery quality prints... what does that mean?

michal said...

I would certainly be interested.

Andres said...

I understand what tomé is saying, interestingly enough, from the other side of the coin.

I've never done a gallery show. In fact my profession is as an engineer and photography is something that I wouldn't put much higher than a hobby in terms of time and energy spent, by necessity.

Don't misunderstand me, my interest in photography is great, but I haven't actively shared much of my work.

Perhaps if not curated, at least have "approved membership".

My website is linked, if the work shows enough commitment I'd be very happy to have good quality prints made of newer work sent in exchange for that of others in this community.

Andres said...

And of course blogger isn't smart enough to take a simple web address

Blake Andrews said...

One person asked what does "gallery quality" mean? It is admittedly a loaded and arbitrary term. For the purposes of the print swap, gallery quality means a print that is made (including toning, spotting, dodging, cropping, color balancing, etc and/or any other manipulation) to reflect the artist's vision to the best of his/her ability. Although the word "archival" is subjective, it should be archivally printed. No RC prints, cheap inks, or fade-prone papers.

To everyone who has commented, thanks for your interest. If you'd like to join, please email me your physical address and email. I cannot proceed very far without that info. Thanks. I hope to get this off the ground within a few weeks.

تقنية المعلومات said...

clever and creative for sure

Becky said...

I'd love to take part! sounds like a fantastic idea! my flickr is here: and it sounds like a lot of fun!!