Paul West, "Key West Pier," copyright 2007
“The Photography” is here, and Edward Riddell brought it. Riddell’s affinity for European flair — particularly Italy’s culture and language—inspired him to title his new collection of curated fine prints Le Fotographie.
Photographers represented on the site are long-standing friends of Riddell’s, and he’s taught the craft alongside many of them. Knowing Riddell’s penchant for professionalism and perfection, colleagues were more than willing to test the idea. A ringing response to a challenging economy and a boon to photography collectors challenged by high prices, Le Fotographie offers the opportunity to purchase great photographic prints. Riddell calls photography one of America’s truly original contributions to the art world, and it just seems appropriate to make photography—a medium that can be replicated almost infinitely—available to anyone.
At this writing, Riddell has just re-structured his pricing. Prints are available beginning at $24.95 plus shipping and handling. Periodically the new business will offer free shipping on purchases over a certain amount. Prints are delivered in special boxes containing an embossed portfolio folder for the print, and a transparent, embossed protective tissue.
If Riddell is successful, his new resource stands to create solid competition for galleries charging much higher prices for limited edition prints. Le Fotographie is the second major innovative Jackson-based arts marketing project in as many months.
(These dynamic initiatives are at the core of what the Town of Jackson needs to incorporate as we plan for the future. We need to be in the business of creating a distinct identity, instead of trying to replicate Teton Village and Shooting Star aprés ski ambience. We don’t have the location, and we need to diversify our economic base. If you had $500/night to spend at a ski resort, where would you stay? In town, or at Teton Village/Shooting Star/Amangani?)
Riddell says Ansel Adams’ Yosemite portfolio is really responsible for the creation of Le Fotographie. In 1958, Adams made affordable prints of some of his most famous images. His will stipulated that those prints would continue to be made
Matt Mallams, "Purse Snatcher," copyright 2006
after his death; he reserved the other negatives, which will never be available for sale.
“As Ansel told the story he believed tourists and visitors to Yosemite ought to be able to have a really beautiful souvenir, something other than “rubber tomahawks” sold in so many of the shops. So to this day the prints are available for only $225, which is incredibly inexpensive for a real Adams print,” explains Riddell. “They are unsigned and stamped ‘Ansel Adams Special Edition Print.’ A signed version of any of those prints would be worth many thousands of dollars.”
Limited supplies are pricier, but few editions of any photogrpaher’s work sell out.
“The concept of limited editions is inherently ‘unphotographic.’ After all, photography is virtually the only art form with the ability to produce infinite original prints from a single image,” explains Riddell. Le Fotographie offers unlimited images of every image cataloged.
Riddell’s expertise, love of the medium and, frankly, exquisite taste, curated the collection; but he offers a “democratic” product. Riddell thinks Adams would have championed the concept, and he has stamped “Le Fotografie Authorized Special Edition Print” with a copyright notice for the photographer on each order.
Using the highest quality archival paper and pigment inks, each print is made after the photographer has approved a master print of each image on the site. Riddell will add more images–change things up–monthly. The site offers a newsletter, reviews, and (GASP!) a blog that will cover topics relating to photography and the website.
“This way photographers can continue to sell signed editions of their prints to collectors willing to pay a premium for the signature. But for those who just enjoy a beautiful photograph they can afford to buy it and enjoy looking at a beautiful print every day,” says Riddell. Much more information is available on the website: www.lefotographie.com.
Photo Credits: Top, left: Paul Adams, “Key West,” © 2006; Middle, right: Matt Mallams, “Purse Snatcher,” © 2006; Below, center: Jon Stuart, “Backstop at la Taos Church,” © 2007.
Jon Stuart, "Backstop at la Taos Church," copyright 2007
Buy five, get one free. That’s the simple and sound model for a new brochure-ticket created by five regional museums in the Greater Yellowstone area. Wyoming’s Buffalo Bill Historical Center (BBHC) in Cody, WY; the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY; the Carbon County Historical Society and Museum in Red Lodge, MT; the Yellowstone Historic Center in West Yellowstone; and the Yellowstone Gateway Museum, Livingston, MT are offering families a chance at a free family membership.
All you have to do is visit each of these museums before December 31, 2011. With each visit you will receive a passport-like “stamp.” Once the fifth and final museum is visited and your passport is full, a free family membership to the to the final museum is awarded. Hence, if you have a hankering for a BBHC family membership—good for a year—make that museum your fifth stop.
A query as to whether passport owners may request the reward of a family membership to be gifted to another family has not been answered; but it seems a good way to get even more people to visit the great consortium of museums surrounding Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. For now, go with the assumption that the gift is non-transferable.
Questions? Contact Marguerite House (firstname.lastname@example.org ) OR Lee Haines ( email@example.com/ 307.578.4014) at the BBHC.
The BBHC released the announcement, and you can visit their website at www.bbhc.org.