Fine Art Photography by Frederick M. Stevens
|Thank you for
visiting my website and for your interest in my photography. I
hope you enjoy what you see. I have prepared this Buyer's
Guide to assist those of you are considering the purchase of one or
more of my photographs. There is a certain amount of
terminology, method and procedure which will help you in your
purchasing decision. I apologize for the fact that a few aspects of
this discussion are a bit technical, but they are necessary as a
form of full disclosure and quality assurance.
This guide provides complete information on how you go about selecting images from the gallery exhibits as well as step-by-step purchasing instructions. The information is divided into six sections:
(To go directly to the section desired, click on the section title below)
Fine Art Prints: This, like some of the other terms I will discuss, has come have a number of different meanings, depending upon who you ask. In my view, an artist can't really define himself as a "fine artist", as that description would seem more appropriate coming from those who view the artwork, not the creator of the artwork. However, the practical definition of a Fine Art Print as generally used by true professionals today, has the following criteria:
All of the photographic prints I offer for sale on this website meet the above criteria and should be considered Fine Art Prints. I personally make each print (presently up to 24x60 inches), individually, on my own professional equipment. Larger prints are presently done at quality professional labs with my close supervision and personal approval. Film-based images are scanned at high resolution, converting them to high-definition image files which, along with image files from my digital cameras, are then spotted, color-matched and printed on an Epson Stylus Pro 3880 or Stylus Pro 7900 printer, using 9 or 11-color archival Epson K3 UltraChrome pigment inks. I use only premium archival papers and canvas which, depending upon the paper's finish (matte, luster, canvas) will have a minimum display print life of 25-75 years (the actual length will depend upon the light falling upon the displayed print, the framing of the print, and other relative conditions of the display space). An album or stored print will have a life of 50-200 years or more. All of the mounting and matting materials on my Limited Edition Prints are conservation grade, with many of them being museum grade.
Some people are confused about the distinction, if any, between a Fine Art Print and a gicleé print. The French word gicleé (pronounced "zhee clay") is a marketing term meant to represent advanced, multi-color (6-plus colors) inkjet printing methods employed in both fine art photographic prints and reproductions of non-photographic media. Therefore, a reproduction of a watercolor painting on a 8-color inkjet printer may be considered a gicleé print. However, while my prints may be described as using gicleé printing methods and materials, they are all made individually from the original source file or scan, making them original photographic prints.
There are also those, in some less-informed circles, who are unaware of the nature of the digital revolution and its effect on photography. The traditional optical enlarger, used to produce positive photographic prints from original negatives and transparencies in "wet" darkroom conditions, is being largely replaced by the optical film scanner, attached to a computer which is used to produce positive photographic prints from original negatives and transparencies in normal room light conditions. There is no practical difference between enlarger-generated and quality computer-generated photographic prints. Some have argued that computer-generated prints are "reproductions" and not originals and are, therefore less valuable than enlarger-generated prints. This overlooks the obvious fact that photographers almost never sell their "original" negatives or transparencies as finished art. The end-product of the photographic art is the print which has always been interpreted and deviated to some degree from the original in-camera exposure. In silk-screening, cast sculpture and many other art forms, the intermediary steps and components are not the finished piece. In digital photography, the computer is no more disruptive to the artistic process than is a painter's brush, a musician's instrument or a sculptor's scalpel. I think the gicleé definition above has confused some who haven't studied modern photographic processes and their evolution.
Limited Edition Prints: When I select an image or group of images for printing as a Limited Edition, I have made a commitment to prospective buyers and/or collectors that their purchase may attain added value by virtue of the forced scarcity that a limited edition imposes. This conflicts with my natural desire that my photographs be viewed and owned by as many people as possible. As a result, I resist doing a great many limited editions. However, some art shows, festivals and other venues insist upon the display and sale of limited edition prints. My liberal compromise solution is as follows:
Most of my limited editions are of moderate size, usually consisting of a total of 150-400 prints in three or four Series. There will usually be a series of 100± prints at the smallest size acceptable to me, based upon the nature of the image itself. There will usually be be a series of 100± prints at the optimal "bedroom or office" viewing size. There will always be a series of 100± prints at the optimal "living-room" viewing size. There will sometimes be a series of 100± "large" prints which will begin at the next size larger than the living-room series, up to the maximum size I believe the image will support. As an example, an image with a 2:3 aspect (width-to-length) ratio might be offered in a larger edition with four series as follows:
The smaller series were added in recent years, in response to requests from those who live in smaller spaces or who have limited display space. In the example above, the series of 100 8x12 inch prints was included. However, these smaller sizes are not available in all editions and never for earlier photographs whose editions have already had sales.
The Series Large print group was also added to respond to requests from those with larger viewing spaces. However, you will not find Series Large available for all photographs. A high percentage of my work is done with mobile 35mm and digital equipment, often under extreme lighting conditions. In the film days, this often meant choosing films with higher sensitivity to light and corresponding decreases in resolving power. Some of these images will not enlarge well beyond a certain point. The absence or limitation of a Series Large option means I have decided not to enlarge the photograph beyond a certain point or, the edition already has sales and is, therefore, "set in stone".
All limited edition prints are signed, capture-dated (with the year the source image was photographed) and numbered on the margins of the print and, usually, also on the accompanying mat. They also come with a dated and numbered label which may be affixed to the back of the print mount once it has been mounted and/or framed for display. All limited edition prints are archival.
Sample Print Description Label - Appears on back of all print mats
Limited edition prints purchased directly from me come with a written Certificate of Authenticity which is a "pedigree" describing, in my words, the photograph, the printing materials and methods, and the edition particulars. The Certificate of Authenticity is also signed, dated (sale date) and numbered. All limited edition prints may be registered with the buyer having the option of having their name, as the original owner, recorded. In any case, date and place of sale are recorded.
Sample Limited Edition Certificate of Authenticity
I produce my limited edition prints in small lots or "blocks" of 5-10 each, from a standard print file. Limited edition prints purchased directly from me are sold by the lowest available numbered print first. I do hold a very limited number of "matched number" sets for collectors and portfolio buyers. I rarely change any aspect of the prints from one lot to the next, but reserve the right to do so if my vision of the image should change or if I discover a new/better way to make a print from my original source. Any such changes from previous prints in the edition will be noted on the pedigree under "Edition Notes" and will be referred to as renditions. Advances in printing/materials technology have a hand is this as well.
In most instances, there will exist one or more unnumbered "artist proof" prints which I retain for my own reference or for communication with and supervision of professional labs that I hire to produce the larger prints of the photograph. Prints numbered 1 through 5 of any non-commissioned limited edition ("living room" series) are always reserved for my immediate family members' personal collections.
Digi-matted Prints: These are usually individual open-edition prints but are also sometimes offered in 3-print limited edition groupings. The distinguishing feature of a "digi-matted" print is that I have created a printed mat or border treatment as part of the actual print image. It usually will not intrude upon the original recorded image, but will creatively "frame" it in some way. This may be the only "matting" involved or may be done in combination with actual mat-board. You may even chose to cover the digi-mat design with a physical mat. Digi-matting is not done very often and is not usually available as an option for special ordering.
Archival Standards: The term "archival", for our purposes, means designed and produced to last a very long time. For photographic prints, this means the use of materials and methods which promote a very long print life, resistance to fading and color shifts, papers resistant to yellowing and disintegration, and mounting materials which stay in place and resist aging as well. I have made every effort to apply archival standards to all of the photographs offered on this website and at my live exhibitions.
However, the things I do in creating my photographic prints aren't the only factors involved. Photographic prints, even those made with modern archival materials and methods, are vulnerable to strong light, UV radiation, chemical impurities in the air, humidity and temperature. Displayed prints will not last as long as prints in archival storage (25-75 years vs. 50-200± years). I have prepared a handout on the "Care and Feeding" of your print to assist you in maintaining the best possible conditions for viewing and preserving your investment.
As a side note, please be skeptical of various claims you will see about prints lasting 100 years or more when they are hanging on your walls. While there may, in fact, be an image on the paper after 100 years, even the best papers and inks will begin to fade immediately. The 100+ year claims are based on an "acceptable degradation" standard. This standard is highly subjective and can be as much as 30% visible fading of the image. My estimates (and these are all estimates) are based upon the 5% visible fading standard currently be developed for the "ISO" International Standards Organization.
Optimal Viewing distances for Photographic Prints: Viewing distance is a key factor in selecting the right print size for your needs. This is also another area where reasonable people may disagree or have differing rules and/or tastes. My rule-of-thumb is that a photograph, displayed as art, should be hung at eye-level with an expected viewing distance of (at least) three times the diagonal of the image area (not the frame). If your friend puts his/her nose on the glass and engages in "pixel-peeping" (looking for the tiny dots or grains that make up he image, rather than the image content), they don't get it. A rap on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and a firm "No No!" should eliminate this problem. If not, steer them toward the appetizer tray and/or TV remote.
Making Your Selections: As you explore the various exhibits in the gallery, you may click on individual photographs to see them in more detail. If you click on the "Ordering Information" link below the image on the photograph's display page, you will see ordering information that looks something like this:
This information shows what options are available for your chosen photograph and displays current pricing for the various options. This particular example is for a limited edition photograph. The specifications for limited editions will vary slightly from one to the next. Other types of prints will have slightly different descriptive information but very similar sizing, pricing and ordering information. A detailed description of the ordering process follows.
Printing, Matting and Framing Information: Most photographs will be offered in at least three enlargement sizes. The sizes shown are for the approximate printed image area on a slightly larger overall sheet of paper. All of the enlargements are on professional fine art grade archival papers, and are printed using high quality, vivid, stable pigment inks with extremely long life and color-fastness.
When selecting a matted or framed print, the small numbers under the print dimensions are the size of the outside dimensions of the mat mount. Again, all mounting materials are of professional archival quality. The enlargement will be properly positioned in the mat mount and secured by gallery-style "T-hinges" or floating photo corners (or a combination of these) for immediate framing.
When selecting a framed print, the frame used will be a gallery-style photo frame. Most of the frames will be traditional photo-gallery-style black frames made by Larson, Nielsen or equivalent archival aluminum or (less often) wood. The print will be glazed with UV-filtering acrylic "glass". The framed print will be shipped fully assembled and ready for hanging (except for the actual hanging hardware which will dependent upon your choice of method and location.
If you are unsure of your framing and/or display plans, it is best to order a matted print and to have your local frame or craft store do the framing. Most Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Ben Franklin and other major crafts stores will have a full-time framing professional available to help you. Local framing also lowers shipping costs and purchase price dramatically.
Ordering by Personal Check Instructions:
As shown above, you may call in your order at 575-760-5300 on any business day (you can try on weekends as well, but we don't guarantee that anyone will answer). Or, you may print out a copy of our Order Form directly from your internet browser and mail us your order. Click here for the form and then click your browser's "PRINT" icon. When the form has printed, click your "BACK" icon to return to this page.
Complete the section of the form giving your address information. Please include your email address so we may contact you if necessary regarding your order. We do not share or sell email information with anyone.
Return to the gallery pages to obtain photograph descriptions and numbers. The photograph number appears under the image, in blue or gray with the format "AA999X". You may also use the photograph's title in ordering.
Be sure to note the size and mounting option/style (matted print, framed print, gallery wrapped canvas, etc.).
Unless otherwise noted, we will assume quantity 1 of each.
Fill in the prices and compute the line and form totals for your order. Standard shipping options and prices are shown. If no additional shipping preferences are requested, we will send your order via US Postal Service, insured. Special orders and other/special shipping arrangements may involve additional costs. New Mexico residents must add 6.1875% to the order total for NM gross receipt taxes. Please make your check or money order payable to Fred Stevens. Send your order form and payment to:
Check and money order purchases are confirmed and will usually ship within 5 to 7 business days.
Ordering with a Credit Card: The Stevens Online Photographic Gallery gladly accepts your major credit card (MasterCard, VISA, Discover and American Express) for purchases made on this website. Your credit card transaction will be handled over the phone like any other. Purchase using your credit card by telephone (575-760-5300 M-F 8am-5pm MST). Please do not send your credit card information by email.
Credit card orders for "in stock" items are processed and confirmed within 24 hours and will usually ship within 2 to 3 business days. Special orders and/or special shipping arrangements may take longer.
Print Pricing Structure: Our current general print pricing structure, covers most types of prints, matting and framing options. Not all options are available for all prints. Be sure to read the ordering information on the individual display/ordering pages for the photograph you are interested in. Sometimes, we will offer specialized work with special pricing. Prices for prints in a limited edition will gradually increase as the edition sells out. There are also special print groupings and portfolio pricing options for many photographs.
The prices shown on this website are for prints ordered from this website. Our prices at "live" arts festivals, fairs and shows will vary slightly (lower/higher) depending upon distance traveled and costs attendant to appearing and delivering the exhibit. There is no shipping or additional handling required for a direct "in-person" purchase, but local sales taxes are usually collected. New Mexico residents will always have to pay NM Gross Receipts taxes for both website and in-state local purchases. Prices for my work offered in galleries will vary widely, is sometimes higher in price, and such works are sometimes exclusively represented and not available through the website.
Larger print sizes are not always available immediately and may require a special order and increased delivery time. Note that prices on this website do not include shipping costs.
Shipping is usually done via USPS-Priority Mail or U.S. Postal Service Parcel Post Insured. Mounted and/or framed prints are shipped in padded corrugated boxes or foam-board shipping kits. Note card sets are shipped in sturdy bubble-wrap-lined mailing envelopes or priority mail boxes. We use minimal, eco-friendly packaging wherever possible, but we're not fanatic about it.
Some multi-item orders may be shipped in more than one package. If your order arrives with any visible or suspected damage, you should refuse delivery so that it can be returned to us for claim and replacement.
When we are on the road doing our photography or at exhibitions, we may contact you regarding additional shipping time required. Our business telephone is a cellular unit, so we will answer when traveling (unless we've got a moose in the viewfinder!).
These are the basics. Most of the rest is knowing what you like and going for it. If I can be of any help or you would like me to answer any of your questions, please contact me and I will do my best.
Thanks again for your interest! - ~φ~ Fred Stevens-Photographer/Owner/Operator/Generic Honcho
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text and web page design Copyright © 1968-2014 - Frederick M. Stevens
No use, no copying, and no derivative works are allowed.
All of the images in this gallery may be purchased buy contacting the photographer or through the links appearing on the gallery pages.