The Highest Form of Art to Some

An art fair is a great place to find up and coming artists. At many, the artists are vetted by gallery owners. Here the quality of the work may still vary wildly, but the artist has found at least one person to vouch for them. Other art fairs may be open to anyone willing to pay for a spot. With the advent of digital photography and desk top printing nearly anyone can become a vendor of their work.Regardless of the quality of the photograph, there are other issues of quality that should be reviewed or the purchased photograph may fade away in a year or so. Here, the patron is responsible for vetting the work him or herself. Here are a few tips when looking at photographs.First and foremost; do you like it? Don’t spend too much time analyzing why something is appealing. Maybe the rock looks like Aunt Annie’s backside; knowing that might ruin the warm fuzzy feeling. Art is personal. If it is a major investment, a second visit might be merited to make sure it wasn’t just the enchilada and margarita doing its magic.Once moved by the artwork, there are several questions that should be asked. Finding out the medium is important. Was the photograph taken with a digital or film camera? Here’s the key- if it’s not film, then it’s digital. If it’s digital then there are many different types of printers and many different types of paper that can be used. Up until several years ago most papers had a major issue with image fade. The quality of printers and papers has improved and now images can last from 15 to over 100 years in average use conditions. Is the photographer knowledgeable about paper and printers?This leads to several important questions. Is it a pigment based print or a dye based print? Pigment holds up better in light and is more durable. Dye-based prints don’t run or bleed as much if it gets wet. (There are some pigment based products that claim to be as resistant to running or bleeding as dye-based products.)What type of paper is the picture printed on. Often the ink or pigment is designed to work best with a specific paper and printer. These are issues the photographer should be well versed in. If he can’t coherently discuss the longevity issue, then think twice before buying.

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