doesn’t mean you should.
From the thousands of images the I would consider “candidates,” it seemed that arriving at 52 would be fairly straight forward.
I quickly realized however, that the majority of photographs I viewed would likely deliver a more memorable experience on a more intimate scale. But photographs that are just MEANT to be printed big…Wow! What a difference!
I’ve attended many art fairs and shows, spent my fair of share of time in galleries—from smaller photography galleries to the Gagosian’s, Hamiltons and Houk’s of the world. These high end contemporary galleries all represent photographers whose work is setting new sales records for big images—from Andreas Gurskey and Candida Höfer to Nick Brandt, Richard Mosse and Luc Delahaye.
The common thread among these blue chip photographers is that their signature images are meant to be experienced…Big. Every image has a sweet spot size and big isn’t always it. That’s why I challenge the practice of printing at various sizes at various edition sizes. There is one size that is always going to carry more value. Sometimes I come across files that will easily support printing at 60″x 80″ but I opt for 40″ x 60″ because I feel the smaller size better serves the image.
So just because you can print big, doesn’t mean you should. I’ve seen many works represented by galleries, that in my opinion, should never have been pushed beyond the sweet spot size—maybe I thought it was a just bad photo, or quality was being compromised, or bigger simply didn’t elevate my visceral or emotional response. Not in a positive way anyway!
Not that I look at the work of blue chip photographers for guidance, but I do acknowledge what they’re doing and realize that at the end of the day, subject matter isn’t really relevant to determining size.
Sometimes you just have to trust your gut.