Lester stopped by today and the conversation ran all over the place until he asked what was going to happen to all these pictures after I was gone. It’s something I’ve thought about but never did come up with anything satisfying. If I had children, then I could leave it to them. But I don’t. And I don’t have anyone in the family that I could see leaving it to. What would they do with a bunch of files, some prints and a bunch of negatives.
What annoys me is the idea that this so-called estate might become valuable after I die. I was pondering this dilemma that’s common to artists and I did have one idea, to sell off the rights to my estate while still alive. I wonder if anyone has ever done that. You could put it up on eBay and sell your lifetime of work to the highest bidder. The winning bidder would be free to resell prints, make prints from the files or negatives or just sell the whole thing off to a gallery or a museum.
It’s a long shot, from the buyers point of view, but art collectors are always looking for these sorts of long shots. And the point, in case that’s missed, is that the artist would get some benefit from his/her estate while still able to use it.
Despite the fact that he was famous, Walker Evans wasn’t rich as he neared the end. An art dealer from Madison Ave. offered Walker $50K for all of his prints, in or around 1972 and he accepted the offer. The dealer showed up at Walker’s home in Connecticut driving his fancy car. The image of a white Rolls Royce stuffed to the gills with all of Walker’s boxes full of photos, as it drove away from his house, has haunted me since I read about… – Weber
I remember when Brett Weston burned his negatives: “The ‘child genius’ of American photography turned eighty on December 16, 1991. On that date he began destroying nearly seventy years worth of negatives. – Mundy
Anyone that’s been involved in the art game for a while, knows that destruction and creation are just two sides of the same coin. – Dave B.
Poet’s Walk – Burning (2010)
There is something liberating about burning a print – especially a so-called signature print. I can understand why Brett did it. I can also tell you that I saw his exhibit at Aperature and his were to date the most beautiful (from a technical point of view) prints I’ve ever seen, and that includes original prints by Adams, Evans, and the other top photographers. As a printer, he was the acme.