Photographic prints are not necessarily created at the time the image is taken. The term ‘vintage’ refers to a photograph that was printed at, or near to, the time the exposure was made. Although the word is frequently used in discussions around a work, we do not use it in our cataloguing. We do list the medium, however, to indicate the print was made in the manner the artist was working around the time the image was taken.
When a photograph is printed sometime after the date of the image, such as modern prints of celebrated historic images, this is most commonly indicated by being catalogued as ‘printed later’. Where possible we aim to be specific: for example you may find works catalogued as ‘printed 1960s or c. 1968’ in our sale catalogues.
The answer to this entirely depends on the artist’s work in question. Some photographers or their estates have good records of this information, for others it does not exist.
When a photograph is numbered from an edition, this is a great indicator since editions specify the number of prints of a given image in a specific size. It is more typical for contemporary photographs to come from an edition.
When it is not specified in the cataloguing, consult a specialist, who will use his or her knowledge of the photographer’s practice to advise how many prints may exist.
The condition of a photograph generally, but not always, affects the overall value of the work. In early experiments in photography, condition issues are to be expected given the age of the print and that the process was not yet fully developed.
Press prints, by their nature, were handled more than fine-art prints because of their use for disseminating information, which explains why they may have more creases.
Contemporary photographs should be in good condition considering they have a more recent print date. All condition issues should be considered in light of the overall impact they have on the image and whether they are visible at a distance.