Pentti Sammallahti of Finland - affordable art

July 31, 2018  •  2 Comments

Not to beat a dead horse but I found this interesting and hopeful.

In The Economist: Pentti Sammallahti, Finland's top photographer sets affordable prices for his art.  

The Best Artist whose Work you can Afford - The Economist


JWSmith Photography
Good Morning Todd,
Nice to have something to read in the early morning. Geez, it’s gonna be another hot one in the southwest. I’m ready to move to Alaska.
Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Yes, as we’ve discussed pricing is a complex issue and I found Pentti’s approach refreshing. I’m going to guess that ‘affordable’ here means something that a collector who can’t afford thousands for a print can afford hundreds.
Regarding his grant from the Finnish government; he’s 68 now so in ’91 he would have been, what 60-61? Just about time to retire and I’m going to assume he had paid his dues as an artist for a good many years before that grant came around. It would have expired in 2011 so he’s once again on his own, income-wise.
I found it a bit ironic and disheartening that his books (at least on Amazon) are in the hundreds of dollars range. There’s a small inexpensive paperback but it’s too small at 7.5 x 5. I’m going to keep an eye out for “Here, Far Away.”
Todd Henson(non-registered)
A few thoughts come to mind after reading The Economist article. How do we define affordable? What’s affordable to me may not be affordable to someone else.

I like his attitude about pricing and his choice not to limit editions. I’ve seen both sides at different times. I’ve seen many artists at higher-end art fairs with higher priced limited edition prints. Then I ran into another local photographer who attended less high-end art fairs, didn’t limit editions, and had much lower prices. He also had far more customers hovering around his booth. Granted, he had to hustle more than the others and may have had to sell more prints to make a profit, but as the previous posts talked about, this also got his work out into more hands.

The last thought I had on the individual in the article is that he was fortunate enough to receive a grant that alleviates him from having to make a living selling his work or finding other employment while he creates art on the side. Instead he has a benefactor that essentially pays him to create. I’m not at all opposed to that, and I think it’s a great additional way to make a living while pursing your passion, if you can find someone or some group to sponsor you, perhaps through Patreon or something similar. But I do think that has to be factored into any thoughts of comparing his pricing to anyone else, such as someone who makes a living selling their prints. Pricing is complicated and there are so many potential reasons for choosing one pricing model over another.
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