Sell Your Photos by Giving Them Away for Free

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No, I’m not talking about the Creative Commons… again. I’m talking about one of my favorite street photographers giving away his work — the kind you hang on your wall.

Joeseph Szymanski is experimenting with the notion of free art. He’s offering free prints from a selection of his work to those who are willing to cover the cost of shipping via a PayPal donation. Of course, you can pay more than the $2 he’s asking for, but it’s not required.

I’m finding this to be a very interesting experiment on Joe’s part. The concept closely matches the ideals presented by the Creative Commons (which many photographers support), but it’s different because it’s tangible and it requires work from the artist beyond taking the photo and slapping a license on it.

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What could come of this? I’m willing to bet that Joe makes a few bucks off of his “free” photos. I already know of one person that donated more than the minimum amount of $2, and I’m sure some others will do the same. So if you’re interested in some wall-art, head over to Joe’s page titled “Accessible Art, Free Photographs…”

My questions to you, my readers:

  • Will Joe’s experiment prove to be profitable?
  • Is Joe on to something here?
  • Would this work as a long-term sales model, or would it only be beneficial in the short-run?
  • By associating his work with the term “free”, does he devalue his art?
  • Or does the value and appeal increase because of this association?

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I’m curious to hear everybody’s thoughts on this, so go ahead and discuss. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a spot on the wall to hang a really great photo…