Signing dating prints
A signature is a clear indication of both authorship and of quality (that is, a fine print rather than a work print, press print, etc.), so it's obviously necessary to have a signature in all cases in which one is to be expected.Historically, of course, we know that there are many bodies of work that were routinely signed—in the 20th century, important figures like Eugene Atget basically never signed his prints and Stieglitz did so rather rarely.A couple years back, ICP attributed on its blog a note to Helen Gee at Limelight Gallery in the 1950s as having been written by Gene Smith when, in fact, it had been written by Minor White.When I saw it online, I suspected the language did not sound like Gene's and checked the Witkin book for other possibilities.Instead, verso stamps are common* and would be fine for contemporary prints as well.Photography art dealer: Museum curator: There is no strong preference here from collectors—it's more the preference of the artist."Witkin's book , done with Barbara London, is an excellent source by the way.It includes examples of many photographers' signatures.
• MJ: ; this strikes me all too often as a kind of affectation, adding little or nothing to our appreciation of the image itself. Photography dealer: It would be optimal if the signature is visible on the recto when matted, but [it is] not always possible.
In those cases, we go by other criteria to be assured that the authorship and originality of the print are what we want.