The Fine Art Print Bet is Over - Here's Who Won

Around two weeks ago, Lee and I made a bet over my image, "Atlas and the Sun." In a limited 50 print run the goal was to sell 49 in ten days and make Lee buy the last one to place above his desk. The photo that I'm referring to, which I've titled "Atlas and the Sun," has been a source of controversy in the Fstoppers' office for a couple years. Lee and Patrick despised the original shoot and have since joked with me, in good fun, about how horrible they think the image is. About a month ago, I received an email from an Fstoppers' reader asking if I would sell him a fine art print of the image. Of course, I couldn't turn down the opportunity to rub it in Lee's face a little bit. To make it interesting, we decided to set up a bet to see how many other photographers would be interested in buying one of these prints.

I placed a 50 print run cap on sales and decided that if 49 sold, which Lee thought impossible, he would personally buy the 50th print and hang it above his desk for one year. Although I'm happy to say the print did receive support from some well respected photographers, unfortunately the sales fell far short of the goal. After 10 days, a total of five prints sold. 

As a "gift" to me for my low sale count, Lee printed off his own fine art print to hang over my desk. 

To those who did buy a print, thank you for your support and for helping me to sell more fine art prints than Lee ever has in his life. I'll still be able to gloat over him with that. I'll be shipping out your prints in the next few days.

If you didn't meet the bet deadline but still want a print for yourself, there are still 44 available for purchase. I'm going to save that 50th for Lee, just in case. 

Log in or register to post comments


Scott Edwards's picture

David - the image is fantastic; you know this and we all know this! I'm assuming the target audience for Fstoppers is largely photographers, in which case, it's a matter of us supporting you in spirit and not so much financially via a purchase. If that's about right, then you've won many many times over! No question!

Lee Morris's picture

Scott I appreciate your support for David and I'm glad there is a large group of photographers who claim to love this image but can you honestly say that it's "fantastic?" The whole thing is soft, it's ultra low res, it's got no detail on the bodybuilder, there's blooming all over his body, the sun is just a blurry white smudge. You might like the concept of the image but you must admit that execution is far from "fantastic?" Right?

I can literally type in "holding the sun" in on google and come up with hundreds of images that are better:

Chad D's picture

it kinda reminds me of a HS photo project :) hate being harsh but that is what its like

Ariel Martini's picture

I'm quite surprised that this is the reason you don't like the picture, and not simply cause it's a cheesy-tourist-holding-leaning-pisa-tower style picture

Henry Louey's picture

If Lee was to do a limited print run of one of Mela's images. That would sell out in hours.

With myself probably buying 40 of the 50 available :P

Lee Morris's picture

I like to believe this buuuut I imagine I'd sell less than 5.

Scott S's picture

Which has sold more, Atlas or the Don of Money shoot?

Lee Morris's picture

excellent point! Sadly Patrick took that photo so I can't take credit for the genius but I am an international model.

Patrick Hall's picture

And this is why I laugh at these little "fine art" competitions. We all know who the most acclaimed photographer is in the office :)

Kyle Medina's picture

I don't know how you can say its a horrible image.

Mike Kelley's picture

Lee's a hater!

Lee Morris's picture

Haha shut up Mike, you know it's a bad image too.

Lee Morris's picture

You could argue that the concept is good and I'll agree with you, but the finished image is bad. Name attributes of a bad photo... this shot has most of them.

I think the people that really like this shot are getting caught up in the complexity of capturing it, I am not considering that at all. I am only looking at the finished image.

Stas F's picture

Yeaahhh, rrright

You gave this guy hard times for photoshopping in this biker.

Lee Morris's picture

Are you saying that I am looking at David's image as a finished image but I am looking at yours as a composite? That's somewhat true but there's a big difference here; Your shot is perfectly executed but once you learn that the apparent danger isn't real, it's not very impressive anymore.

David's concept is impressive but when you see the image, it's not impressive anymore. If he had shot the Atlas shot with the same level of photographic quality in your shot, I'd love it, and if you shot your image all in camera like David did, I'd love your shot too.

Stas F's picture

haha, yeah, It's not my shot though.

Kyle Medina's picture

"I am only looking at the finished image." Me too....

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

"sell more fine art prints than Lee ever has in his life" I would print that very large and put it on the white wall on the right...

Lee Morris's picture

Don't give him any ideas

Chad D's picture

emperor has no clothes

Gregory Wilson's picture

David, selling this print to photographers is simply the wrong audience. You don’t get physically fit while photoshopping unless you are swaping six packs. I bet if you got this image circulation in weight lifting or fitness communities you could get every one sold. Or at a fitness competition, especially if you had an out going insider doing your sales. Keep that in mind, just because Lee Morris or myself aren’t your intended audience for this print, he understood the odds against you when making the bet for sure. I’m glad you guys were having fun with it and kudos on trying the shot. Maybe w: some filters and exposure adjustments your sun series will be hotter than asphalt pavement at noon on a summer day.

Eric Salas's picture

As someone who left the fitness industry to pursue a career in photography, I agree the target audience for selling these prints is not correct BUT I would disagree in thinking these would sell at an expo.

Nothing against the industry (it is clearly as vain as can be) but the ones able to afford prints like these would also be the ones in the photo.

We don’t get on billboards and have time to shoot, edit, train, cook, repeat... it’s just not feasible.

Photo for proof my words are credible lol.

Cliff Broughton's picture

Sorry, David. I never should have suggested that Lee print that postcard for your office if the prints didn't sell. He probably won't let you forget it, at least for a year!

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Artist is too young and probably will be with us for rather long time. That makes investment in his art too risky and it may not pay back ;)

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Would love to see your art or at least subscribe to your art critic's blog (it might be column in some newspaper).

Eric Salas's picture

I’m so glad that when I first so this photo I rated it really low.
It’s not often my rating of images matches those of the “fine art” genre but in this case, fine art it is not, bad photo it is !

Jon Miller's picture

Nice print, however it's not going to replace the nicer print I have of a model posing as a siren during a nice colour rich sunset. Sorry but no sale.

Jemone Durante's picture

I actually love it!

Cliff Broughton's picture

David, I have to ask. Is the "postcard" still hanging in your office? I never should have suggested it, but then, a bet is only a bet when both sides wager something.