Penny Prints Editions was named after one of the early milestones in the history of printmaking. Around the turn of the 19th century inexpensive lithographic processes were transforming the publishing industry. This innovation led, among other things, to the mass production of crude lithographs printed on inexpensive paper, marketed to the underclasses as diverting entertainments. Typically, this kind of work sold for a penny.
The "penny prints" phenomenon, historically, marked the first time anyone other than the very wealthy had been able to regularly acquire affordable art, crude as it was. The cultural critics and reigning fine artists of the day were appalled. One critic decrying them as "wretched productions", another as "gross caricatures" and "penny infamies". Of course, by mid-19th century, lithography had been embraced as a fine art medium, the upper classes were buying in, and the emerging technology of photography was already beginning to replace it as a high culture interloper.
So the world turns. Segue to the early 21st century as some critics and traditional print makers, along with many analog photographers, turned reactive in the face of newly emerging digital technologies. Naysayers likened digitally printed images to the penny prints of old: inauthentic facsimiles, debasing traditional visual art forms.
Today, fine digital prints have evolved to become both collectable and affordable, embraced by a whole new generation of contemporary artists, photographers included. Peter Leighton's photographs, featured here, are a testament to this fact. They are twenty-first-century mashups of found, manipulated analog snapshots that pay thoughtful homage to our vernacular photographic past, while, at the same time, exploring one of the directions in which the medium might go in the future.
Many of Leighton's images have been exhibited and collected in fine art photography galleries and museums in both the United States and internationally. PPE's intentions are to put work of this quality in front of you, and other motivated collectors, online, giving you an opportunity to purchase directly from the artist and to own and enjoy affordable, museum quality artwork that will appreciate in value over time.
In this spirit, we hope you'll find artwork here that resonates. Let us know if you have any questions. Many thanks for stopping by, and happy collecting!
Penny Prints Editions
Online Sales Director