Settling a Year Long Debate with Fine Art Prints

Almost a year and a half ago, I undertook the most technically challenging photo shoot of my career. I was fairly proud of the results and the community rallied around it but Lee and Patrick have publicly criticized the image. This will hopefully settle the debate between us.

When I set out on this project, the goal was to create an image of a bodybuilder holding the sun in an Atlas style pose without the use of Photoshop. The photo that I've come to name "Atlas and the Sun" involved an arduous process of planning, preparation, and very specific execution. In the end, I was actually able to capture the shot I had envisioned with a super-telephoto lens.  

As many of you have probably seen, Lee Morris has been one of the biggest critics of this image but I've also received a lot of comments supporting the image. A few weeks ago, a fan of the image requested a print. 

I've decided to set up a limited edition 50 image print run to see how much support the image can actually get. The best part is that if I sell 49 of these prints, Lee has agreed to purchase the final print and hang it on the wall above his office desk for one full year. 

If you'd like to support the work that went into this image and/or simply spite Lee, I invite you to purchase prints below for $125. All shipping will be included. Each print will be 20x30 and will be signed and numbered by me.

To sweeten the deal, Lee will also add a signed and numbered 4x6 print of his own to every order of "Atlas and the Sun." He invites you to hang the two side by side. 

Stay tuned and in a couple weeks we'll put out a new video updating you on the number of prints that sell. 

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Todd Boyer's picture

Congratulations, Lee, you just sold all 49 of those prints.

Oliver Saillard's picture

Yep, Lee had one of the most memorable sell speech I've ever seen.

Lee Morris's picture

Hah! David just showed me the edit of this video and I said the same thing. I do think this photo is horrible but I am hoping that he can sell 49 of these. It will be hilarious.

Dennis Herrera's picture

Lee cracks me up and is one of my favorite people to watch. The rest of the crew of course is great but, lee is at the top (maybe cause he reminds me of an old friend I have not seen in over 20 yrs.

Mihnea Stoian's picture

Thanks David - will be looking forward to getting the copy!

Benton Lam's picture

I have the feeling that Lee may have to start prepping that crow...

Chad D's picture

people do stupid stuff all the time its what most do these days

so selling prints wont make it art wont make it anything other than another stunt :)

very good chance he will sell all cause folks will buy them just to do it
some might if they like it but again bring that thing to a gallery and ask for honest critique from ten art buyers and see what response one gets :)

big difference of being happy with what you like and it being good sometimes we do not care sometimes we do but just accept some stuff we like of our own is for other reasons and be happy ?

Stas F's picture

What's up with the ring. Lee got married or something

Pat Black's picture

Glad to see Lee is still losing bets to his employees

Lee Morris's picture

Don’t speak too soon.


You're doing it wrong... blow that "Why The Hell Would You Buy This?!" image of Lee into a 20x30 and sell THAT for $125 along with a 4x3 print of the sun shot. I bet that deal would sell out in minutes.

Mike Kelley's picture

Ah, the cards against humanity approach...brilliant

Pete Whittaker's picture

So if this sells out, does Fstoppers start selling more fine art prints?

Lee Morris's picture

Of course!

Ariel Martini's picture

I would buy it, but my wall is already taken by this

Ralph Hightower's picture

I'll give David a compliment about the photo after seeing the effort that went into the photo, twice.

"It's not a Peter Lik photo."

Cliff Broughton's picture

Can we get a running count? Or at least how long it took to get the first sale after this video was posted? ;-)

David Strauss's picture

The first one sold within a couple hours. Three have sold so far in total.

Cliff Broughton's picture

Hmmm.... maybe you agreed to 10 days was too hasty? I think 30 days would have been fair. So what happens if you lose? Do you have to blow up the postcard and hang it in YOUR office next to the Atlas print for a year? BTW, I like the photo and the challenge of doing it in camera!

Lee Morris's picture

Excellent idea!

Cliff Broughton's picture

OK, I'm glad you agree. Thirty days it is! ;-)
And whoever wins can send me a free print!

jean pierre (pete) guaron's picture

"Criticising" other people's work is just trolling. It has no validity. It is simply pitting personal opinions against creativity. It leads nowhere.

Opinions also have NO validity - they are INCAPABLE of being either right OR wrong - they just converge or differ, and contribute nothing at all to sensible, adult discussion.

Critics seem to believe their role IS to "criticise". It's not. It's to make a balanced and informative comment - the good and the bad, perhaps with more emphasis on encouraging the person whose work is being reviewed and offering helpful suggestions aimed at further growth and development.

Ever since I was a teenager - and that's 60 years ago! - I have been conscious of the fact that that's exactly what most critics DON'T do.

In photography, I have derived enormous pleasure from seeing how more experienced ("senior") photographers DO get it right. The negativity being waved in my face by your experience, David, is a complete departure from this norm.

Lee Morris's picture

You’re being pretty critical of me.

David Candlish's picture

You're wrong, critique can lead to reviewing work from a completely different mindset that allows you to grow & improve as an aritist.

Being balanced and informative is a method of delivering critique, it's not in itself a critique. I've learned some of my hardest lessons when the person doing the critiquing was an utter tool, but their points were valid and correct. I have met many people who share your opinion and fortunately I think you are in the minority and in my experience, every single person sharing your view has had a strongly negative critique experience that they have taken personally - they were unable to separate critique of their art from critique of themselves. The universal response is a head-in-the-sand, all opinions are nonsense response. Perhaps this happened to you?

Opinions can be right or wrong in the context of community and they are the key tool to prompt discussion.

Learning to extract the germ from the chaff of a critique is an important skill and personal attribute we all need. In other words, worry less about how a critique or opinion is presented to you and focus instead on what is being said.

thomas Palmer's picture

I dare the F stopper community to give me all their money
=> works

Mike Kelley's picture

Finally you understand how the art market works :)

Kurt Hummel's picture

This is so tempting. To get both images framed and hung next to each other would be such a great conversation piece for when people come over. I also think the atlas photo is really good.

David Candlish's picture

Must admit it did feel like an attempt to sell prints more than an informed discussion. With respect, I agree with Lee ;)

Patrick Hall's picture

I think it's more a of a public bet than anything else

Errol McGihon's picture

It pains me to say this, but I agree with Lee! This photo is hideous! Sorry David:) (Eds note: I've taken many photos in my career that would make David's photo look like a Karsh portrait)

Keith Davis's picture

Would I buy it... no... but only because I am cheap. I think most interesting pictures convey a story, meaning, or emotion. To me this says... energy... and it is interesting.The searing bubbling heat of the sun and the general red glow has an energy about it that would warm a room and draw the eye. Imagine this hung and lighted in a drab cool room. I would bet anyone walking into that room for the first time their eyes would be drawn to this print and they would most likely walk to it and comment... What more could we want a photo to do?


james aitcheson's picture

I think I might buy this just to make Lee Morris have to stare at it for a year!!! :P

Marina Vieira's picture

I'm sorry, David... But I can't stand looking at this photo anymore. And I'm with Lee, it's horrible. It looks so cheeky.

Mike Ledford's picture

I think the real bet here is "How can we convince the readers to spend $6250 in ten days?" That being said, my money is on at least 20 sold just for spite.

M L's picture

pretty funny how people here are confusing "decorative wall hangings" to "Art", art isn't always pleasing to the eye and neither Lee or Patrick are art critics. Would I hang it on my wall. No. is it art I'm not qualified to say but I think its leaning that way...

Bill Metallinos's picture

It's not the Perfect art image but it's a real capture with no photoshop.
Except the fun of the bet, people will buy this print just to help the photographer. He is doing a great work there!