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Black and White Photography, New York: Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I began bringing a notebook with me to jot down some of the scenes and conversations:

Item 1:

Two young women from Alabama stop by and begin to ooh and ah over the photographs.  One says, and they are so well matted.  Do you have this one, Poet's Walk in Sepia?

Yes, I say, I do.  And I go into my box of unmounted prints, mat it, show it to them and they hold up two prints together talking about how they will look on their wall.  They ask the price - $20 each - no problem get the money from their pocketbook and I put the two prints into a bag and have just barely touched the money when one of their husband walks by.  He says something that I can't hear.  Next thing I know, the husband and wife are off in a secret conference.  And then - voila - the woman says, I guess we'll have to think about it and off they go down the boulevard.

The other vendors have watched this and come up to tell me -- oh -- never let the husband and wife talk.  Kills every sale.  Happens all the time.

Item 2:

The Chinese woman that sells next to me says, "Orientals never buy photographs.  Never.  They think, oh, they have a camera, they can go to the landmark and photograph it themselves.  Not only that, but they can put themselves into the picture with the landmark behind them, which is really what they want."

Item 3: An older woman approaches and thumbs through the pictures.  She has a smile on her face and seems to be enjoying what she sees.  Eventually she asks if I have a shot of the Met.  Yes, I say, here is one.  She likes it very much.  But she says she wants to go into the museum first and will return later... bye.  But would I save that one for her?

Item 4: A young woman picks up one of the sepia-looking prints and says, "Is that sepia?"

Yes, it is.  It is sepia.

She asks whether I am using Selenium to do it? 

Now the print is obviously not a darkroom print since it has a little border around it as well as a printed title and place.  I ask if she is a photographer.  Yes, she says.  She is taking photography as a minor at such-and-such college.  Anyway, no sale there.

With all that -- I did about $200 in sales today, and left at 2:00 because I need to take a nap and get ready for a shoot tonight.  I also see that you absolutely need larger prints -- if nothing else to grab people's attention.

- - -

A few other things: The simple table with a couple of plate holders worked much better than the contraption I built.  I will probably end up going to home depot to buy a couple of lightweight kitchen type wire grids.  That seems to be the way to go.  It's no accident that vendors who have been doing this for years have settled on that solution.  Also happy to see that my table etc. fits easily in the trunk of a cab.  So I'm starting to feel physically better - though I have to say it is surprisingly exhausting to sit around all day and pop up every time someone gets near your stuff to say something, hopefully halfway witty.  I put up some of the train interior shots - some not on the site and a British woman said it reminded her of something... ah, Doiseneau? (sp?) Yes, that's it.  Beautiful, she said.  Then went off to the Museum.

I am becoming convinced that the reason for Museum's and Galleries is essentially to tell people, "This Is Art."  I don't think many people can recognize it unless it has some big building around it.  But there are a few out there who can - and that is my audience.

3:10:14 PM    


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