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Black and White Photography, New York: Saturday, May 22, 2004

Another long and tiring day on the streets of New York - 5th avenue to be exact.  I had the new rig out there and arrived around 7 a.m. -- and got the last spot.  I did bring more large prints than the previous days and I had great hopes... but as the day wore on, no sales.  I had put the small prints on the grid, and the big prints in a browsing bin.  Around 3 p.m. I began putting some of the larger prints on the grid.  This seemed to get some attention, but still no sales.  I began trying different prints to see which would catch people's eye.  Eventually it turned out that two prints would stop people: Midnight Grand Central and a shot of an old man with a bag -- I'm not sure if that's even on the site.

Well, another hour without sales and then I tried something else.  I took a small box and hung it on the grid between two large pictures -- and all of a sudden people not only stopped -- but they began to browse -- and very quickly a couple of sales materialized.  Within an hour of changing the display, there were 5 sales of the smaller prints -- and by the end of the day -- another 2 small prints and one large print were sold.  So by the end of the day I had sold about $200.  Not exactly great -- but I definitely am getting an idea of what people are interested in, and how to arrange the display.

Tomorrow I am definitely staying home.  The city is going to be a mess -- Israeli Day Parade, FDR closed, hot and humid -- and I'm beat and need a rest.  I came upstairs -- sweaty and tired -- saying to myself, man, that was about the toughest $200 I ever made.

- - -

A few other notes: since I began selling at the Metropolitan Museum, the web orders have increased substantially.  In fact right now there is quite a backlog.  I've been going out with about 30 business cards each day, and by the end of the day they are all gone.  So there is definitely some crossover effect.

Four or five people who knew me from the web world stopped by.  That was nice.  All photographers.

Met a fascinating guy selling small original etchings.  He does very well.  His rig is very innovative.  He has one of these small folding tables, but he's punched holes in it, and done some modifications with these gizmos that sort of pop up and get anchored, and the small etchings and just about everything required fits inside the folded table - though the thing is quite heavy - still portable.  When I tried to lift it -- he smiled and said - bah - who needs a stinking gym - carrying this thing around keeps me in shape.

I know what he means.  If you could see me getting a workout carrying the grids up the stairs on a muggy day with the large backpack weighing me down -- yes - that is a workout. 

Sat with Christiana most of the day -- a young painter from - Estonia? - her first time out there.  She may have made one sale and was very excited.  You see the whole spectrum - the older guy who's been doing this for years and years -- and has seen it all.  Lots of grumbling - things are not going well in May.  May is always slow.  The young kid - out in the "world" for the first time.  Just happy to be there and see what happens.  There are a few artists out there.   But I think my favorite people to be around are the Tibetans.  I guess they know that this is stuff is all transitory - just illusion.  I sense that in them and it makes them light-hearted.

A guy who looks like a drunk approaches me, unsteady on his feet.  He looks at some of the images and says:

"A rose in the snow.  A manhole cover.  A bunch of trees.  I guess artists find things in the commonplace - don't they?" And I nod.  "Yeah"

He continues " the commonplace.  The ordinary.  What's that?  Is that Coney Island?  Oh did you know that they rebuilt the parachute jump?  That's right.  Yeah. "  You look at him a little closer.  Maybe he's not drunk.  Maybe he's -- he has the eye of the former addict, but he's sober. 

"Yeah - the parachute jump... You know, I never went on that thing.  I was always afraid to... I live out near there.  That's right - I live out in Brooklyn near there.  At least that is safe - I mean the terrorists -- they want to blow up Manhattan.  That's right, they want to blow us up, but they don't care about Brooklyn..."

He thinks about it.  "Of course if there's a dirty bomb -- well -- then it's gonna get us all -- ain't it?  Doesn't matter to me.  I'm just a messenger."

He picks up one of the prints and looks at it closely with watery eyes.

"A rose in the snow... you might be a prophet... but I'm just a messenger."

As he walks off, I notice that he is indeed a messenger -- not from up above but from the SPEEDY MESSENGER SERVICE.

 

8:54:04 PM    


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