BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography of New York by Dave Beckerman

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Shoot the Freak!

14 October, 2008 (12:27) | 4 comments

shoot-the-freak-2897 Shoot the Freak!

Yesterday was my last day with the converted infrared Rebel XT since I’ve sold it (though I haven’t made the transfer yet).  It worked out so well for me that my plan is to buy the 50D when I can afford it, and then convert my 40D with LifePixel.com

Had a great day at Coney.  They keep saying that the place is being torn down - last time to ride the whatever ride, but I don’t see much stuff being torn down yet.

The Shooting of the Freak always makes me think about the shooting of The Other and how primitive we really are.  If we can just put the label of Freak, or Other, or Enemy on someone, or a bunch of people, then anything goes.  It’s a tricky business, since there are real enemies.  But this primitive classifying trick is easily used for evil purposes.

Will post less sociological pictures later.

From Yom Kippur to School Days

12 October, 2008 (20:22) | 1 comment

“Yom Kippur is the tenth and final day of the Ten Days of Repentance which begin with Rosh Hashanah. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a “book” on Rosh Hashanah and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict.  At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers himself absolved by God.” - Wikipedia

yom kipper ladies

group-yummy-kippor-4134 From Yom Kippur to School Days

Unfortunately - I will never be absolved.  You see, I grew up in a secular home.  It is true that I was sent after regular school to learn Yiddish, but I think this was just to keep me out of trouble when there were no parents around for supervision.  And I spent my time in the back of the classroom as biblical stories went in one ear and out the other.  At the end of one year of Yiddish, my father asked me, finally, what I had learned, and I was able to say, what is your name in Yiddish.  He called the Yiddish teacher to find out whether I had been attending school or not and was told that I hadn’t missed any classes.

School often had this effect on me.  If there was a window, I would always try to get a seat by it so I could stare out at the clouds.  Sometimes, someone would have to shake me when the class was over.

Well, my father pulled me out of Yiddish school, and I got to spend my late afternoons playing
stoopball or ringalevio.

But I have to admit - I look back on my school years and feel sorry for my parents.  Every term they had to go and have my home room teacher tell them that I wasn’t living up to my potential.  When I try to remember things about my early schooling, the images that come to mind are:

- The girl with red hair who sat in front of me in second and third grade

- Being elected to window monitor (I got to open the big windows with a pole that looked like a harpoon)

- The chalk cleaning room

- Playing “token football” in the lunchroom

- Playing “knucks” in the back of the classroom

- And day after day of faking my way through trombone playing in the school band.

Not much more comes to mind until about twenty years later when I wound up in film school.

ToDo List

12 October, 2008 (12:13) | 5 comments

photographer in elevator

I’m sure you’re dying to read this:

- Do the book New York Mementos with MyPublisher, so it’s ready for Christmas

- Holiday Cards, send out to customers and have them ready for family who’ve asked for them

- Add galleries with Paris work and Southwestern work (there isn’t that much Southwestern work, so maybe I’ll skip that)

- Do MyPublisher book from recent wedding (you can see all the images here) and get prints for the wedding party

- Try to catch up with orders (there’s about 20 prints at this point in the inbox)

- Put a graphic of the Certificate of Authenticity on the site

- Put some of the more recent testimonials on the site

- Check the blog with search engine software.  A quick glance with Web CEO shows it may actually be hurting my overall site rankings (yes, that’s for real)

- Decide whether to renew the beckermanphoto domain name where the old blog sits (it expires this month) and whether to keep that separate site at all.

- Tomorrow, infrared shooting with Matt, Coney Island

- Next weekend, New Jersey shooting (Paterson Falls) with Les.

- Order mats, plastic bags, paper, ink etc. for Christmas rush

- Figure out how to get the stupid flatbed hooked up without having to swap USB or Firewall cables from other external devices (I recently re-worked the wiring so that they all startup properly without having to turn any of them on / off)

- Relative asked for a print of Hasidm, Coney Island (before the summer).  Totally forgot about it until I was making this list.

- Write or post something interesting in the blog.  (That’s at bottom of list unfortunately)

That’s Entertainment

6 October, 2008 (22:30) | 1 comment

orpheum-4072 Thats Entertainment

The great depression had a huge impact on what Hollywood turned out.  Musicals, which had been out of favor, made a big comeback.  The rich became a target for satire (My Man Godfried).  The nobility of the out-of-work laborer became popular (Grapes of Wrath).

Comedies were produced where the plot twist had a wealthy individual suddenly become pennyless (You Can’t Take It With You).

So if you’re looking for clues about the economic future - keep an eye on the movies.  If there’s a spate of musicals - then you know we’ve either had or are about to have a big crash.

Well - I definitely want to see Appaloosa.  Love these new-old cowboy movies.  Maybe I’ll take the IR camera with the IR flash and see what I can wrangle.

Elements of Photography

24 September, 2008 (00:05) | No comments

A while back I sold some images for a textbook on photography by Angela Faris Belt.  Here are some excerpts for your reading pleasure which use a few of my images to illustrate photographic principles.  The first image (Manhattan Mall) uses overlapping planes to…

Excerpts (through google book search) from The Elements of Photography.

Collecting Money

23 September, 2008 (20:25) | 4 comments

holding-on-9842 Collecting Money

Holding On

I don’t give straight out advice often - but here’s one piece that I will give to photographers: if at all possible, get your payment up front.

One reason that the website has worked (other than the obvious fact that people want to own the prints) is that the potential customer pays for the print(s) first, and then I produce and send it to them.

However, with art-buyers, the sale often goes like this: they will offer to pay you 50% up front, and the rest when they are paid by their client.  Almost every time I’ve done this, it has taken months and in one case a year, to get that second half of the payment - and has required me to become a collection department.  That means remembering to send invoices to the bad clients every few months.  These are usually ignored.

Interior designers, or office managers who are buying for their office spaces, are always better.  They pay you up front,  and are happy to do so.  They receive the prints in a timely manner, and I go out of my way to help them with things like framing ideas, and cropping issues.

Really large institutions are the worst.

They expect you to send them the prints and when their accounts payable department gets around it, you’ll get your money.  In one case this took a year.

So my advice is simple.  Try your best not to fall into the half up-front, half when they get paid by their client or payment when they get around to it.  I don’t have any advice on how to do this - but you may have to be willing to lose a sale.

So I’m holding on - and my business is very seasonal - and eventually I get paid - but it’s a shame that some of these places want to play games.  I understand and have some sympathy for the art-buyers as that is a tricky business and they have their own cash-flow problems.

But the big institutions - places that you’ve all heard of - they just annoy the hell out of me.  They’ve got millions sitting in their accounts, and I’m watching my e-mail for orders so that I know I can get the rent paid, or order a cheese-burger deluxe rather than cooking rice and beans.

So I think I’ll file this under: musing & grumbling , though it’s more grumbling.

RSS and Site

18 September, 2008 (18:35) | 2 comments

Been working a lot on the site and how to show when new prints are added.  I came up with an RSS feed that is pretty easy to manage with an RSS editor (Tristana Writer).  The feed is created an run through Feedburner.  Let me know if it doesn’t look right on the home page and if so what browser you’re using.

I would still rather do this as a slideshow sort of box but I haven’t found any RSS software that can take a normal RSS feed with images and turn it into a slideshow.  All the ones I’ve found so far are specific for various sites such as Flickr, Yahoo, Google, etc.

Tristana creates a good old-fashioned feed, though it can be set to add iTune and Yahoo Media enclosures.  I tried it with the Google slideshow widget but it didn’t work.  So for now, I’ll continue figuring out which images to add and eventually I’m sure I’ll find some software to create slideshows from the feed.

A Time to Relax

13 September, 2008 (20:25) | 1 comment

I remember a time when our gadgets were friends - and there were ads that showed scenes of happy men and women working on the beach with their gadgets.  Now, the gadgets have taken over and become surrogate bosses.  It seems, as I look around that instead of giving us freedom - they’ve managed to keep us more enslaved then ever.  One gadget to relax with, another to make us more efficient.   Rather than giving us the promised freedom, they’ve put us on an invisible leash.  The machines always win out in the end.

keyboards-8337 A Time to Relax

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