Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And the Left Leg is Connected to...AKA Return of the Cable Guy Dude


Satan's Fire Pits, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I've been working on a new project and, sadly, it does not involve any art or photography at all. I'm re-financing my house. Now, I know that does not sound like a big project but, believe me, had it been a movie, it surely would have been named, "Adventures in Re-Fi." Oh, good grief! The paperwork is killing me. It's been all "find this form" and "drag out that file" for what seems like weeks now. (Somebody, please save me!) If that is not enough, I have already told you my horrors surrounding my hard drive and lack of space issues. Yes, I'm still out of room, but I've finally decided to do something about the problem.

In the "and the left leg is connected to the...." department, I've decided that I need a bigger drive with more storage. Since I have an older (a bit older) Mac, and most of the spiffy new drives are connected using the new Thunderbolt bus, I've decided that I'm going to just get a new Mac-one with Thunderbolt and one that's a bit more up-to-date. All's well and good there, a new Mac is nice and spiffy, for sure, and I will probably need one at some point anyway. The problem comes in with my router. My Mac, you see, is connected to my router. And that, you see, is an Apple router that is a "G" speed router. I've never upgraded it to an "N" speed router because, well, because I just didn't want to go through all of the crap I would need to go through in order to update it. My router, you see, sort of runs my house.

My TiVo is connected to my router so, in essence, you could say that my router gives me TV. My Internet connection is connected through my router. You probably could have guessed as much but, what you might not have known is that, I have, in the past, passed over upgrading my Internet connection. At the time, I didn't want to upgrade my router, so I didn't bother to get (and pay more for) a higher speed modem. No, instead, I've opted to keep my current setup, simply because I did not want to do anything with my router. It was too difficult to upgrade so I just kept it and, since I had just kept it all along, there really was no point in getting a faster Internet connection, not really given my slow router, so I never upgraded that either. (You can probably guess where this chain of dominoes is going next.)

So, now here we have it. I am going to get a new Internet connection, a new router, a new Mac, hook it up to my new printer, and then, oh yeah, I still need a hard drive. Phew! It's like mega King Kemehameah upgrade around here and, yes, it even involves the cable guy dude which, if you knew anything about my history with the cable guy dude, you would know that the odds are really good this is so *not* going to end very well for me at all. (Oh no! Not the cable guy dude. Anything but the cable guy dude. Please?!?) For those of you who might not recall, the last time the cable guy dude came 'round I then vowed that if he ever came 'round again, I would do my best to take him out with a toaster (or, you know, some other suitable small-ish kitchen like appliance that I could live without, at least long enough to bury the body.)

My only hope, at this point, is that all of this happens right on election day, that way I don't have to pay attention to any of the cable news people (or the Internet masses) ranting away. Heck, if I'm lucky, I won't even have a TV set that works (because I won't have cable, because I won't have a new Mac, because I won't have a hard drive, because....yeah, you get the idea here.)

What's that? Do you hear that sound? Somewhere, off in the distance, I swear I can almost hear a cable guy dude laughing. Please now, wish me luck with this next big project, for I sure am going to need lots of that.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Put a Fork in it or Is Photography Dead Now?


BlueWorld, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I've been reading a lot lately about the future of photography. It's interesting to think about some of these things, especially as it pertains to current events.

On the one hand, we constantly hear about how photography is "dead." How digital has killed photography and everybody is a photographer now. Maybe that's true, you can, for certain get lots of cheap camera gear nowadays, but, does having camera gear really make you a photographer? (There's an old saying, "buy a piano, you own a piano, buy a camera and you're a photographer!" that comes into play here.) Most of those in the know are smart enough to know that being a good photographer is much more than being about gear. (Ahem, yes, I know I say this a lot, but it's worth repeating.) Enough about gear though, this is more about photography in general, rather than any specific gear in question.

I tend to think that photography is not dead, it's just changing, maybe changing dramatically-changing so much in fact that we might not recognize what pops out the other end, but not dead and certainly not dying. What I mean by that is that there is now more opportunity for a great number of photographers, yes, gear has given that to us in part, but it also means that it's harder for one photographer to "corner the market." In the old days, one photographer could, for example, get "exclusive" photos of, say, Elizabeth Taylor, and be the only one with those shots. There was money (and still is) in being the only one with something, but it's becoming increasingly harder to be the one and only one with something. For a recent example, look to the photos of Kate Middleton on holiday to see what I mean here. Photos were taken of her and sold to a host of magazines and, I'm sure, there was not just one photographer involved. Maybe only one will get arrested or face a lawsuit from the Queen, but, let's face it, if one guy got the shot, I'm sure there were more, and more images will surface over time (as the scandal dies down and pops back up again for us all to follow in the news.) For the photographers in question though, now it's harder (if not impossible) to be the only one with an exclusive shot.

If you're a landscape or travel photographer, things have changed too. Gone are the days when you could just wander off into some uncharted location. I went to Iceland last year and, while that sounds exotic, millions of people have literally been there/done that. There are cruises to Antarctica, and guided tours to the worlds highest mountain peaks. To put it bluntly, there is basically little left of the Earth's surface that has already not been explored and even photographed. Perhaps this helps explain our fascination with the recent Mars rover-we're all itching to see something new and, thanks in part to advances in photography and the proliferation of photographers, the Earth has all but dried up in this regard. It's not new to us anymore, nothing is with the possible exception of Mars, so photographers are forced from the "new" into the "different" and that's a big enough cultural shift that it's jarred a host of people. (Who were, no doubt, used to the old rules.)

Consider too what's happening in the middle east. With riots breaking out in the streets, there are a lot of opportunities for a photographer to really cut some teeth here. When I say that, I mean, think about the old Spanish Civil War type photos-photographers have a unique opportunity to be perched on the front line. Now, this is where photographers, especially professionals, do best here. I'm fully expecting to see folks like the good folks over at VII or Magnum or wherever to come out with a host of images from the recent Embassy attacks and the recent violent uprisings. Unfortunately (and I say that because I do not like war of any kind) there will be photographic heroes coming out of this. This is the kind of thing that can make a photographers career even brighter. (In the "gosh, I hope he's safe!" department, one has to wonder where James Nachtwey is right about now.) These people, I don't think of their careers as being threatened in any way, in fact quite the opposite. I think they are being called upon to do more here. If anything, the 24x7 news media is upping the game for them, and there is now more demand for these type of images than ever before.

If you study the history of photography, and I mean study the actual history here, not just what was recorded in the books, but take a good hard look at the work and the photographers over time, there have always been "periods" of photography, cycles if you will. Sometimes, fashion photography was out in front, with those folks making the most money. Other times? Man, they couldn't get arrested if they stood out in the square naked. Likewise, photojournalism has it's ups and downs. And, what about fine art? Oh, don't even get me started on fine art. There have been times when fine art photographer was deader than a doorknob and other times when you could just put a price on a frame and get some money for it (without even supplying a quality image.)

I think we're seeing a shift in the cycles yet again, brought on in part by the advances in gear (stuff like the iPhone) but also brought on by the way things just, well, change. For example, historic prints are at record prices (try buying an Ansel Adams these days. Heck anything famous will set you back over a million dollars. A million dollars! And they say photography is dead. Ppppft!) No, what I see happening is photojournalists are doing more and called upon more, the fine art market is doing quite well for those well-established artists, and there is a lot of fragmentation and chaos as the rest of the lot try to sort out what the latest iPad announcement is going to mean for the kids in the hall. The bottom line here is that I think, for the traditional photographer, one who maybe shoots portraits at your local mall, yes, maybe photography is dead, but images and the photography business aren't going anyplace anytime soon. There are a lot of new trends, a lot of new happenings, and, I'm sure, a lot of new things will emerge out the other side of all of these changes. New things will happen, photographers will use tools in new ways and, yes, even some new, never thought of photographers will emerge from this chaos. The lathe of the heavens, the spin of technology turns yet again to make something new, just as seasons change and fashions get replaced, so too does photography morph into something new against the whims of society.

To put it another way, photography is not dead, it just smells funny. Maybe the traditional photographer is a lost breed, but we look at, share, and enjoy more images now than ever. Images are setting record prices at auction houses, galleries are staying afloat, and we still have a host of magazines, newspapers, and the like, most of which are now available for download to new devices. So, bottom line? I don't think photography is dead, but maybe it's changing and these changes might kill off what's left of any kind of "traditional" photographer. That's kind of the way things are though, I mean, it's an adapt or die type of world and so you have to do your best to keep up with the changes if you want to play in it. It's really no different from the changes facing many other fields and we owe it to ourselves to look ahead while trying to keep up (in order to avoid being left behind.)

Until next time...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where the Vampires Roam? - The Canon 6D


, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
So, today Canon has introduced a new digital SLR style camera, called the Canon 6D. Buried (or maybe not) in the specs is the hidden little "gem" that this camera has an ISO range of 100-25600. ISO 25600? That just makes me ask a whole bunch of questions.

I mean, for starters, who in their right minds needs an ISO of 25,600? Most dark subjects, even dark things at night, don't need that much of an ISO. What are there a bunch of black velvet-wearing people who run around taking pictures of themselves in darkened tunnels that I don't know about? Because, if they are out there, heck, I want to find them. Taking pictures of black things in darkened tunnels at night sounds like my kind of fun! Maybe they are sort of like "film vampires" who run around only on nights when the moon is not full, wearing black velvet and ducking and hiding in these deep underground tunnels taking pictures of each other, as sort-of vampires would do, only without all of that messy "blood" stuff. I mean, seriously, I take about half my pictures at night or in low-light and I don't need an ISO range that bumps up to 25,600. Who is going to possibly use this feature?

First we had the megapixel wars, everybody was "I got to 4!" Oh yeah, "Well, I go to 6!" Then it was to 8! To 11! to 14! and, oh my God, hold me down, we hit the 18 and even the 20 mark! 20 megapixels. Now, that's a lot. But, little by little, people slowly realized 20 megapixels is indeed a lot. It's so much, it's more than what most people need. Most people are smart enough to figure out they really don't need 20 megapixels. I mean, sure, having it is nice, but, come on, there's more to life than 20 megapixels. Nowadays, most people can make due with about 4 and even 6 or 8 is nice but we've figured out we don't really need to go much beyond that (well, not unless we're doing something "special" anyway.)

Now it seems like we are repeating this trend with the ISO numbers. Mine goes to 12,000! Mine is 25000! Oh, can the 100,000 thousand barrier be far behind? Heh. Trouble is, it don't get that dark, folks. Nobody *needs* that kind of an ISO, really, they don't. Not even the vampires. Truth be told, you won't be able to use much more than 800 anyway, so get over yourselves. Bah! (Maybe I'm just grumpy today? Nah, I'm grumpy everyday. 25,000 is too much ISO for one photographer to use or for anyone sane to claim to need.)

How much you want to make a bet the same folks who run out an buy these cameras, the ones with ISO's that go to 25,000 (or whatever) still cannot name 10 photographers and still don't have a portfolio worth sneezing at? Mmmm. Thought so.

For those of you thinking about buying a new Canon 6D, I hope you get one. I hope you get one and that all of those 25,000 ISO's do you wonders, really I do. But, if you want to be serious (attention: for the rest of us humans!) check out some of the new books just released over at PhotoEye books. That might help you out a lot more than those extra 24,000 ISOs. (That's free advice, and worth every penny you paid for it!)

Apart from the 25,000 ISOs running around beneath the Canon chair, it's a small, compact full-frame camera that offers up GPS and WiFi connectivity. It comes with an iPad app that allows you to control the camera from an iPad and allows you to do stuff like stream video right up into web video-hosting sites. Those, now those are some good features, so please don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking Canon and I'm not knocking the need for technology to advance our camera gear. New gear is always great, I love it too. But, please, for the love of all things holy, do not try to convince me you actually need an ISO range of 25,600 because I know that, well, really you don't.

Some of the other features on the new Canon 6D are nice, very nice, although I still can't quite justify the $2100 price tag. It's still a nice full-frame camera with some nice connectivity features that will allow you to do more with less (it's lighter and smaller!) so that's all good. Yeah, I'd have to say, once I read the specs and got past the 25,600 part, I was down with this new Canon 6D. I guess you could say, vampires be damned, I like it and would recommend it, but not on account of the ISO range. And, if you do happen upon those black velvet wearing people who hide in tunnels, heck, you have my email address!

Until the vampires roam again...

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's Raining Today in My World


DelicateTree_9596, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
You know, it's raining in River City today. Been raining almost all day now, intermittent showers on and off, you know the drill. Earlier this morning, the campus at the University was evacuated on account of a bomb scare. They dragged everybody outside and told everyone, "don't go near the buildings!" Don't go near the buildings? Sure, it maybe sounds like good advice if you think they are going to blow up and all, but don't you think it might also be a good idea to figure out who is calling, telling you there are bombs all around? Maybe do something about the problem?

I read some marketing thing today about how the "new generation" looks for meaning in "new and different" ways. They pay attention to things like "number of Twitter followers." Kanye West, I'm told, has a huge "number of Twitter followers." That's great. I'm happy for him. I use Twitter, but I'm not exactly sure how many Twitter followers I actually have, nor do I really care. It's just one of those things people do, you know, go online and yap a bit about this or that. It's not real, not in the "stay away from the buildings!" kind of a sense now, is it?

Today's Friday, I guess I should be really happy about that but, maybe not so much. There's a lot of tension and events happening in the middle east. There's a lot of political strife and unrest. There's pretty much world war III unfolding right before our eyes and, in all honesty, we're supposed to pretend to care more about Twitter followers? Really?

There seems to be this sort of "public disconnect" that keeps happening and, in reality, growing. It's more than an extension of the "I'm happy! I got mine!" generation and it's more like people are completely oblivious to what's happening outside of their little bubbles. I thought things like Twitter were supposed to keep us all connected? I guess not. Is this just a failure to communicate or is something else, something entirely more sinister, going on here and we just don't know it yet?

Still, all of this talk about big "global" things has me wanting to do something that makes a difference in somebody's life. You know, sometimes, as an artist, it's hard to find that. It's hard to find that kind of value in your work. We tend to sell (sometimes anyway) just "pretty pictures for the masses" (whatever they think those to be.) It can be hard, sometimes, scratching beneath the surface, looking for true meaning in all of that. I mean, heck, blue is just sort of blue, right? Not much more to say about it.

Yeah, I guess you could say it's raining today in River City and I'm in a sort of pensive half melancholy kind of a mood. It just feels like a rainy day. We're allowed to have those too, right? Here in River City? No?

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go try and figure out what a "blue period" might look like had a photographer gotten his way with it. (Normal perkiness will return, I'm sure, sometime tomorrow. Count on it! I mean, heck, it *is* Friday after all, isn't it?)

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Look What's Coming to the Land of Polaroid


EyeHandCoordination, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
You know I love Polaroids. And, I love my iPhone. That's all well and good but now the good folks over at the Impossible Project are working on something (a special device) that will allow you to combine the two. It's currently in the eyes of a Kickstarter project, but it's slated to be produced (if they get enough money, and it looks like they will) in early 2013.

The Impossible Project's Instant Lab will allow you to use your iPhone to create Polaroids using the Impossible Project Polaroid film. The way it works is simple. You download an iPhone app to your iPhone. Then, you take a picture with your iPhone, zoom and scroll as you wish. Next, you put your iPhone into a special holder on top of the Instant Lab and you extend the black tubes up. You release the shutter of the Instant Lab and then expose the Polaroid film. Just like the days of old, a Polaroid comes out the front of the device.

It's super cool, don't you think? A great way to get from iPhone to Polaroid. Yay!

Until next time...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Costumes and a Blog about Blogs


GoldenGlow_9555, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
This weekend found me shooting a Victorian-style dressmaker which was a lot of fun-pictures to follow soon, I promise.

I've been getting a lot of questions about blogs, so I thought I would answer them today.

For starters, my template. I use a simple template, available at blogger.com (the hosting site for my blog) and I "tweak" it a bit to include my bio, some links, comments for each post, etc. I also keep archives, since my blog goes back quite a ways. My philosophy for web design is very simple, actually it *is* very simple-I strive to keep things as simple and "uncluttered" as possible. No flashing "doo-dahs" no singing music, no fancy fonts, just me, typing, and a couple of links in case, you know, in case you want to get out (some days, frankly, I could see why you would want to get out. Some days, heck, I want to get out too!)

My biggest advice to fellow bloggers is to not fuss over your template. Use something simple, start posting up a bit, and then modify it if you need to, but don't let your template eat up your time! Instead, focus on crafting the best content you can (best photos, best writing, etc.) and the template "woes" will take care of themselves.

Also, I was asked the other day about keeping a blog and keeping a website. Some folks are starting to feel (maybe have felt all along?) you don't really need both. I feel like I do need both, I use both, and they are different. Allow me to explain.

The blog, you see, is sort of like my "kitchen table." It's the place you can come in, hang out, maybe read something funny, catch-up with me, etc. It's not as "polished" as HouseOfCarol.com (my "regular" website.) It's not as presentable. It's not a "store" it's more like just a meeting room.

HouseOfCarol.com, now that's my storefront. That's a "real" website" and that's where all of the selling takes place. You can read all of my artist statements there. You can see my C.V. and find out where exactly in 1996 I was showing my work (I don't actually remember that, mind you, but you can find it out, if you're so-inclined, over at HouseOfCarol. That and many other stuff too, I'm sure. If you find anything interesting, please let me know. Oh wait, never mind.) HouseOfCarol is a "formal" entry point into my work. This place? Why, it's just a little ole' blog.

As to why you (in particular) might need a blog vs. a "real" website, well, of course, only you can make that determination but I would suggest that most people do need both types of sites. One is more informal, it let's people catch-up, it shows the behind-the scenes view of yourself. It lets people vent and it's a place where you can tell (or share) dirty jokes. You would not expect to see dirty jokes over at HouseOfCarol now, would you? (Hint: no, you wouldn't. That sites too pretty for any of that!)

In short, one (the blog) is the kitchen table. It's the informal you. It's the "dance like nobody is watching" site, while the other is your "real" site. Every shop needs a front door, a storefront, right? Your "real" website? Yeah, that's your storefront. The blog? That's sort of like the backroom. You know the backroom, don't you? That's the place the UPS guy comes in to check up on you and you chat with the neighbors a bit.

As for making the case to have both, well it seems like everybody these days wants all of the behind-the-scenes of everything. Nothing is kept secret anymore, everything is out in the open. Everybody expects you to both maintain a blog and a website. The website to purchase your work, the blog to find out more about "the real you." Photography has always been personal, each and every image is "tainted" by the hand of the photographer, as it were, so you are selling a bit of yourself. When you take a photo, you are putting a bit of yourself out on the line, for others to see. The blog is really just a better way for people to get to know you, so that they can, in turn, get to know your work more.

Sure, they may look alike and, yes, there are times when it seems like you might not *need* both types of sites but, really, it's probably best if you can learn how to juggle and produce both a blog and a website (if you can.) You will be better off in the long run if you can manage to do both.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Cohesive Body of Work is Dead

Quick! Somebody start playin' taps. The cohesive body of work is, indeed, dead. Put a fork in it! Dead like a doorknob dead. Finally over and done kind of a dead. You know what I'm talking about here. Muerto.

Allow me to explain.

Back in the dark ages, when I first started out as a photographer, photographers were these people who shot film. If they got a little bit better, maybe more involved, they started developing their own film. Basement and washroom darkrooms sprung up around the lands like mushrooms. Paper was hoarded, good chemistry mixed, and gallery shows were reserved for "the greats." But, if you look at who attended these shows, there were two types of people: one were the rich, the famous, the "collectors" who seemed to be not-interested in your work and the other were other photographers. Shows were, quite literally, divided into two groups of people: those who looked at the work, examined the prints, got dressed up and didn't know anybody at the show or those who were photographers. The photographers traded paper secrets, mixtures for chemistry, film types, etc. They spoke "in code" if you will. Who else would know the meaning of the words "F/8 and be there," right?The other folks? They were just bystanders really. Along for the ride, some might say. It was really all about the photography in those days, and photography was done by the kings with the cameras.

Fast forward a bit. Galleries started to "make" photographers. Photography started to become an "accepted" medium (and by that I mean it was being "accepted" in the art world more and more) even a "collected" medium. Prices for antique images rose. Ansel Adams sold his first million dollar print. (Don't we all wish we could do that? Oh how we try!) Galleries had more of a say in who was showing where. Careers were built-up, made, and broken on the walls of certain avenues in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and even a few other places, like Santa Fe. A small hovel controlled the success of many. Photographers were either part of the "in" crowd or they were outsiders. The lines in the sand were clearly drawn and it was clear (well maybe it was mostly clear) to those fighting for a spot in the "inner circles" of the gallery world. As a photographer, you had to do what the galleries wanted. They ruled the roost, as it were and, those who followed along and played "nice" got rewarded with big "career making!" shows. The rest of us? Well, we kept locked up in our basement and crawlspace darkrooms "conveniently located" in flyover country.

Fast forward again. Welcome to the rise of the Internet and the "Great Recession." Many galleries are struggling to stay afloat. It's estimated that, during the "Great Recession" about 1/3 of the world's art galleries closed down. Mind you, these weren't just galleries in places like New York, this was a world-wide event. Things crashed and people got burnt. Everything was down, flat was "the new up." But, artwork? Yeah, people were still doing that, still making it, some now more than ever. But, where to sell, where to sell with all of the galleries gone and all?

Imagine for a moment that you're an artist, sitting out there in Peoria, making your oil on canvas paintings, wondering if the world will ever come back to good. Now imagine a gallery, one of those "lucky" few who did not close already. You're both struggling, but in different ways. The artist, to be recognized, to stand out among the "noise" that's out there on in Internet and especially on that gallery circuit, the gallery to stay afloat-you have expenses after all, and a lot of them. It can take thousands to keep a gallery afloat and you need a sure sales pitch to do it, in an economy that's not so hot. You suddenly learn the meaning of the words "discretionary income" and it hurts. It's not pretty, even in the best of cases.

In the early days, all the artist had to do was create a rather unique (or "unique-ish" if you will allow me to make up a word) body of work that looked consistent. We've all heard this term here: the "cohesive body of work." And we all know it's really shorthand for something that's really a marketing tool. "Oh, yes, I know Jane Smith! She photographs those dress forms in Antarctica. Those images are so lovely! Would you like a piece of cake?" If you didn't have a "dress forms in Antarctica" line, if you didn't have a "moment" in which to sell yourself, to brand you as an artist, you didn't sell, you didn't get noticed, and you didn't get picked up by one of those all-important galleries. It didn't matter really if the pictures were any good (though, in fairness, most of them were!) it just mattered that you had your "dress forms in Antarctica" moment in the sun.

Again, fast forward a bit to our harder economic times and shifting attitudes. Galleries now want (actually NEED) work that sells. SELL, SELL, SELL. In the days following the "Great Recession" those lucky enough to still be alive need that sort of lifeblood. They need it, they want it, they demand it, and technology is here to help. We have things like Flickr, like Moo, like Blurb. An artist can make a book, make a business card, design a flyer, heck even make and sell framed artwork right out of his (or her) home. Gone are the stinky darkrooms, behind us are the days of "irrelevant" flyover country. Anybody can get up in the morning and declare, "This is Tuesday! I think I shall start to make and sell artwork!"

Consider books. In the early days, you hoped to get a gallery show in the hopes that maybe some (one?) of the "non-photographers" at the "big important show" was a publisher. And, if you were oh-so-lucky, that big important publisher would notice your work and give you an oh-so-coveted book deal. You would be on your way! A book deal! All of your friends will want to be you and you'd be the toast of many a dinner party. Then, Blurb came along and changed all of that. Anybody can make a book. Galleries expected you to come in, Blurb book in tow, showing them your "dress forms in Antarctica" series in all of it's Blurb-ery goodness. Tides changed. Now, instead of doing a show in order to make a book, you made a book in order to try to get a show.

Then, the Internet came along. It didn't just come along, it simmered to a previously unknown degree of importance. We have Facebook and Pinterest. We have galleries putting themselves online but artists too online with a "web presence." Artists did websites and many websites provided the shopping basket experience. There are even sites on the web such as 500px or ImageKind where you can upload your art and they will handle printing, sales, credit card processing. I mean, come on, who does not like credit card processing? *Poof* Every artist is in business now! That "Guy Tuesday?" Yeah, he's so all over Etsy, let me tell you! Selling like hotcakes now and, heck, he doesn't even need a gallery wall. He does it out of his basement! You know the basement, don't you? Why, it's the same place we used to hide the stinky darkrooms.

So galleries start to use Facebook, Twitter, and the like too. Now they see the successful artists out there and they want a piece of that. They NEED a piece of that in order to survive. Gone are the days of the artist trying to impress the gallery with the "cohesive body of work" instead galleries (well, smart ones anyway) are out trolling for successful artists. They want to see sales. It's becoming harder and harder to go up to a gallery and say, "Here! Look at these beautiful images of dress forms in Antarctica!" Instead, they are expecting to meet artists who say, "I'm the great Jane Smith! You know me already. My dress forms in Antarctica series is all over the web. Perhaps you've seen me on Twitter? Perez Hilton once liked one of my images on Facebook. Would you be so kind as to represent me? My web statistics indicate that I need to 'fill in' my demographic interests in your town. Thanks so much! I'll Tweet you the details and we can email over lattes."

The point here is that there is an increased burden on the artist to create himself or herself in the way they want to be created. Galleries are shifting away from bringing patrons "new/fresh" work to work that they know will sell a certain amount. And, how do they know what will sell? Why, they are increasingly using tools like Facebook, Twitter, Blurb, Pinterest, 500px, and the like. They want to associate themselves with successful artists. In turn, it's becoming increasingly the artist's responsibility to approach the gallery by saying, "Here. I have XXX amount of sales a month through Twitter." Galleries, in turn, have to provide a different, slightly modified service. They have to sell on-line. They have to help build that "web presence" of the artist. Gone are the days of "dress forms in Antarctica" but here are the days of "we represent Jane Smith!" or "Come here to see Jane Smith's famous dress forms in Antarctica work!"

Yes, it's a slightly different ballgame. Good in some ways, bad in others, changed in almost all. Gone are the days of "cohesive body of work" but here are the days of build your following. Kind of like that line from that old movie, "if you build it, they will come" only with artwork. In order to rise to the top, you must be Jane Smith. You must build your own following. You must generate your own sales. You must build your own brand. You must, well, be you. Not just "you" but the biggest, brightest YOU you can possibly be and you must Tweet, "YOU!" all over the world in order to do it. And, any "cohesive body of work" that falls out of that? Yeah, it's so yesterday's news.

Until next time...

Monday, September 03, 2012

Another from New Project


DimplesAndColors_9576, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Here's another shot from my latest project: Just One Thing. I've been playing around with this dimpled mirror/looking glass object a bit, here trying to get some swirls and colors. In this shot, you can sort of see better the "dimples" in the glass itself.

Although it's a bit tricky to photograph, this object has been a bit fun to play around with. I'm enjoying making different "backgrounds" for it by playing with fabric some and by moving it and the backgrounds around. I like doing these kind of setups.

Here's a tip for you too-you don't need a "traditional" or even a "full" studio to do something like this. You can simply go to a fabric store and get 2-3 yards of various fabrics (in different colors and whatnot) and then use a corner of your house for the setup. I often use my bathtub, because it has a large window above it and it's a large white tub-basically acting as a giant reflector card. Even if you don't want to "dunk in the tub" you can do setups like this on your dining room or kitchen table or even use a window sill. Just look for a spot or corner of your house, apartment, or living quarters that has good light. I even sometimes use a reflector card, like a small piece of foam core, to brighten up the scene if it's a bit too dark.

Until next time...

New Project Alert!


Veiled, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I've been working on a new project. This one involves a bit of fabric-new fabric for me actually, as I went fabric shopping the other day to get something different, something fun to work with-and also photographing one object, as the project is called "Just One Thing."

I'll be tagging the photos and they will be appearing on another site on the web, but I wanted to alert you to this new project here, in case, you know, in case you were wondering what I was up to and all.

I like doing these sort of still life setup shots in my home. Sometimes, it's hard because you feel like you have to tear apart your house to do them and it can be hard work actually, to get the shots you want. But, I love doing stuff in my home studio, I really do. I could work here forever. Give me some great fabric, even some great paper, a few cool objects, maybe some flowers, and I'm like all set. Happy as a duck in water and all which, you know, is probably quite happy.

I love the idea of doing a small project in my house too. I've wanted to do something with fabric and I just love the idea of working from home a bit. I've always done good work (some say it's my best!) in studio, as opposed to going out into the field where I basically view myself as garnering raw material (if you will.) Don't get me wrong, I love to hit the road, travel, and bring back shots from afar, but I love too the studio work, especially playing with some of those shots afterwards. (Look for some "old familiar" shots to wind up in some layers or at least some "textural" type of layers in this new project.)

Shooting in studio, working with fabric, I love the twists and turns I get to enjoy. Every day brings something new to shoot. I hope you are having this kind of fun in your little world, wherever that might be, tonight too!

Until next time...