Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Much Do You Think This Photo is Worth?


AccordionPlayer, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
How much do you think this photo is worth? $1,000? $2,000? $200? no? What about $15 or even $12?

There's been a rash of "art going cheap" tales of woe lately. For starters, the good folks at Glasstire.com have been running a series of articles about Dallas Contemporary putting up some very (otherwise) highly-valued artwork for $15. These are not your usual prints, no, these are from folks like Julie Speed. Now, work by Julie Speed usually retails for considerably more than $15, suffice it to say, and now the good folks at Glasstire.com are discussing how the folks over at Dallas Contemporary might never be able to re-gain their reputation in the art world, after letting such work go for so cheaply on Ebay. There's another matter of the legal contracts involved, which basically boils down to the artists agreeing to sell work through Dallas Contemporary but not having legal rights to re-claim work that is unsold and, through the magic of "loopholes" the folks at Dallas Contemporary can now (legally) "fire sale" off the otherwise reputable work on Ebay. As Glasstire pointed out, for prices that "might allow them to purchase a package of pens." Artwork that normally retails for thousands of dollars was available on Ebay for $15, yes it's true.

If this were not enough, a bunch of photographer friends are also bemoaning that Getty Images has licensed many of the Flickr/Getty Image stock pool over to Google.com and, as a result, are paying the photographers one single "flat" fee, rather than the traditional royalties they normally receive. This would not be a bad thing except for the fact that the "flat" fee in question is, well, quite very "flat" indeed, clocking in at a whopping $12. Yes, you read that right, the folks at Getty are now paying their stock photographers $12 to allow unlimited licensing of their work, even including some of the work found in the Getty archives and such. This situation, I'm sure, will be made worse by the fact that Dell had helped finance Getty Images in the past and now Dell is, well, having a fire sales themselves, thinking about going private thanks to the new economy and all.

So, what does all of this mean for the artists in question?

Now, that's a good question. For starers, the legal contracts you once signed might very well come back to haunt you, and it's probably a good idea to, before you sign anything at all, think about how things could possibly go wrong. What happens if the work in question does not sell? What happens if my exhibition venue goes out of business and closes with my work on display? What happens if the people skip town? All of these are valid questions to ask and, hate to say it, but there might be some opportunities that you might just want to pass on, just based entirely on the answers to these questions here.

These recent events bring about bigger questions though, and they relate to the art market in general and the views of society in terms of how artists get paid. With recent technological advances, many people, for example, view the images on Flickr "for free." But, nothing is really "free" now, is it? No, somebody had to go and buy that camera, had to go and take that picture, had to go and take the time to post it online, let alone tag it and whatnot so that you could find it and enjoy it all "for free." As long as artists devalue their own work, the market will respond so, in my view, artists are guilty here too. We should never work "for free" or should at least put forth the viewpoint that, even if it looks "free," even if you think it might be "free," even if you are enjoying it "for free" there's work behind that artwork and the viewers should maybe think about helping to pay for it all. Even in the land of digital technology, yes, nothing is really for free.

So, the next time somebody asks you how much do you think this photo is worth, or even the next time you are asked how much one of your photos is worth, I hope you'll take into consideration these recent events and not sell yourself short. Yes, technology is great and it allows us to share our work but they call it "work" for a reason-it's not really and should never be considered "free" for the taking.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Do You UPS? Don't You Wish We All Did?


FrothyUndertow_9084, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Now, I know you are expecting me to come here and write about how I've been all busy and how I've been spending lots of quality time with my new computer and....yada yada....Sorry to say, I'm not actually doing that. What I am doing then, instead, you might ask, and I'd be happy to tell you.

Researching an UPS machine.

Now, some of you may be saying, "WHAT?!?" Yes, sadly it's true. I've been researching an UPS machine. What's a UPS machine, you might be asking and, why, I'd be happy to tell you.

A UPS machine is also something called an "uninterrupted power supply." It's a device that allows your computer to continue working should a power spike or a small interruption in the power source hit your system. Why am I researching one of these? Well, for starters, I live in an area prone to power spikes and, since I just got a new computer, I don't want it to spike out the first time we get an electrical storm, blackout, brown out, or other kind of power spike. So, I started doing some research and now I'm eyeball-deep in research for these UPS devices.

Yeah, I know, not really art or photography related. Sucks, but I gotta do it. Here I am, sitting here, doing that, instead of taking nice spiffy new photos to show you.

And, believe me, this crap is BORING. I mean there's stuff I'm reading about sign waves and about how Mac don't like sign waves and how amplification across the resisters....let's just say this is the real reason I don't have a degree in electrical engineering. This crap is boring. I mean like, eye closing boring as the day is long kind of boring. Anybody who tells you that photographers lead exciting lives? Oh, screw that man. For the most part, yes, but, man there are some days we too get bored to tears. And, today? Why, yes, that would be one of *those* days.

So, there you have it. Aeon Flux. Resisters. Sign waves. All kinds of crap you don't want to stick your nose into, believe me. It's crap I just have to do because, well, when you're a photographer, you're your own IT guy. Sad, but true. Welcome to my world. It's ok, they have many cold drinks here.

Ok, so it's not all crack and slam, not all just beating my head against a wall. I'm also pricing trips to Bali.

What can I say? Sometimes, you gotta take the good with the bad and leave it at that, ok? Some days, you get to be the pigeon and other days the statue and, no matter what, there's always enough crap to go around, believe you me on that last bit. Sign way, anyone?

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's Going On?

It's been one of those times. I keep meaning to post here. I have this great idea. It starts out fine. "Today, I'm going to sit right down at my computer and jot off a completely entertaining post about..." Yeah, from my lips to God's ears. It never seems to happen that way.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Oh no! Carol's in one of her funks again!" Yes, it's true. You know how I get ...how I can be when I am in one of my funks. But, this time? Nope, it's not like that. I'm not actually in any kind of a funk at all. In fact, I'm feeling quite a lot like...normal.

So, what's going on? What's up with Carol? Where has she been and why is she not posting here?

Let's see....answers....answers....

For starters, I have been sick a lot this year. Bad allergies, really bad allergies and some other stuff. Made me feel crappy. Totally crappy and completely not like posting a lot. Yes, I know, that's only but one excuse. There are others. Haven't been shooting a lot either and that, well, that's really bad (it's usually what leads to the other, more well-known type of funks, mind you. The Carol beast, it would appear, cannot live without shooting. Well, she only goes so far before the batteries wind down, she gets grumpy, and then all sorts of funks start to unleash themselves.)

I got my new computer. (Finally!) But, embarrassingly enough I have yet to set it up. What kind of a person waits and waits until they announce a new computer, pulls the trigger, paces with heavy feet around the house until they deliver it all the way from China (Horray!) and then, when it finally arrives, neglects to set it up? Ahem. Queue theme music...."Hello, my name is Carol and I am a complete dork...."

In case you're wondering, it's not just the computer that's been un-set-up (is that even a word?) Anybody out there been trying to call me? So sorry but, I don't seem to have a phone!

It's true, my great and worthy Snowflakes, it's true, horribly true. The things you've read about me...the things he said....well, ok, maybe nobody really is writing about me and there really is no "he" in sight but, it really *is* true. I've got an iPhone 5 and I have yet to set it up as well. Been sitting in the box since like November sometime and I miss it, really I do.

It all started when I tried to plug it into my computer and then my iTunes told me it was out of date so I tried to update that but then my iTunes could not update because my computer was so out of date so I tried to get a new computer but then that was delayed and....you see where this is going? It's like an infinite loop cascading into a downward spiral that's not ending well. It's a swan dive into an abyss of misery that nobody quite expected and now everybody's looking around for a stepladder. It's...well, you can fill in your own metaphor. It's just....ugly, ok? Me no like!

So, now I've got old computer, still kind of working...sitting there, but I feel guilty for using it, since spiffy new computer is waiting to be unpacked. I have to setup new router, new computer, new printer, new iPhone. This should be like "Weee! I'm so excited! I have all this cool new stuff" Instead, I'm more like, "Meh. Eh. Ick. I'll do that tomorrow!" Did I mention my house is not clean either? I feel so...buried...completely buried under stuff I just need to do and yet keep putting off until tomorrow or some "better time" that never seems to come.

And, this sort of a funk? Why, I can't confess to ever having this sort of a funk, ever before. Never. Ever. (To get all philosophical and quote Taylor Swift on you.) Just what am I to do? How will this end? Will I ever have tech stuff that just....works? Why me? Can Calgon take me away? I feel like I'm so...right on the verge of having everything the way I want it. So close....so close and yet....so far, so very, very far. Argh! Can you hear the pangs of agony from where you sit, because I sure can?

So now this brings us to present day. I have to come here and apologize. I have to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not being on Facebook so much. I'm sorry for posting so infrequently. I'm sorry I've been so lax. I'm sorry I'm not around so much. I'm sorry I'm not shooting so much. I'm sorry I'm not shooting at all. I should be cleaning my house, fixing my new devices, setting up my new studio and getting back to work, I really should be. Shouldn't I? Instead, I don't have a phone, no computer, no nothing...camera battery ain't even charged. Oh good grief!

Where will this end? Will I finally just admit I need a bit of a break...a bit of time to get this all sorted out and then come back strong again? Or can I just string it along and do all of this piecemeal? Honestly, I just don't know. I feel so buried under and yet, you know as well as I do, that things in my world never seem to slow down, not for this, not for nothing. I live that kind of a life, I live that way and, heck, I'm even used to it (sort of.) I mean, it's been worse than this before and I've always loved it that way. What's going on?

So, bottom line? Maybe hiatus. Maybe a little bit of a break. Maybe just time to...you know...to sort things. It's not a funk...it's just...I need more time. There simply aren't enough hours in the day and there's only one me and she only dances as fast as she possibly can. (Does that even make sense? I hope so!) I promise, it's not a funk. I'm not trying to quit on ya. I'm not about to go out and get all civilized and edu-macated and do the Huck Finn dance anytime soon now. It's just that....well, I have a lot on my plate and it's not getting any emptier. And that, my dear Snowflakes, that needs to change.

I promise to try and keep you posted but that's the big news for now. Hopefully, it will all just get worked out soon and you'll never even know this ever happened. "What funk?" you'll say, as I jaunt off to next location, camera in tow, taking magical shots, with you along for the ride. I promise, that day is coming...it will be here again...it's just...behind the scenes....the setup...it has to...it has to happen first. I hope you'll understand.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Show News!


RedSkyNight_5632, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
I've got some current show news to share. Two of my larger paintings from the series "Earthen/Dusk" are currently on display at Austin's own Dougherty Art Center (aka the DAC.)

Here are the details about the show:
Austin Encaustic Arts

Contemporary Interpretations in Wax

Encaustic Painting

January 5 – 29, 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, January 4, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Austin Encaustic Arts opens the Butridge Gallery’s 2013 season with their newest work, Contemporary Interpretations in Wax. This group show exhibits a variety of aesthetics which showcase the versatility of encaustic painting, collage and three dimensional works. Austin Encaustic Arts exhibits throughout the state. To learn more about encaustic work or attend a meeting, please email 4firegirl@gmail.com or visit austinencaustic.blogspot.com.

Hours

Monday - Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

For those of you in the Austin area, you can see this painting and another one from the series as part of this current exhibition.

Until next time...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Clean Up, Clear Up, Gear Up


Cardinal_7051, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
It's the new year! Did you watch the ball drop? For a lot of artists, the beginning of the new year should mark a busy time when we have a lot to do and not just the sight of the ball dropping or the fireworks going off in the distance. No, there's actually much to do. Allow me to explain.

For starters, we all tend to make goals in the new year and a new year often means new goals. There's a lot of soul-searching and coming up with new directions, new plans and sometimes even new techniques. This is also a good time to take stock of where last year went, what worked and what maybe needs a bit of tweaking.

Often we need to clean up and get organized and this can be even more difficult for artists, since our studios hide a multitude of "organizationally challenged" sins. Admit it, we're a messy lot-more often than not keeping old paints about and having strange stashes of flash memory piles, that sort of thing. The new year marks a good time to clear off some of this clutter and help clear the way for our new projects. Sometimes, even just cleaning off our desks is a good start and can go a long way to helping clear out some of the clutter.

Then there is all of the paperwork involved. We have to get setup for 2013. We have to get rid of old catalogs. We have to doing things like track invoices and get ready for new projects. Maybe the website needs an update or you've got some digital files you've been meaning to back-up but never got around to? This is also a good time to do those sorts of things.

It's also a good time of year to connect with clients and keep in touch with those on our mailing lists. Thank you notes, holiday cards, new year announcements, and the like all happen now and this is a wonderful time of year to highlight some new work but also keep in touch with old friends. You know, reach out, touch base, rekindle, that sort of a thing. It's good to do, isn't it?

Finally, there's the gear aspect to all of this. The new year is a great time to assess what gear you have, what you want, what you really need, maybe even purge some of what you don't, that sort of a thing. Personally, this year marks a big gear up year for me, as I'm moving over to the new computer and also updating some lighting and other parts of my shooting rig. These are all things we need to do and the change in the calendar year marks a good time for planning what to purchase over the course of the year. Even if you're thinking about getting something in September, this can be a good time to start budgeting for it or to start thinking about how to fold new gear into your existing setup. Gear doesn't magically happen overnight, we often have to work with it and work to get it into the fold of our day to day shooting-there's a comfort level involved and some items have a learning curve, so it's nice to plan for that as well.

It's also a great time of year to go out for a walk and just clear your head or start the process of booking travel for the next year as well. It's a good idea to think about locations where you want to go and maybe plan out how you are going to spend each season of the coming year. It's always hard to narrow down locations and think about eliminating this trip or doing that trip "next year instead" but a lot of that goes down this time of year as well.

I hope the new year finds you doing some or all of these things. It's sure to be crazy enough once things really get rolling so this is a good time to reflect, to clean up, to clear up, and to gear up if you haven't done any of that already.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Idiots


CloudForm9786, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I've recently discovered this great new reality TV program called "the news." Yes, it's true, I've been watching the news a bit recently again and, I have to say, the idiots have outdone themselves since the last time I tuned in.

It's raining in Austin today. I know that, not because of my newly found love of all things news-related, no, I know that because I looked out the window. The news, in its infinite wisdom, saw fit to tell me that there is a "100% chance of rain today." Gee? You really think it's going to rain, eh? Must have a window too. The trick is, it's not only going to rain but they are now calling for hurricane force winds, hail, and even a possible tornado. Oh joy!

In other events happening on "the news" Austin is currently hosting a convention! Yes, it's true. The American Meteorologist Council (or some such thing-abbreviated AMC) is having their annual convention in Austin today.

Now, putting these two events together, one has to wonder what's really going on here. I mean, let's just examine the facts for a minute now, shall we?

For starters, there is a convention of "about 2000" meteorologists being held in Austin today, the very same day the same weathermen, the same weathermen who are supposed to predict these things, are calling for tornadoes, hail, horrible, rain, etc. I mean, who could have seen that coming? What, like they couldn't predict this? Just how many weathermen does it take to predict a tornado in Texas? (Hint: next time, use something called "a window!")

If that were not enough, to add insult to this injury, they are calling for no less than a "100% chance of rain." Yes, you read that right. Why not just tell me flat out, "Look! We have 2000 weatherman in town and they all say it's going to rain tomorrow, Bring an umbrella with you to work, ok?" No, now that would be too easy. And, what, are they not like dentists? Is there not like a "four out of five meteorologists agree..." aspect to this? That does it! I'm demanding to know, where have they hidden their "lone weatherman" and why is he not reporting that, somewhere today, in Austin there might actually be a cloud, a ray of sunshine, or anything other than rain? Is he or she, perhaps, hiding out on a grassy knoll up in Dallas and, perchance, refusing to make the drive down to Austin? (Conspiracy theory much?)

Finally, what's with this "100% chance of rain" anyway? These people always do things in 20% and 30% increments. Did you round up enough of them and beat them all with a stick until they began to agree? Why is in not like a "99.999% chance or rain" instead just to, you know, just to save some face in case the sun decides to make an appearance? A 100% chance? Really? Going out on a limb here now, I see.

I'd have to say that, after watching this oh-so-lovely new reality TV show called "the news" that I'm switching channels. There's no Kardashian on it. There's nothing called a "Snooki" and it's nothing more than a bunch of idiots waxing poetic over clouds already. Sorry, you AMC folks, I have better things to do with my time. (Oh, and by the way, in "Twitter speak" your prediction for today's weather ranks in with a whopping: #EPIC FAIL mmmm'k, Dudes.)

Until next cloudy with a chance of meatballs...

Monday, January 07, 2013

It's Never Too Late - New Year's Resolutions for Right About Now


Alligator_7026, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I'm always of the mindset that it's never too late to make New Year's Resolutions. What I mean by that is that, it pays to be organized. It pays to have goals and always keep some semblance of a "To Do: " list, even if you never get to cross off all of the items. Being an artist, I have demands and commitments on me all of the time. I'm sure you're read the constant stream here about it-that nagging feeling that everybody wants a piece of me. Unfortunately, the more successful your artistic career becomes, the more likely you are to be pulled about like a rag doll, with everybody wanting a piece of you here or there. Some days, yes, it feels like that, but lists and organization and resolution-like things help ground me and keep me moving forward. They are a good thing, really, even if it means I never will get to cross everything off my list.

Right now, for example, I am in the process of upgrading my computer. I just got a delivery today and don't know when I'll have time to unpack it. There's a lot of work to do here, but it will be rewarding as well. I still do not have the hard drive situation worked out yet-that's to come shortly, as soon as the spiffy new computer is up and fully running. Heck, I just got over hanging up a big show, finishing off work for that, framing it and whatnot.

Next up, I just got work today I have another invitational show plus maybe even one more show on my horizon. All of that while I'm trying to pick out studio lights and, heck, doing a load of laundry right about now would be nice too. See what I mean about lists?

This year, I'm going to challenge myself to really push myself and to really get moving, get setup, and get going on some of the things I've left behind. I've left a lot of stuff off the table, so to speak, and it's grinding down on me. I feel like I have an entire bunch of stuff half-done and that's not good. I need to work more towards completion, to really knock some things off my list. I can do it too, really I can. I just need a couple of good pushes in the right direction and need to make a few inroads on some of the stuff that has just been sitting around my studio, waiting for me to finish it.

So, this new year, I challenge you. It's a race, if you will. Challenge yourself to treat February 1 as the start of a new year. If it *were* a new year, just what would you want to finish *this* year, before the start of next year? When you think about that, therein lies my challenge. Treat February 1st as you would the end of the year. Make a new set of resolutions. Make a new "To Do:" list and get it done.

Come on, now, I know you can do it. There's not time like the present now, is there?

Translation: Don't wait for a new year to make new year's resolutions. Get going, get it done, get it behind you.I know you can do it!

Until next time...

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Photo of the Year for 2012 and Upcoming Plans


Swirl_9893-2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The other day, I had this *great* post detailing my "photo of the year!" for 2012 and also telling you about some upcoming plans I have for the spiffy new year. *Sigh* It was one of those posts that Flickr and Blogger just ate on me. (Man, I hate it when that happens.) So, today I thought I would brave it yet again to see if the wonderful Internets would let my humble self post again. (Wish me luck, for I am certain to need it!)

Let's see....For starters, according to Flickr, this is my image of the year for 2012, ranking in at a wonderful number 4 on my Flickr stats. It comes from a shoot I did in the summertime-a friend is a seamstress and designs, actually re-creates, Victorian construction dresses and costumes. This was one taken as part of that shoot, it was sort of a "leftover" when we were playing around with the big skirt, swirling it a bit to try to whip up some motion. I'm always a fan of big, square black and white images and this one seemed to work, so I posted it to Flickr sometime in early September. It was picked up by some online art gallery in southern California and the rest, as they say, is history, ranking in at a whopping number 4 on my Flickr "interestingness" scale. (You laugh, and maybe wonder if that really is a word, but the good folks at Flickr tell me it's their "secret" in their "secret sauce." Whatever.)

I'm also slowly starting up the process of booking some travel for the first part of 2013. Yes, it's true, I'm finally going to get myself over to Las Vegas and shoot at the Boneyard and the Mob Museum. I'm going there on a 50's Vegas, Elvis-y, Sinatra-y kind of "Vintage Vegas" mini trip. Should be fun. Expect that to hit come early April. Of course, I might sneak away before that, you never know, but I do expect to head over to Vegas for a shoot or two and, more than likely, at least one night on the town. Here's hoping that turns out OK.

Also got plans to ramp up the studio a bit, updating some lighting and doing some additional studio work, as well as a few more model shoots early in 2013 as well. Already shaping up to be a busy year.

I've also got some paintings on display over at the DAC as part of the Encaustic Art show that's currently hanging up that way. Look for (possibly) a closing reception come the end of the month for that. (The work is slated to be up through January 30th.)

A few more odds and ends to tell you about, but I'm still worried Flickr is going to like get all hungry on me and eat this again, so I'm going to post and run for now. Here's hoping you had a great new year and are looking forward to a busy, fun, and prosperous 2013.

Until next time...