A Good Weekend
Let's see. My brother-in-law is from France, but he grew up in Morocco when it was French Morocco, which is south of Spain, he informs me, and my first thought was, well, that's the wrong direction and he probably doesn't know that the Netherlands lie east of London either, but he did and he does. It seems even people who live in London know their way to Rotterdam. He even knew that the Netherlands has a district called Holland and that Holland is not another name for the Netherlands. Hmmm. Curious, this assemblage of esoteric information people carry around in their heads.
Well, I know Phoenix is somewhere east (east as in wave your arm vaguely toward the east) of Los Angeles and that Idaho lies on the border of Canada (to the north), Washington State (to the west), Montana (to the east) and one or another state is located down to the south. Nevada is somewhere (wave that arm again in a generally easterly direction) to the east of here and that's about it. Geographic knowledge consists of buying a ticket and going to your local airport and then getting off at another airport and taking a cab to a hotel.
Generally you can tell which direction you've been travelling if you check whether you're flying into
the sun or the moon or something and whether or not it's colder or warmer where you've landed, leading to a calculation of whether you've travelled north or south, except when you're flying to Australia, of course, because it's winter in Australia when it's summer here. I know this from reading Sticky Fingers. I can assure you, Rien, I am geographically literate. For a laid back California American who was born in Seattle, of course. I lived in New York once, but I forget whether it's Connecticut or Vermont on the north border, I think both. Massachusetts is up there too, but I only mention it because I know how to spell it and we once spent a summer vacation on Cape Cod. New Jersey to the south. Have you ever been to Hackensack? Just asking. I wasn't making a recommendation.
I drove over to Festa Italiana late this afternoon. The local Italian community puts on a "festival" every year at Jack London Square with music and the usual show up at every "festival" assortment of booths, except at Festa Intaliana the ones in close to the band stand are sponsored by local Italian American associations selling "Italian" foods: pastas, Calimari, hot sausage sandwiches (with plenty of fried onions and peppers) and American wine with an Italian family name. Lots of people walking around with wine glasses looking a little glassy eyed.
A large crowd up on the raised patio area in front of the big Barnes and Noble book store was sitting
around the tables in patio chairs with streams of people between them walking and standing and talking and drinking, some dancing, all listening to the music and eating. I, naturally, wandered around with a single camera and a fanny pack filled with batteries and film. I took ten photographs. Not an overly productive hour, but OK, and I met two photographers who were selling their prints from a small booth to the back toward the train station, relegated to a line of booths selling not quite Italian knick knacks, souvenirs, jewelry and photographs.
The two photographers were selling their prints framed and displayed in a small booth that could comfortably hold three or four potential buyers at the same time, a tent, designed for just this use, the two of them sitting in folding chairs outside the opening discussing (I assume) art and life with the passers by. I ducked in with the Nikon and they were kind enough to notice and ask my opinion of their photographs.
Both worked primarily in color, the younger one shooting more abstract pieces, a figure study, dancers,
their faces cut sharp in the middle of a swirl of color, and more studied compositions relying on shape and tone (What does that mean? Are you kidding? Stuff a rag in it.), the older photographer (more my age) actually painting his negatives with very small brushes and then printing them to produce imaginative images that were more like paintings. I say "kind enough to ask" because I was this old fart wandering around with an expensive Nikon, who knew if I knew anything about photographs or not? (Maybe the kind who bought photographs, dummy. Ah, of course, be nice to potential customers.) We briefly talked photography and I mentioned I'd bought a new color printer and would be making prints for the first time, they wondering about black and white, my saying I'd discovered a black and white print cartridge modification to an Epson color printer that I was going to buy.
I don't know how these guys were doing selling photographs at local street fairs, but they were far enough along with their photography to have put together a shtick that I assume was working, if only on a subsistence level. Something to do on the weekends, perhaps, much like me. Still, it made me think about where my own photography was going. These folks have crossed the line from amateur snap shooter to what I would call "semi-professionals", people who make money with their photography, but would probably starve without a day job. (I don't really know that, but that was my impression. Maybe they sell lots of prints at $200 a pop. I'd like to think it was that easy.)
My thought is what a useful tool to focus attention. Create prints and sell them, who cares if people buy them or not, at least in the beginning, but in the selling process focus my own efforts on creating more serious photography. I've been thinking I have to move to more serious work or get off the pot, not so much with an idea of making money, particularly, but with an idea of moving forward to a more serious level. If you don't move forward, you grow tired and stale and eventually stop. I don't want to stop. I've been too good at stopping in my past and besides, I'd just have go out again and find something else to keep my interest. Start over if you absolutely must (job, marriage, hobby), but otherwise, if you can, work with what you've got.
So, I'm not going to sell prints in a street fair tent, but I'm going to put one or two up on this new web site I claimed I was going to design in yesterday's entry. See what happens. A good weekend, I think.