Crazy Business (And Wishin’ and a Prayin’)

Sailing, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, May 5, 2000.

For what it’s worth — we shall see — I posted this morning nine images from the sailing days to my Fine Art America account, and I took my pricing to where I didn’t want it to go, i.e., less than half the cost of production — and those media, printing, and framing costs are getting up there.  About the best I’m going to do is $100 on a $400 (or so) order.


Perhaps I should have kept “Bertha”, the Big ink-sucking HP B9180 printer, going, huh?

Maybe not.

I’m out a little time at the virtual fine art store, but it’s not sucking me dry while checking itself out daily.

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The big question is . . . even if you’re a buyer armed with a million bucks, what is that pretty picture on the wall in the den, or the waiting room or the lobby of the building housing the practice, worth?

What is one buying these days?

I happen to like the above image quite a bit.

If I were flush and printing, I’d make an edition of it (signed, limited — yesterday: 13 x 19 inches; next round: 24-inches on the short side, single sheet feed).


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The system has logged visits from Beverly Hills, so . . . you never know.

However, one wishes not to die of encouragement while waiting for The Big Score!


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Bertha Been Down So Long It Looks Like OUT to Me


Two or three months ago, not a lot of social contact, a quiet phone, adrift on the World Wide Web, albeit with a kind of anchorage on Facebook and habit in the area of “conflict, culture, language, and psychology” in the form of a blog, BackChannels, I just couldn’t take another of Bertha’s rumbling ink fixes without knowing — not gambling — that I would sell, say, 20 fine art prints at above $100 each to cover the costs of what the big hulk of a now old HP B9180 unit would drink in Vivera inks.

I pulled the plug.

May Bertha rest in peace.

Unless a B9180 enthusiast catches this post on the web and sweeps in to rescue Bertha in the very near future from an ignominious end at the local landfill’s electronics shed — to be followed perhaps by a glorious resurrection associated with precious or toxic metal recovery in an enterprise somewhere close by a southeast Asian circuit board recycling junk pile — I’m done with printing.

Could I get in another printer of same or better quality?


Do I wish to?

If my wallet felt thick and my future with the same felt secured, I would, but I’m hedging today.

It would take the assurance of a $5,000 commission or project to resume printing.

Bertha, I’m Sorry — Times Change

Not only have I unplugged the printer, the best commercial print shop in my town, First Look Photo, is closing its doors at the end of the month.

A Canon retailer, First Look lost out to B&H for my silly spending on Nikon gear, but it got some money for the fine art papers on which I enjoyed printing.  Still, what has happened to The Print?

Those stacks of 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 inch prints that used to make the rounds of hands at kitchen tables worldwide have been transformed into cloud-delivered images on smart phones and so many other gadgets with screens.

Look, Ma — no film, no paper, no wait for processing, and just as good as the big camera’s picture!

And no photography store down the boulevard either.

However, I do have in mind an alternative camera shop two towns or so up the highway.  Even so, everything one might want may be shipped in from an online store, the friendly chit-chat with the sales staff excepted.

If the print is really the thing and my signature on it worthless, I can resume posting at Fine Art America. On that venue, I cringe to place a value on a print that would fall below the cost of the printing and framing as charged by the establishment.

Aye, ‘Tis the End of an Era

There may be more to this story than laying to rest a fine old bitch of a printer and witnessing the passing of the place you could go into with dreams and a credit card (be careful, be very careful) and emerge with a nifty chunk of glass and a thick semi-technical manual filled with pages on composition, light theory, films, developers, and curves.

The good news: I’ve left a Nikons D200 and D2x, a complete “lens library” AND a field that on even the eve of its invention — think Talbot a little more than Daguerre — longed for the classical past or, also, maximized the value of a soft paper negative with romantically printed Greek tableaux.

Indeed, in photography, the exploitation of fine old methods turns out . . . kind of cool.

On my last visit to the local camera shop, the other guy at the counter was looking at the stock of RC papers (those who know, know) for his basement darkroom.

He asked.

I answered, “No ferrotyping needed for that”.

Kind of cool all of that back there in yesterday.

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