Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting Into a Gallery

Things to Know:

1. Find and define a subject/object niche for your photographs.
2. Have a good samples of your photographs on your laptop and take your laptop with you when you travel so that when you see a gallery that has they type of work you do, you can introduce yourself and ask if the curator would like to see your work.

Since this is the first post of this blog, "Making Money with Photography," I'll tell the story about how I got into a gallery.

Before I picked up a camera, I learned how to write. I knew when I wanted to become a writer that the writing would need some help, that is, I felt that my writing alone would have a better chance of selling if it had some images that went along with it. I read that in some writing rag about six years ago when I started all of this publication business.

Viola! My formula began to work when Mona D. from a local alternative paper in Palm Springs, CA. picked up a story called "Confessions of a Picker" that I offered her via a phone call in 2000. She came over to my mid-century modern condo and took pictures of all the 50s and 60s stuff I had bought on the cheap for resale. I watched her as she stood up on chair snapping pictures of everything from ceramic poodles to radioactive orange McCoy pottery to minimalist patio furniture. The article was about a picker (that's someone who hunts valuable stuff at garage sales and flea markets and turns it over to antique stores and consignment shops for resale) and she made it the cover story of the paper.

In the article I describe myself as a being an expermental type of guy (who can't cook) blasting Melmac dishes in the microwave when I decided to cook with the old brightly-colored, plastic relics that look like dolls should eat from them.

But more important than that, I went out and bought a Canon film camera and started taking picture of the radio dials, mid-century signage and just about anything else that was a "blast of the past" so to speak.

I moved from picking (oh, okay, that was a part-time thing, I have a Masters in Creative Arts from San Francisco State and have been a school teacher for 14 years) to taking pictures of signage.

The signs began to sell like hot cakes when instead of supplying the consignment store with stuff I "picked," I happily made them framed prints of signs.

So a couple of stores and galleries later (M Modern Gallery sells my work as well as the Room Service stores in Los Angeles and Pasadena and Palm Springs Consignment in Palm Springs. I find myself wanting more sales.

My photos made it to Singapore when the curator of the Photographer's Gallery accepted my shots after I showed them to him on my laptop.

The curator, Fabian, sent me a contract for a Christmas-time show in his gallery. Having a Dummies title under my belt helped to sell my work (you need all the help you can get to get into any gallery as most won't even talk to you unless you have a proven track record of making money with your art work).

Fabian picked 20 of my best shots, then I went back to the states, printed them up on my Epson 2200 and sent them to Singapore. Fabian took care of the rest.

A great show it was too. Only thing is I didn't get to be there : (