These adorable photos of the magical praying mantis will add wonder to a child's spirit and equally adorn the wall of a girl's or boy's room. What a great way to get them started on 'getting in touch with nature' and to begin looking at tiny life in a whole new light. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE STORE.
I'm transitioning my photography over to www.gettingintouchwithnature.com where my online store is being built. I also have a Facebook page:
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
The ladybug collage will be for sale in December for any size up to an 11 x 17 inch print.
My idea is to print 12 inch x 12 inch squares on heavy board and mount them in squares of 9 or 12 images for an art installation when I have my solo exhibition.. I have hundreds upon hundreds of photos yet to sort through.. I don't know what the back board will be yet.
“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit. Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world right in the eye.” Helen Keller
‘All that a man achieves and all that he fails to
I just posted today's blog about yesterday's research and then began thinking about what an infinitesimal percentage of the world's population I need to intrigue and inspire enough to buy my photography in order to make a living. If I were to reach .000001 percent of the population on a yearly basis, and had a photo with a $5 profit margin that each person purchased -- just one photo per person out of the whole year -- I could earn a middle class income that would feel good. It's such a ridiculously small amount of people considering there are over 7 billion humans on the planet right now.
Putting it in that perspective, it seems plausible, even doable, that I could sell enough of my images to keep a roof over my head and food on my table. Some of my photographs have won 1st place accolades and a couple photos were even picked to be in National Geographic's online magazine. So I have a modicum of talent. I have enough passion, tenacity, perseverance, and sheer fearlessness to go after a living as an artist. That's good. I have one but though. Are the subjects of my photography wall worthy? Do enough people want to shell out some green to put a rodent, albeit adorably cute, yet still a rodent, on their wall? Or a bee? One of my specialties is tiny life photography -- aka insects -- and how many people want to pay for a ladybug or bee or grasshopper staring at them?
It got me thinking old thoughts. I'm not mainstream in much of anything in my life. Then I got thinking about the things that I know make money. Porn. Drugs - legal and illegal. Candy. Human trafficking and animal trafficking. Oil/Gas. So I googled and came up with the top 10 legal and illegal ways that make vast amounts of money. To what end, I don't know. It's just the way my mind works when I research. I get an idea and then wonder more about it. I've never been drawn to the underworld, so I have no thoughts about doing something illegal. And I am not remotely interested in producing anything that the top 10 money makers make.
I'm into nature and promoting gentle living on this messed up planet. My photography tells a story about getting in touch with all life and communing in the woods because it's soul feeding and brings me inner peace. All that inspires me, guides me, and interests me, appears far removed from the money trail. Yet I am for the first time in my life, dedicated to building a bridge that will connect my passion to a pay load. This journey promises to entertain. And if the quote by James Allen rings true, it's best I entertain thoughts of success: ‘All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.’
It's not surprising that a pharmaceutical company, oil and gas companies, Wal-Mart, banks, and GE which is considered the world’s largest conglomerate comprise the top ten money making companies in the world. GE provides global infrastructure products and services, health-care systems, jet engines and transportation services, and household appliances. It also has a large financial services division. I was a little surprised that Apple made the top 10, but I guess the I-phone and IPad put it in that category.
10 Lucrative Illegal Trades
7 Snake Skins
4 Bear Parts
2 Bootleg Liquor
1 New Born Babies
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Yesterday -- Day 3 -- in my journey to become a professional photographer, I learned several new words, one of which describes the very thing I’ll be doing. I don’t know how I haven’t heard the word before. My photos will be giclée prints. It’s a neologism (also a new word for me) that was coined in 1991 by a print maker named Jack Duganne to describe fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. What's In a Name: The True Story of "Giclée" tells it all.
In short, the word was used in the 1980’s when describing IRIS printers. Duganne wanted to find a word that would up the class of printing from a computer. The quality of the giclee print rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries, according to Wikipedia. Artists choose giclée printing mainly because it offers on demand printing and avoids having to come up with enough money up front to print in volume. The word comes from the French based on gicleur which means “nozzle” and also means to squirt or spray. (Inconveniently, the word also is the slang word in French for male ejaculation.)
I learned just enough about large format printers to be saturated with conflicting and confusing advice. I’m supposed to find out what’s called “the duty cycle” of a printer. It’s the maximum amount of printing that can be done in a month without shortening the life of the printer, and equally critical, to make sure the printer can meet my demand. It seems to me a bit like not having a gas gauge and not knowing your mpg or not knowing how many miles to drive before changing the oil. The thing is, printer manufacturers rarely give out this information. Why would important stats like this be kept private? It peeves me to discover more ill will in Corporate America. For an instant, I think about diving into this issue and surfacing with all kinds of dirty little company secrets, but I need to stay focused. The one thing I know is I need to buy an excellent printer and the best ones are out of my price range. Plan B is finding a suitable compromise.
I looked at all kinds of printers. I found them on ebay, Amazon, B & H Photo and off beat retailers. I read printer reviews by experts and consumers. I want to be able to print canvas and various types of photo papers. Figuring out what companies to buy those supplies will be a whole other investigation. The minimum size output I’m looking at is 13 x 19. Evidently there’s an issue with using USB connections to these printers and advice points to always using a CF memory card or other memory device. I don’t know exactly what a CF memory card is. I’ll be googling that. One thorough reviewer who seemed to really know what he was talking about said, “The user interface blows. It’s just plain bad.” He went on to explain how you can get around it and he still recommends the printer over all. Some, or maybe most, printers guzzle the ink. This is another huge cost, and without knowing the duty cycle, it’s almost impossible to know how much each print is actually costing. The formula is easy if you have the specs, but otherwise, you’re left to make a best guess. Grrr …
Some printers have serious problems with ink clogging the heads. Other printers you just have to be prepared to buy new heads. Theoretically, I know what they’re talking about, but I’ll have to learn how to clean the heads (once I figure out where they are) and/or how to replace them. I need to budget for that on a budget that can barely afford the printer.
The best advice (actually more of a reminder) I got out of one review was to spray on some fixative onto my prints such as winsor and newton fixative. It seals the image to the paper so that moisture from hands or the air won’t ruin it. This allows potential buyers to handle the print without damaging it. With dye based inks this is especially important, says the reviewer. It also protects from the sun’s damage.
I downloaded a couple of free chapters from books by Barney Davey who is an art marketing author, blogger, consultant, and podcaster. I can't remember how I stumbled across him. I can be quite impulsive and will just dive in and order books on whatever I’m trying to learn. This time around, I’m going to approach things differently, a bit more methodically. The internet is a goldmine of information if I just take the time to find the nuggets of wisdom. I still may order a book here and there, but only after I’ve learned more.
I was reminded about having a mission statement. This is elementary and since I've run my own retail operations, I've not only written mission statements, but I've written entire business plans. I'm very clear on what I want out of my business.
I was inspired by a TED talk where the speaker stated that 80% of the information we receive comes through our eyes. It compelled me to research about how our eyes see. I read article after article. I learned the eye’s lens never stops growing over a person’s lifetime. The human eye possesses 130 million light-sensitive rods and cones that convert light into chemical impulses. These signals travel at a rate of a billion per second to the brain. I wish I could grasp this better. When things are in the millions and billions it’s hard to fathom. I also learned the eyes are used as proof of God by religious people. I guess Jesus called the eye “the lamp of the body” and even Darwin had trouble theorizing about the evolution of the eyes, and in the Qur’an the eyes are a definite sign that He exists and to ignore this sign is a great wrong.
All this eye stuff a slight detour from my objectives, but this is what naturally happens when I research. And it's not really that far off topic, is it? So much about art is in the eye of the beholder. It seemed natural to want to go deeper into how the eye sees.
Oh! I almost forgot. The other thing I did was get a profile started on Esty and load one photo for sale as a digital sale. I opened an account back in 2010, but never did anything with it. I don't know how much I'll put on Esty, but it's something I'll research. I know some artists who have sold through this website. I have much to learn and explore.
Inspiration is as close to magic as you can get in life. It's an exquisite high like no other; a flash that makes you believe in yourself. For an instant, the world makes sense. It advances you toward that bridge between over there and where you are. Over there for me is being able to make a living through my passion. Any flash of insight along the journey is an adrenaline rush. Inspiration can pop up in the most unexpected places and times. Even if just for an instant, it becomes a beacon in the dark, a road map to somewhere, a sign that points to uncharted territory, the one puzzle piece that turns the jumbled image into focus. The artist lives for this royal jelly -- the stuff queen bees are fed.
You may wonder what the title of this post has to do with inspiration. A fair question. This morning, I read an article by Kurt Vonnegut subtitled: A term paper assignment from the author of Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut described how his course had changed over time and will no doubt continue changing. He summarized with a reference to advice he'd been given years ago: "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here." As soon as I read those words, that bolt of lightening hit. That statement captured what I know will be my experience as I write about and explore my own journey of taking my photography to the next level. It will be ever changing, so this title may not only be the caption of this blog, but the title to my story about learning how to market my photography and get it from my camera to the walls of my admirers, should I find that I have any.
Yesterday was Day 1 of blogging about marketing my photography. My writing was drab, my message unclear. I hope to get better at both. This winter will be my first stab at really taking my photography to the next level and getting paid for what I love doing. I've toyed with selling photos before, but only as a hobby at best. Now I'm shooting for the stars and writing about it.
Here's a short list of some starter questions I want answered:
Who is the best printer for putting photography on canvas, metal, and photo paper?
Should I learn to cut my own mat board?
What kind of mat cutter should I buy?
What's the best company to buy mat board from?
What are the best art fairs for my style of photography?
How do I decide how many is a LIMITED EDITION?
What's the most effective way to get into retail stores?
Should I buy a booth at a merchandise mart?
I'm not big on business cards. I think the electronic age has made them
nearly obsolete. But if I do print some up, I'm thinking of using this image.
(If life had sound affects, what would inspiration sound
like when it strikes? Perhaps, a blog for another time.)
I have mostly focused on the journey of photo taking and not very seriously on the money end of things for several years -- actually about 7 years -- and am finally going to take my passion to the presses. I'll have an online store soon on this website where customers can buy LIMITED EDITION PRINTS on their choice of canvas, metal or photo paper. Work comes framed or unframed. I also have photo books and greeting cards.
First things first. I'm organizing thousands of photos that are on various portable hard drives and scattered in more places than I can count. I need to locate the high resolution images and sort through for the ones that print well and make up the best of my best work. I also need to figure out what's marketable. I could have an image of something I love and it could be spectacular, but nobody would pay to put it on their walls.
I've been designing marketing material all week. Some will be for brochures to hand retail stores. Others will be printed as posters for fairs. Below are samples of some of my first designs. I'm wondering how much marketing can be done electronically and how much needs to be face-to-face meeting potential vendors?
You can follow along, and learn as I learn, about how to market photography and art. I have way more questions than answers. I don't have a mentor and I wish I did. I'm just diving in and using the old trial and error method until something better comes along. Not knowing how to do something has never intimidated me, but it does exhaust me. This is when I would love to have a business partner or agent. As almost all artists feel, I'd rather spend my time devoted to taking pictures and to painting, while handing over the marketing to someone else. But that's a fantasy as this point in time. So rather than entertain those wants, I'll push them aside and make room for designing a full blown marketing plan. Stay tuned ....
I'm an artist, writer, photographer, private investigator and an activist in small ways.
"Turning indifference into making a difference."
A labor of love website devoted to animal and human rights, and better living. A place to be inspired ...
My LADYBUG book is filled with beautiful images & inspiring quotes. Click here for more info.
I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.
Read about life in the woods with Chippy & the crew...