Thursday, June 15, 2017

If Failure Is Good for the Soul




If failure is good for the soul, then I'm a saint.  A deity, perhaps.  I left the workshop early yesterday so I could take Ili to some art galleries in Santa Fe.  It is unbelievable to me that they close so early and are not open on Sundays.  That's right.  Not open on Sundays.  So I left at four and we went straight to the Photo-Eye Gallery.  They were exhibiting the works of Pentti Sammallahti, small black and white silver prints.  Look him up.  But the images on the web won't do them justice.  And they are small, often smaller than 4x6.  He had a 70's aesthetic which made sense given his age and training.  We also saw some Maggie Taylor prints on the wall as she is the coming exhibit there.  I've seen lots of her work and knew that Ili would like it.  Taylor was married to my old photography prof, Jerry Uelsmann, from whom she was recently divorced.

A framed photo laying on a display table caught our eye.  I asked the gallery associate whose work it was.  She was very nice and came over to show us drawers full of the work by Kate Breakey, wonderful prints on museum glass backed by gold leaf.  They were surprisingly affordable.  Ili loved them.

Then I asked about Richard Tuschman whom they represent, and again, she opened a drawer and began taking out his beautiful prints.


This one especially caught my eye.  He builds the sets in miniature and lights them and photographs them, then photographs the people in the studio replicating the lighting he used in the miniatures and he blends the images.  This one is from his Hopper series.  I can almost afford to buy one.  I might.  I just might.

We left the gallery to go to some others across the street only to find that they were already closed, so we got in the car and drove to Canyon Road where there are seemingly a hundred galleries of assorted value.  These were closing, too, but we went into one that had some beautiful paintings by Tyler Swain.


The gallery owner was a sweet woman and we talked with her for a long time thinking that this would be the last gallery.  But when we walked up the street--holy shit--we saw the photos at the top of the page by Drew Tal.  These jpegs do not do any justice to the work.  They were large, the two full length portraits about five feet tall, and the detail of the background was so subtle it does not show up here.  They looked like replicas of old silk paintings.  Jesus, I was sick for having tried to do this for a long time.  He was a fashion photographer in NYC and it shows.  These photos were going for $10,000 each.  All I can tell you is that I practically wept.

And then it was over.  Everything was closed, so we went back to town for sushi.

I do not want to go back to the workshop today.  It is futile.  In every gallery, I asked who printed the works.  All photographers send their works to be printed by a few very high end printers (like the one I am studying with this week).  Printing is its own art.  It is highly specialized and technical.  Even the people in my workshop send their work to be printed for their gallery showings.  To get your work printed is very expensive, though.  I don't know.  After yesterday, I don't even feel like a photographer at all.  I think to sell all my cameras and equipment.

Yup.  If failure is good for the soul. . . .

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