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Back to Nature is a Winner

September 19th, 2013

Back to Nature is a Winner

I am pleased to announce that my "Back to Nature" was awarded the First Prize in the 5th Pollux Nude category. The icing on the cake is that both the other works I submitted, "Sirens' Cave" and "Burqa" were selected as finalists in this category. If you move your cursor over the images on that link, you will see the rankings of the images.

These awards are presented by the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards. This competition donates 10% of the entry fees to the "Save the Children" fund. In this contest 320 photographers from 52 countries submitted 1,920 images in 23 different categories. 35% of the entry fees were waived to students, jobless artists and photographers from underdevelopment countries. The juror for this year's award is Julio Hardy.

Participating in Juried Exhibits

May 3rd, 2013

Participating in Juried Exhibits

As a result of taking some classes on how to exhibit and promote fine art photography, and hopefully sell it, I have been submitting my work for juried exhibits. These opportunities most often require that you pay a fee up front to submit your work. This covers their operating costs.

Be prepared for a lot of rejection. When I was doing theatre I workled as both an actor and a director. When you are an actor you go to auditions and hope you will get the part. When you work as a director, you see so much talent the choices become difficult to make. You agonize over the wonderful talent that cannot be used just because they are not appropriate for a given project. I see a lot of correlation between the selection process for juried exhibits and the audition process for theatre. It is this that makes me able to continue looking for shows that will consider my work.

To find information about upcoming juried exhibits I have used the following resources.

CaFE: Call For Entry

CaFE is the first site I signed up for. Basically you open an account, upload your images, then look through their listings to see where you would like to submit. I was accepted for one show through this service.

I can see how people organizing exhibits would like this system because it takes care of the adminstrative tasks and standardizes the way images are presented. There is no charge for joining this service so I assume they take a percentage of the entry fees to cover their costs.

Bay Area Art Grind

Bay Area Art Grind is an out growth of a service provided by the San Jose State Art Department. It is now open to anyone through the internet. I signed up for their daily email newsletter. This newsletter, in addition to announcing exhibiting potentials, lists job offers and all kinds of other useful resources for the art community. I have been accepted for several exhibits through this service.

California Arts Council: ArtBeat

The latest service I have signed up for icomes from the California Arts Council. I am brand new to this so I can't say much about it at this time. I do know that the CAC has been a strong supporter of the arts for quite some time. I will see what comes from this.

The Results

I started this process back in the later part of 2011. So far my work has been accepted for four juried exhibits.

2013 Juried Exhibition, an exhibit at The Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
This was the first time I had a work of art accepted for exhibit. CPA is an outgrowth of a group formed initially by Ansel Adams. I was able to attend the opening and had a wonderful chat with one of the judges, Chris Johnson. He had actually studied with Ansel Adams and is currently a full professor of photography for the California College of the Arts. He was very encouraging of my work. This was a huge shot in the arm as I was on the verge of giving up on these juried exhibits.

Tango and the Modern Nude, an exhibit at the Art Ark Gallery, San Jose, CA
This was another exhibit whose opening I was able to attend. The Art Ark is a beautiful gallery space that is part of a residential development. It is a young couple who have been given the opportunity of organizing exhibits. One of their criteria is that the exhibiting artists help prepare for the exhibit and clean up after. I hope they continue to do well.

Nude Attitude, a fund raising event at the Peoria Art Guild, Peoria, IL
This was my first out-of-state exhibit. Paying for shipping both ways for framed art can be a little bit of an ouch factor. I was very surprised that instead of a return delivery from UPS I received a check in the mail from the Art Guild. They had actually sold my print. What a kick.

Skin, an exhibit at The Darkroom, Essex Junction, Vermont
The Darkroom has a nice approach. You don't have to send them "ready to hang" artwork. I sent them a print which they have put in a frame for display. If the print does not sell during the exhibit, they will keep the print and put it in a bin for future sales to people who come to their gallery.

One of the exhibits I am still waiting to hear from is in Voies Off in Arles France. They want a collection of imagery that is projected on a large outdoor screen during the Rencontres d'Arles Festival in July. I sent them my collection of images that is in my book Revisiting the Classics. I really have my fingers crossed on this one. If it is accepted, my wife is encouraging me to go. I've never been to that part of France but it wouldn't be the same without her.

Selling Through Online Art Galleries

May 3rd, 2013

Selling Through Online Art Galleries

Over the past couple of years I have explored the possibility of selling prints of my photography through online art galleries. So far this process has not resulted in any sales. But it has been interesting and informative to learn how these various galleries operate. I am sharing the journey I have taken in the hope that it might be helpful to others.

Smug Mug

The first online service I tried was Smug Mug. I don't remember how I discovered them. I was with them for a couple of years. They are international and have groups for their members all over the USA if not in other parts of the world. They have a fairly sophisticated series of tools for setting up photo albums.

I was attracted to this group because, unlike Flickr, when you right click on an image you cannot download it to your computer or print it. My thinking was if someone can download an image for free, why would they buy it. When I first joined SmugMug their prices were reasonable and they offered a couple of different photo labs for processing and framing. I was very impressed by the work done by Bay Photo in Santa Cruz.

But then last year they increased their prices. They are really tailored to commercial photographers who have clients before the first shutter click. I learned a lot about the world of commercial photography from going to the monthly meetings of the local Smug Mug group. But I also realized that this was not the type of photography I was interested in pursuing.


Somehow I stumbled upon Galiara which has a physical gallery where I live in San Francisco right in the heart of San Francisco's downtown museum district. They also have an online presence. I thought "Great a local gallery." They don't guarantee you will be exhibited in their gallery and for good reason--in my experience they could care less about the artists. They are basically a rental space that uses fees collected from artists to subsidize their costs. I had been informed that Galiara was probably a vanity gallery. But I had to find out for myself how they work. I did not renew my contract after my first 6 month trial.

Then I saw a notice posted for a Pop-Up exhibit, "Pancakes and Booze," that was going to be at the Galiara space. I thought "great--an opportunity to see what this gallery is like in action." "Pancakes and Booze" is a business that goes all over the country doing these pop-up exhibits, twice a year in San Francisco. You pay a fee for each piece of art you want to display. You keep the proceeds from any sale. I was doing prints in 16" x 20" frames. The guy next to me, who paid the same price per image, was doing 60" x 40" paintings. He had three times the wall space I had for less money. There were so many artist participating that the walls were wall-to-wall art. The opening night event was extremely well attended, I would guess largely by friends of the artists. It was wall-to-wall people. I didn't make any sales but I did create a Zombie Bride costume for a Zombie runway show during the event. I am now using an image of this costume in the print, The Son Also Rises, with several more images to come from making this costume. I enjoyed that part of the process.

I can't recommend Galiara so I have not included a link to their website.

Blue Canvas

Through a SmugMug meeting I was introduced to a local group of professional photographers affiliated with Professional Photographers of America. At one of the PPA meetings there was a photographer who held a workshop. She mentioned that she displayed her work, but did not sell it, through Blue Canvas. She was represented by a gallery who did not want her to sell online.

As Blue Canvas was free and I was ready to drop my SmugMug account, I checked it out. I was impressed by the website. They also publish a magazine that prints selective work of the Blue Canvas members. One of the guiding lights of Blue Canvas is an art professor who was looking for a way his students could get their work out into the world. From my perspective it seems like Blue Canvas is sort of a Facebook for artists. It is nice to have the support of other artists. But the bottom line is how many artists buy the work of other artists? It also relies heavily on advertising for its support with B&H being one of the primary advertisers.


Somehow I stumbled upon RedBubble which is also free. I was drawn to it when I saw a message from a photographer who was commenting on how he had just sold some cards through the RedBubble site. That sounded interesting and the site was also free and they do not rely on advertising. So I signed up for it as well.

As it turns out RedBubble had a local event not long after I joined so I was able to meet some of the people from the company in person. I actually had an opportunity to talk to the CEO. I asked him "How do you support your site without advertising and without charging the artists?" He said, "We sell a lot of product." So in addition to prints, framing, and cards, tell sell t-shirts, hoodies, i-phone, and i-pad cases. I have yet to sell anything through them but I have noticed that Red Bubble attracts a lot of graphic artists whose work, I think, is more appropriate to t-shirts and hoodies.

Fine Art America

During the exhibit I am participating in May 10 through May 12, 2013, Different Perspectives one of the other people exhibiting, Kate Brown, mentioned she was going to post our event through her Fine Art America, FAA, account. I asked her about this service and was impressed enough by what she had to say, I checked it out--and joined--hence this blog.

While I am still very new to this site there are a variety of things that impress me. FAA has a wider range of paper and print finishes than any other web service I have used. There are also more options for matting and framing. The process of creating a card allows the use of more variety of image formats from 4x6 to 8x10 with landscape and portrait orientations. The fact that you can add text inside the card is something I have not seen elsewhere. The services that are offered to the artists are great. I also like the fact, given my website design abilities, I have been able to merge my website Wild Side Photography with the website features offered me by FAA.

But I suppose what I find most impressive is that it is a site that encourages galleries and collectors to join. It is interesting to view the daily sales. In a recent email, they said their goal is to become the "Amazon" of Fine Art. I wish them the best of luck in this endeavor and plan to stick around and see how successful they are in this endeavor.