Musings on Photography

Show and Tell

Posted in process, shows by Paul Butzi on January 29, 2007


Having discovered that I didn’t actually have enough Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art on hand to print the entire show, and not wanting to confront the issues of getting more (namely, driving to where there are lots of people) I decided last night to print the entire show on Epson Enhanced Matte.

So this morning, I fired up the old printer, making prints to replace the rather sorry looking, well worn work prints I’ve been looking at while editing the show.  Ten minutes a print, 19 prints (plus an extra because I printed the wrong version) works out to just about 3.5 hours of occasionally tending to the printer (to catch the print just as it’s cut off), and doing other things while it happily went “whish, whish, whish, whish, whish” and put ink on the paper. 

Despite my fears that the blinking red ‘low ink’ light meant I’d run out of light black ink in the middle of a print (and spoil the print), I didn’t replace the cartridge at the start, and the printer happily made all 20 prints without running out.  My tentative conclusions is that most of the ink I use gets used up cleaning the heads.  The good news is that ever since last summer’s printer service, ink usage seems to be down substantially.

While the prints printed, I spent an unpleasant period searching for the mylar mounting corners I was going to use to mount the prints (instead of my older practice of making T-hinges with Tyvek tape).  Not in the drawer.  Not in the box of mounting stuff.  Not in the cabinet, not to be found anywhere.  I finally concluded that the mice carted them off during the Invasion of the Dread Small Rodents last fall, which reminded me to go around and inspect all the traps.  No mice, no mounting corners.

So instead, I did it the old fashioned way, making mounting corners by cutting archival paper into 1.5″ wide strips, and then folding and cutting to make archival corners which I will stick onto the backing boards with archival tape.  Not as spiffy as Mylar corners, but no one will see them anyway, so it doesn’t matter.  That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

And, also, having done the final editing, I made up the ‘show spreadsheet’, a useful little thing that I set up years ago while futzing around with various gallery paperwork for a group show.  Every print gets a line in the spreadsheet, which includes things like the image id #, the size of the print, the process (gelatin silver, inkjet, etc.), the size of the frame, the framed price, the copyright date, the date the print was made, etc.  Along with the format for this spreadsheet, I also have master mail merge documents, which means that I can crank out the labels that go on the back of the framed prints, the hang tags for the show, and the gallery inventory sheets all with almost no effort.  Because I hang shows at this gallery every year, I actually went to the trouble of making up a mail merge document which EXACTLY matches the inventory sheets the gallery uses, so they can’t even complain that I’ve used the wrong form.  For other galleries, I use a boilerplate letter that details the list of prints delivered and clears up who is responsible for insurance, etc.  Genius, eh?

All of this took eight times as long as you’d think because, as you’d expect on a day where I was trying to get a great deal of stuff done, the dog was quite insistent that if we didn’t go outside and engage in the ritual throwing and retreiving of tennis balls, he was going to DIE IN UNSPEAKABLE AGONY and it would all be because I was such a callous cold-hearted dog hating bastard.  And of course, the weather was nice, so I was fairly easily convinced to take yet another tennis ball game break.  I finally got a long unbroken stretch when I threw a tennis ball down toward the stream, and he fetched the ball and then decided that the ball would like to take a little side trip down to visit the stream.  He and the tennis ball emerged from the woods some minutes later brimming over with happiness, but soaking wet and utterly filthy, so he (and the ball) had to spend the rest of the afternoon in Golden Retreiver Exile on the front porch of the studio, napping where the winter sun warms it up in the late afternoon.

Tomorrow: the great mass production of window mats, to be followed by hinging of mats to the foamcore backing boards and the mounting of prints.

2 Responses

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  1. Billie said, on January 30, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Someone who has never prepared a show would not believe how much time it takes to do all the things you are doing. And all of this has nothing to do with making the art. So what do you figure we get in total for our work? 50 cents and hour?

  2. StephaneBosman@mac.c said, on January 30, 2007 at 8:43 am

    It is discouraging. I have done 2 shows. Sales have just barely covered the costs. So the nice thing is audiance, people looking at my work. My small web site gallery gets about 25 visits per day, I could never hope to get that from a show.

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