Topic: 555 Gallery (3 posts)

Launch at 555 Gallery

This is true of any good photo gallery in the US: walk in, look around to see that what is on the walls varies in quality, size, price and prestige. There is often work by photographers you've never heard of and work by some you have. Prices range, often higher with larger sizes, from perhaps several hundred or so on up to several thousand. If you don't have either the space to hang a work of large size or the money to purchase it, you're out of luck. If you're not a frequent collector and the gallery is in your home town chances are you will about face and walk out of the gallery saying to yourself, "I'm never going in there again."

Susan Nalband, owner of 555 Gallery in South Boston is trying something a little different. With the new show called Launch opening this Saturday (January 23) from 5-8 pm if you see a large expensive piece hanging on the gallery wall, you will have the option to buy the big one or an image smaller and cheaper, from 8.5 x11 inches on up to 22 x 17 inches. 

I am a player in this experiment. I have two photographs in the show:

a photograph I made a long time ago on my first artist in residency in Rabun Gap, Georgia at the Hambidge Center. Made with an 8 x 10 camera. I developed the large negative, scanned it and made the archival inkjet print that now hangs on the gallery wall and that sells for, yes, it's true, several thousand dollars. The framed print is 50 x  40 inches.Why does it cost so much? Because I am a career professional with some name recognition, have people that follow my work and purchase it, a proven track record of making very high quality photographs, books published and a gallery that takes a huge percentage of the sale, etc. Finally, the skill level on this image is about as high as it gets. 8 x10? Next to impossible. Big print? Likewise. I believe it is priced where it should be.

Here's the other one:

a photograph I made in the fall of 2009 on a year-long sabbatical from Northeastern University where I taught. From Orvieto, Italy and a reshoot of some I made in 8 x 10 and in black and white in the early 90's. This one is all digital, smaller at 40 x 32 inches, and yes, it's true, sells for several thousand dollars. Same pricing rational as the Rabun Lake picture. 

Let's cut back to walking into a gallery. In this case, 555 Gallery in Boston, starting this Saturday night. Like the Orvieto picture because it is a sort of miracle of scenes or tableaux enacted right in front of you?  A single tree in a clearing front and center, some sort of fence off to the upper left, a row of trees in the background screaming for attention. This may be Eden. The sort of picture you can get lost in and one of my all time favorites. You really want this picture but can't afford the big one and don't have the wall space for it? Buy a smaller one. 8.5 x 11 inches under $200. Frame it and put it on your desk at work next to your computer. Give it a look when you're stuck at work and work sucks. To me, this is what I want to be looking at sitting in the dentist's chair as he's drilling my teeth. This is one of my "go to" happy places and it could be yours too. 

Warning: don't think that after you've seen the show you can delay your purchase. These are limited edition prints, especially at these prices. We have made 4: 8.5 x 11's, 3: 13 x 19's and 2: 17 x 22's  of our images. Once they are gone, they will be no more.

This idea, another in a growing list of Susan's efforts to shake up the staid Boston art scene, is an experiment dependent on you to support it. This is too good to miss: the affordable print buying program of 555 Gallery. I will be heading to the gallery Saturday evening (providing we don't get snowed out) with my checkbook in hand, prepared to buy a print. I hope you will too.

Want more info?

555 Gallery.

List of participating artists I am proud to be showing with: 

Bob Avakian, Deb Ehrens, David Mattox, Jim Nickelson, Neal Rantoul, John Rizzo, Gail Samuelson, Heather Evans Smith, Jean Sousa, Mary Ellen Strom, Sarah Szwajkos, Christine Triebert, Jane Yudelman

Topics: 555 Gallery

Permalink | Posted January 19, 2016

Packing up

Camera? Check. Lenses? Check.Tripod? Check. Battery charger? Check. Back up Hard Drive? Check. Extra cards? Check. Phone? Check. Phone charger? Check.  Laptop? Check.

And on and on and on. The list of things we have to bring when flying is long and there is almost certain disaster if something is forgotten.

I left for Salt Lake City yesterday and had piles of stuff scattered about before packing. I am here primarily to shoot aerials so sent ahead the gyro stabilizer to my hotel as it is heavy and cumbersome to take with me.

Those of us that do this a lot, friend Lou Jones comes to mind, this traveling to make pictures, have a process we go through in prepping for a trip. It is partly mental and partly procedural. One thing I learned years ago was to break it down into categories: photo, computer, camera support(s), clothing, personal, and so on. Lou is a little different in that very often he's going with an assistant or even a crew.  Add lighting to the mix and it gets even more complicated. But an experienced assistant can really make a big difference. I've always gone by myself on these trips. There is no one else to blame but me if I forget to bring something.

As a sideline, in earlier digital days I would go with a backup camera. I no longer do this as I don't want the weight and the expense. Foolish? Maybe, but not so far. What would I do if mine broke? If I could I would probably rent.

Another trick: pack categories all at once. This simply means don't try to pack all your clothes, for instance, over a couple of days. Why? Because you'll forget what you put in the bag and either repeat items or leave things out. 

Not packing what you don't need is an art, of course. Weight is your enemy in all things when you travel. That long lens you almost never use when working close to home? Will you really use it on your trip? There is nothing worse than bringing stuff you don't use. This holds true for clothes. Pack light, plan for the climate your headed to and think about less clothes, particularly if you can do a wash when you're there. Teaching in Italy for 5 weeks, I did a Woolite wash every other day or so.

Years ago, when working in 8 x 10 and with more stringent security measures coming into play on flights, I learned to ship ahead. I had a large fiberglass case that was built like a tank. Off would go the camera, lenses and film holders via UPS. I would ship to myself to the hotel I was staying at, or a friend's house if possible. Think about this: having security ask to open your boxes of sheet film to see what's inside. A nightmare if unexposed and worse when already shot. That was so scary I would usually ship the film too. Makes another case for going digital, doesn't it?

Rolling is king too. Why carry it when you can roll it? I use a rolling case for much of the lenses and ancillary stuff and the laptop. This goes on the plane with me as it is sized to fit the overheads. Then the camera and personal stuff like an iPad (with movies I rent loaded on before I leave) and headphones, glasses, wallet, snacks, etc go in a backpack that serves to hold almost all the photo gear when I arrive. I can stack the backpack on top of the roller during those long concourse runs when changing planes, when you've got ten minutes before they board and they've shunted you to a different concourse. Argh! Love those.

Years working in 8 x 10 leaves me with a legacy for always wanting the best quality possible and that means a strong tripod.  There is no way around this, sadly. Too small a tripod means I am blowing low light with long exposures because it doesn't hold things steady, too heavy means I am carrying unnecessary weight. Here carbon fiber rules and sadly, money speaks. Although for years I got by with an early Induro tripod (which wasn't bad) I now use a Really Right Stuff TVC-2X with their large ball head. Not perfect but I now get a larger percentage of keepers than before. Big bucks. Maybe Santa will be good to you this Xmas.

This could go on and on but I think you probably get my drift. With practice you can get yourself packed up well for a far away shoot on a tight time frame but it is definitely better to have a few days to plan it all in your head and pack carefully, thoughtfully, with as little weight and redundancy as possible, and not forget anything.

So, Neal, were you 100% this trip? Did you plan for everything and bring everything you needed and not forget anything?  Nope. Considering that my phone becomes my nav on a trip like this, I need power for it in my rental car. Forgot that, for sure. First thing this morning? Radio Shack or equivalent.

BTW: Back in time for one incredible party at 555 the 12th. You coming?

Topics: 555 Gallery,Monsters

Permalink | Posted September 4, 2015

I Love Your Space

555 Gallery in Boston has gone dark for a week as they are busy installing work for the new show,  I love Your Space, which opens March 5. This will not be your  average show, defined as nice work hanging well spaced and framed on the walls of a gallery or museum. In fact, as I've learned, this show won't have anything on its walls at all.

Boston does have a reputation of being "traditional", "stodgy"and "conservative". But none of those will apply to a show you view by looking at a hand held mirror to see prints hanging from the ceiling. This show might even be a little scandalous (dare I say that?). And even my work will be viewed from above looking down as though from a plane at the landscape and water below:

seen here being installed by Susan Nalband, the gallery's owner and Keith Waters, brought in to help with carpentry.

I don't know that my work has ever been shown before as horizontal pictures parallel with the floor. How cool is that?

The opening is Saturday March 7 from 5-8 pm and please note: It is really time to get off our collective asses and get out! This winter has been too long and we've been hunkered down as if in a siege. It is time for us to reclaim our city by getting out and doing stuff. Susan, her husband Ed and helpers throw a great party for an opening. I guarantee a good time. When was the last time you saw art hanging from the ceiling? Seriously, how can you not go to this one?

Want more info?

 Go: Here

Topics: 555 Gallery,reception,Opening

Permalink | Posted February 25, 2015