Not too long ago I spent days creating a new list of prints and products. I researched. I reorganized. I reassessed. I gathered information, compared prices and “joined” new pro-labs. I agonized over what products my clients would want to have. In the end I had created an entire page of “specially designed” collections of various print sizes and products. I even included a series of photo frames that would be included with with every fine art print purchase. Eventually there were four pages of product and options that would make me miserable and encourage clients to buy products I didn’t even really want to sell.
I showed that list to, like, two clients during their order sessions, and they both wound up with digital images.
Last week I deleted the entire first page of “The List” that contained “The Collections.” I deleted it and saved over it, so it is literally gone. In it’s place are two simple pages of fine art prints, fine art books, a few options for obtaining digital collections and a couple of other great options for sharing beautiful images. It feels wonderful to make such a giant step in the direction of my goal, which is to create commissioned art work for clients who appreciate art and photography.
Don’t get me wrong, please. I have loved working with families and growing many of those relationships into friendships. I loved meeting parents to be and then meeting their precious newborn. Even more, I loved learning that another baby was coming and I was going to get to be part of that miracle, as well. I have literally documented families from engagement shoot to the birth of a third or fourth child. I have gone to homes where my work is everywhere: mantels, walls, coffee tables, refrigerators…
But here’s the truth…my truth…
I don’t want to produce work anymore that gets stuck on a fridge with a magnet.
I want to create work that no one would dare hang on a fridge because it is far too precious.
I want to create work with you, for you. I want to create work that inspires others to create.
I want to create work that you cannot create with an iPhone or even with a pretty good camera, because it is work that is unique to me and my style. It is work that you are drawn to, that you want hanging in your home, and you love it so much you are willing to pay what I am asking because you understand the value of it. You understand the years of hard work, of training, of making mistakes, of learning from them, of experimenting. You recognize my creativity, my effort, my passion, my desire to be an artist. You are not hiring me because I know how to use my camera on manual. You are not buying my art because it matches your decor.
You are choosing me or my work because you see something of yourself in it, or you want to create a work of art together that tells something about YOU. You are choosing me, not because you want a sweet picture that shows how cute your family is when they look at the camera and give a smile, but because you trust me to depict something beyond that.
Families used to commission a painter to create a portrait of their children or their grandfather or themselves. There was no digital file delivered with the painting. There weren’t wallet-sized versions. It didn’t get shared on Facebook. Rather it was hung with pride above a mantel or in a common room where it could be admired. It was a treasured gift to a family member or close friend, and it became an heirloom.
Moving forward in my work and on my blog, I want to continue to create, discover, share and write about art, to inspire you to do the same, whether or not you consider yourself an artist. I hope that you will continue to snap photos with your phone and put together great collages and memory books. There is value in those things, as well.
But when you think of me, think of collecting treasured works of art. Think of what you want to display in your home or business for years and years to come. Think of what you will hand down to your children and grandchildren, or dare I dream, donate to a museum one day.
*This is part of the Feel Good Blogging Challenge from Alex Beadon – to sign up, click here.