A year ago my family made a trip across the U.S. in a small Class A RV. They’d never been out this way before, and it was something very new indeed. The wrap up for their trip was also a first. The grand opening of the gallery. What a night.
This year we’ve got a few signs in the window. No big bash today or tonight. Just some pretty deep discounts. I need to make some more wall space for new pieces I’d like to hang.
The upcoming 4th Friday Art Walk will be the big bash. We’ll go a little overboard for the Art Walk. Frankly though, today is the day. I’m pretty excited and proud.
In a really bad economy I’ve managed to stay afloat in a brand new business. You know what they say, it takes 3 years to get a startup really going. Well, my particular startup has paid for itself all year. Granted, it didn’t really pay me much, but it at least paid for itself. I think that’s an accomplishment right there. And given that my print clientele is growing I believe it will do better in the coming year. Well, that’s the hope at least.
The printing business is what’s really kept me going. It accounts for the bulk of my income. My photography resales, while good, wouldn’t have made the business on their own. So I’m glad I made the decision to become a production shop. It was the right call. I’m looking forward to growing the production side of the business and add a few more machines over the next two years. Yes, thinking expansion in a down economy.
What’s next? Plenty.
- I’ve got to get the word out to a wider audience regarding print reproduction. I offer extremely reasonable prices for excellent reproductions. The big guys out there like MPix and APC have the attention of the photography marketplace. I’d like to show their current customer base that my repro work is on par (which it is). The painters seem to have found me, and realize that I do an amazing job reproducing their works. I’ve got clients from Jackson Hole Wyoming to San Diego, California. I’d like to add a spread of photography clients on the same scale.
- Promoting myself as a “Canvas for Photographer’s” shop. Best part, I’m a photographer as well. In the last year I’ve gotten a very good idea of what photographers want, and how they’d like their work presented. My newest client, Robert Jamason, will be a great example of photography on canvas. Like my work, Robert’s has a very wide dynamic range. With Breathing Color’s Lyve I think we’ll present his images in a way that stops people cold.
- Several new projects have been in the works for a while now. The project that I’m ready to tell you about is “Photographing Arizona.” Months ago I started up the Photographing Arizona Podcast. It’s been a success. The download counts and feed subscriptions have blown my mind, and I’ve barely started into the podcasts. They will be improving too, I promise. Now I’ve decided to take “Photographing Arizona” in a bigger direction. It’s own site.
Photographing Arizona, the e-Zine
Recently I registered the name PhotographingArizona.com. My first thought was Photographingthesouthwest.com, but I changed my mind. Laurent Martres has an amazing book series on Photographing the Southwest, and that series has been my guide to some very unique places this past year. I don’t want to step all over Laurent’s name. Frankly, I’m surprised the site name hasn’t already been registered for the books!
The new PhotographingArizona.com website (which isn’t up today but will be soon) is actually going to be a little broader. The site, Photographing Arizona, will have a subtitle to boot. “And the Four Corners Region.” We’ll be covering the Four Corners states, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. It won’t be all Arizona all the time. Of course, I live in Arizona, and so do several of the folks I’ve already asked to write columns for the site.
Over the past few months I’ve run the idea by several magazine editors, one publishing editor, and a few photo editors. They’re all on board with the concept so I’m pushing ahead with it. What is the concept you ask?
Well, the site is going to be dedicated to photography in the southwest, Arizona tying it all together. We’ll be posting tutorials, trip reports, photo tips, location tips, etc. The idea is to present learning opportunities to other photographers interested in shooting the Southwest. It’s not going to be a “Kelby Training” type site, although we will be doing tutorials. The hope is to have monthly articles from amateurs to pros about shooting in this region. We’ll also be tying the Photographing Arizona Podcast into the site as well.
No worries folks, I’ll still be posting those podcasts here as well. You won’t have to change feed addresses or anything.
For regular readers of this site interested in photography and the Southwest, guess what? I need your help on the new site. I’m setting up the site structure as a multi-user environment. And I need interesting articles, fun pictures, and your take on shooting here. You don’t need to be a pro, you just need to be interested. Once the site is out of Beta testing (running it on my Macbook Pro here at home) and live online I’ll announce it here, and then we’ll start talking about submissions.
Oh, and for the time being this is of course a non-paying venture. It’s about having fun, sharing information, and educating other folks like us with the same interests. If it ever gets to a paying basis that would be cool, but in the meantime it does offer exposure on a different level, and hopefully to a very broad audience. See, that’s one of the reasons I’m putting the new site together.
If you haven’t noticed, the dollar is down. The economist in me noticed, but maybe you haven’t. Know what happens when the dollar is down? Yeah, stuff gets more expensive for us if it’s been imported, or assembled with imported parts. Bummer. But beyond the bummer something else happens. Folks from other countries suddenly have more purchasing power. And you know what they’re doing? Taking vacations here.
My trips to the Grand Canyon, Route 66, Lake Powell, Coyote Buttes, Cottonwood Canyon Road, and more have shown me something amazing. Germans, French, British, and Japanese tourists. Giant packs of tourists visiting the region. Vacations, photo trips, nostalgia, and more reasons than I can count. And before they set out they look for information. You wouldn’t believe how many searches have directed foreign readership to my site with the words, “Photographing Arizona.” It’s a daily occurrence on my website.
In my own trip planning I’ve had the resources of several amazing books. Beyond that though I’ve scoured the web for GPS coordinates, trip reports, and amazing locations. There hasn’t been a single resource for my searches, and at times that’s been aggravating. That’s part of the reason for the new site. The other part is of course giving opportunity and exposure to some of the amazing photographers I’ve met in the past few years here. So stay tuned, and if you’re interested, get ready to start submitting. I’m really going to need your help with this one!
There it is in a nutshell gang. One year in business, new projects, new ways to reach a broader audience, and hopefully a new outlet for my photography readership. The next year should be very interesting, and with luck, no more root canals for any of us!
By the way, BIG THANKS TO EVERYONE
Thought I’d forget, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t.
To all my clients who kept me in business this long, Thank you so much!!!! Your business means everything to me, and you’re the reason I made it this year! Without you, who knows what I’d be doing.
I’ll look forward to another successful year for all of us. Keep those paintings and photos coming guys!