How doing art fairs affected my photography…

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Back in 2009 I felt confident enough in my work to begin traveling the Southern New Jersey area and participating in Art Fairs. In this post I will try to share some thoughts on how these fairs began to affect my photographic style. The story below is being written through artist eyes and not the business side of the effort.

The first couple of years were successful and a true learning experience. I was diligent in keeping records of sales and began to see what was selling and what was being passed over. I naturally began to gravitate toward capturing, and presenting the style of image that was going out the door. Sales were strong and all was well.

Please understand that I am retired and was not relying on these fairs to survive, or make a living.

Here is where things began to take a turn, and opened my eyes a bit. I began to show my work at other venues. I did some galleries and sold quite a few images to hospitals for healing arts programs and such. To my surprise, the images that were my more creative works were the ones being purchased. These were totally different from the art fair images.

Midway through last season we were mulling over what our plan would be for this year. In looking over inventory, it struck me that I had begun to create images that, in my mind, I felt would be good fair sellers. This was, as opposed to, creating images to make my own artistic statement. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t think I was satisfying myself by working that way.

We made the decision, partially because of my age, to end our Art Fair business. Since that time I have been creating fewer, but I feel, more personal statements in my photography. I’ve been quite happy with the decision. Whether someone likes or dislikes the image is not as important to me as saying, “Here’s my vision and interpretation of this subject”.

So, would my decision, and focus, be right for other artists? That will have to be a personal decision by each artist out there. I believe that one style mentioned here can certainly support the other style. I would also say that if you visit my website and see a different look or feel to the images, now you know why.

Thanks for reading and take care. I always say to always be creative, but I guess now I should include, be true to yourself.

My website

www.dwphotoworks.com

 

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Ghosts of Parties Past

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I’m proud, and honored to have been asked to give a presentation at the two day photography event called Photo SJ here in New Jersey. Two days of speakers, contests, workshops and general gathering of photo enthusiasts. I will present Creative Photography: Concept to Capture, Processing to Presentation. The event will be held June 14-15.

I’ve been working on the concept for this shot, and preparing to shoot it for quite some time. Collecting the bottles was not a huge task. Weathering those bottles to have the look that I wanted for the shot was another story. I knew how I wanted it to look and worked to get that result.

So, the gathering of props and prep work was finally completed. The hardest part was, where will I set this up? What will I use as a base and background. I didn’t have an appropriate table or backdrop in my studio. I looked and looked but found nothing in my props or set-ups. It finally hit me that there was an old workbench in my garage. I cleared off a space and set up for the shot. Processing the file finally gave me the mood and feel that I was aiming for. I will note though that the white background of this page tends to make the background of the image a bit darker than the actual file. Click on the image for a better view

I’ve always encouraged folks to be creative, and that can be achieved in many ways. Always strive to present your vision.

You can read more about Photo SJ by clicking here

 

Thanks for reading and take care

Dave

DWPhotoworks.com

A New Year….And A Step Back?

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A few years back, I had added some canvas giclee prints to my art show inventory. There was a lot of interest in the presentation, and many nice comments. the canvases were not gallery wraps. They were mounted on board and tastefully framed. Sadly, sales were weak. I discontinued printing on canvas and held on to the finished images.

I recently decided to show the prints once again. I hung a few at the gallery where I am an associate. Interest was once again high, and sales surprisingly took a strong upward turn. I’ve decided to return to this presentation style for select images and will print and frame as I had before. I will be using a different brand of canvas which is rated much higher than what I used in the past. The image above, which I will for the moment refer to as “Pear Pairs” will be my first project.

I have always believed that the presentation of a photographic image is just as important as the image itself. I wish you could see the prints in person. I hope you all strive to present your images to their best.

So my question now is, was the lack of sales due to the environment in which I was showing them? Is the gallery a better fit for this type of presentation? Images that were passed over back then are now selling. I’ll never figure this stuff out.

I will still use traditional presentations for most images, but some just seem to work well with the canvas giclee. I’d love to hear if any readers have had experience in viewing canvas framed prints as opposed to the gallery wrap style that has been popular for some time now. Don’t be afraid to let me know. Comments and thoughts have been a bit sparse around the holidays.

Take care and enjoy the new year

Always be creative

Dave

DWPhotoworks.com

 

A Change Of Season

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“A change of seasons” Today we transition from fall to winter. The shortest day of the year. We’re saying goodbye to the last remnants of those colorful leaves and prepare for those white snowflakes to fall. Each season offers different photo ops for us. For my photographer friends, I hope your creativity shines through.

Dave

DWPhotoworks.com

The Entertainer V2

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A while back I had done an image called “The Entertainer”. That image can be seen on my web galleries in the black and white folder. I had tried to get the feel of the old singer/crooner lifestyle in an old theater setting. I was happy with that image and still like it today.

I’ve recently acquired new backdrops and got the urge to re-visit the entertainer theme. I developed a plan of attack and began gathering the props I would need to develop the scene. I had everything ready, but then decided to add the light source itself to the image. I constructed a hanging lamp and found a couple different bulbs to try. The bulbs looked OK in the scene, but were just way too bright. I had to include a dimmer in my set-up and shoot many images to balance things out.

So here you see a final Entertainer V2. I included quite a bit of dodging and burning in the processing step.

My main reason for sharing this adventure is to encourage you, as I always do, to revisit some of your older files. They may spur a new project, or just a few tweaks to that old file. We’re always learning and growing. Our vision can change over time. But most of all it’s cool to see how we interpret things, and how variations can offer themselves to us.

Hope you enjoy the new image. The studio is going to get a workout in the coming weeks. I have several concepts floating around, and I’m gathering props.

I’d love for you to:

  1. Share this post
  2. Follow this Blog
  3. Have a great Christmas
  4. Visit my website
  5. Comment on this post

You can visit my web galleries by clicking HERE

Take care, and always be creative

Dave

Back to the studio

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“Simply Wheat”

Well, here we go headlong into the winter season. The leaves have fallen from the trees. The weather is turning cold. Those beautiful, colorful vistas are all but gone for the year. It’s time to clean up the studio, wipe off the dust and start gathering those props that I call my toys, get the lights fired up, and develop some ideas for still life and studio shots.

Does this mean I won’t be out there gathering images in the great outdoors till spring? Not at all. It’s just the time of year when it’s a bit more convenient to shoot in the studio.I also really enjoy designing and setting up the image, and playing with different lighting.

The image above was my effort to get things started and get the juices flowing. It’s titled “Simply Wheat”. It is an example of focus stacking. The image contains 10 separate files, each with a different focus point that are stacked and blended together. This gives a very wide depth of field range. You can click the image for a larger view.

If the process is done well, the viewer shouldn’t even notice the effect has been applied, but they will somehow feel that wide depth of field. The process is a killer tool to have in macro photography, and I hope to get more of those images done over the winter.

Things are changing for DWPhotoworks. My focus is changing and now that I have finished my involvement with Art Fairs I can feel a shift in my approach and mindset for developing my images. Who knows where this is leading.

Enjoy the image and hopefully you’ll be inclined to follow the page. Take care and as always, Be Creative.

Dave Woeller

 

“Once Proud”….

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My home town, and surrounding area, was once known as the hub of the booming glass industry in Southern New Jersey. Wheaton, Kimble, Owens Illinois, Armstrong, were all names that everyone knew and respected. Here in Millville, at one time, just about every family had at least one member employed by one of these industry giants.

Time passes and foreign competition, changing packaging techniques, and several other factors led to the slow decline of the industry.

The image above shows the sad state of only a small portion of the original Wheaton complex. The property has changed hands several times and now sits dormant. There is talk of a possible demolition to extract recyclable materials. So, why do I post about this facility? Obviously, for some, the decaying structure offers up countless photographic opportunities. Along with that, is also the opportunity for us as photographers to document a slice of history. Capturing what was, as a counterpoint to those creative images that can only spring from our own inner vision, can be a valuable and rewarding experience.

Granted, this image does lean a bit toward the creative side. I could have shot it during the daylight hours, but felt the stark darkness along with the rusted dilapidated structure told the story well. I am working diligently on trying to get permission to gain access to the interior for one final session to complete the story of “Once Proud”.

Perhaps you have a similar story in your own town. I’ll invite you to get out there and tell its story. It can be interesting, educational and beneficial to many.

Take care till next time.

You can visit my web galleries at

www.dwphotoworks.com