I've got a nice surprise. But first, a short digression about another kind of "print resolution."
Every few years, I take stock of my track record in living up to my New Year's resolutions, and it occurs to me that I could improve my wretched rate of success by setting my sites lower. So, the other day, I was sitting around in the living room with my son.
Me: My New Year's resolution is to clean up the living room.
Zander: Have fun with that.
Me: Actually, I was planning on enlisting your help.
Zander: Sorry, but that would interfere with my New Year's resolution, which is 'Don't clean the living room so much.'"
Maybe that's not setting my sights quite low enough.
Anyway, I actually do have one great New Year's Resolution this year: I've made the decision to start a photography collection. [Insert heralding trumpets, clouds parting, rays of sun, etc.]
I've never done it before. Although I've always wanted to try.
Of course, I don't have what's known as the big bucks, so there aren't going to be any Friedlanders or Erwitts or Koudelkas or Jim Marshalls in my collection. I'm not going to be haunting the auction houses in New York city or causing big-time photo dealers to beam and clasp their hands together in pleasure whenever I heave my deteriorating frame into view. Over the years, however, I've accrued some prints from various sources, in various ways, from here and there, hither and yon, and it occurred to me not long ago that a fair number of good ones actually fall neatly into a specific and fairly narrow category. So that determined my "principles of collection" (forgive me, I'm not going to share what they are) and "viola," as Phil Davis used to say*—I've got the core of a collection.
Another nice feature of this resolution is that it's going to require very little actual activity to fulfill. Because, y'see, I've only resolved to start a collection. Finishing stuff, that I'm not so good at. Starting stuff, well, that's my forte.
So far, aside from my already existing seed-core, I've contacted three photographers online and inquired about buying prints. As soon as I receive at least one that I like enough to add to the collection (sorry, The Collection)—then my New Year's resolution's fulfilled.
The Ctein 2010 Dye Transfer Print Sale
And in a not-unrelated tidbit of news, that surprise I mentioned: I'm pleased and happy to report that plans are firming up for a second dye transfer print sale.
You'll recall that Ctein's first dye transfer print sale, in 2008, was a stunning success. (And here, I do mean stunning—after expecting to sell about a hundred prints, TOP readers ordered more than 700 in the few days the sale was active. We were both well and properly stunned—Ctein more so, because he had to make all the prints.) Dye transfer is one of the oldest and most difficult of traditional color printing methods, and the materials needed are no longer being manufactured. Never common, dyes are getting to be quite rare and are usually very expensive. Ctein is one of the few remaining masters of the craft, and when he offered to make modest-sized examples available for an extremely reasonable price (basically, a price that would be reasonable for an inkjet print), the response was amazing.
We had anticipated that the 2008 sale could not be repeated, because it would deplete Ctein's supply of materials to too great a degree. Well, for various reasons, he ended up the whole process a few months later with more materials than he started with, thanks largely to some former dye printers who contacted him and offered him their remaining stocks.
So we're getting ready to do it again.
This time, however, the sale can't be open-ended. There will only be a limited number of prints available.
The announcement (with full details) will be made later this month. Stay tuned!
Mike*Phil hated that joke.