Last winter my New Year's Resolution was to start a photograph collection—just start one—and the enterprise has gone somewhat better than expected. I have acquired some fifteen prints, and so far framed four of them, with several more in the queue for framing.
Many of the prints are pictures I originally featured on TOP, or that I found through TOP. To begin with I bought this print from Cosmin Bumbut in Romania (it took a while to track him down), which I had beautifully framed with an antique-looking beaded molding. Hanging in a place where I see it every day.
I traded Peter Turnley some prints for his workshop advertisement (in the left-hand sidebar), and thereby acquired several, including a beautiful Voja Mitrovic print of this picture. By the way, I don't know if you actually see the site (many people now read TOP through feeds), but there's a new ad under the Pentax ad at the top left—Peter's having his usual annual Holiday sale and offering all of the prints in his portfolio for not very much more than our Print Offer prints cost. So if you were one of the people who liked pictures of his we didn't offer—like the dude in wheelbarrow and the black cat—step right up.
Recently I discovered Laurent Gloaguen's Galerie du Cabestan in Montréal, thanks to a comment left by Ed Hawco. I featured one of his maritime reprints from old negatives in a "Random Excellence" post. My post led to a number of sales for Laurent, so he sent me a print of "Catboat Mary" as a thank-you. Laurent's work is very much in the spirit of TOP's own print offers—very high quality for very modest prices. I don't quite know how he can offer such beautiful prints, matted, carefully annotated, and beautifully packaged, for the prices he charges. Quite remarkable bargains. Anyway, I very much love his platinum "Catboat Mary," from a negative by John S. Johnston (no relation, except that we both probably have ancestors who hailed from the same patch of Scottish ground), which could almost have been taken on the lake where I grew up spending the summers.
From Mosaic Records I bought a modern open-edition inkjet print of this Francis Wolff picture of Sonny Clark. (I bought it before the price went up.) Not a collectable, really; like the Catboat picture, it just has the status of a modern reproduction. I'm a bit of a Sonny Clark nut. I love his the contrast between his plainspoken utter lack of flourish and his deep musical sophistication; I could listen to the guy comp. I do, actually—I collect recordings on which he was a sideman (the Wikipedia discography is by no means exhaustive—he played on Blue Serge, for Pete's sake). Unfortunately the print is not great—too light (often the hallmark of the inexperienced printer) and the tone in the piano keys is not held. I don't think I'll frame it because I'm not sure I can live with the print quality.
And what arrived in the mail the other day to my surprise but a very nicely-done inkjet print of this 1976 locomotive shot by Marcelo Guarini (the one in the Featured Comment of that post, naturally). He notes that it was taken at a very slow shutter speed, and so isn't completely sharp, and that what appear to be lighter streaks against the smoke was in fact heavy rain. A successful print regardless, and as usual I like the TOP connection.
Also just recently, I was especially pleased to finally consummate a long-discussed deal with Diane Bush for a print of this wonderful portrait of Milton Rogovin. Diane couldn't find the negative, but she eventually found a vintage print—one of two signed to her by Milton. The print arrived just the other day, in the most extravagant packing ever. It's just lovely, and I will treasure it.
She sold the print to me for $100, but I felt it was worth more so I sent her an extra $150. (It's worth more than that, too, but that's better than $100.) I think that makes it the most expensive print I've acquired so far. I like vintage 35mm work, and I do like pictures of photographers.
Diane will be having a show soon in the Las Vegas area called "True Brits." I wish I could see that.
Those aren't all fifteen, of course. For one thing—which I'm not overlooking—several readers also sent very nice prints as gifts, which was extremely kind.
But that gives you a taste.
And by the way, I think this is the first time I've ever truly kept a New Year's Resolution all through the year!
P.S. I haven't forgotten about Part II of the Kindle post, either. I just haven't written it yet.
"Open Mike" is a series of personal, off-topic, or light posts that appear only, but not always, on Sundays.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.