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Tuesday, 30 June 2015


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It is just wonderful to see you so happy/enthusiastic/creative. Enjoy it and build on it.

The Olney Place? OMG, I hope you are not directly ON Rt 54. Look on Google maps, satellite view, about 2 houses North of there. Did a week's vacation there about 2 years ago. Bedrooms not more than 20-30 feet from the road. Tractor trailers at 2 AM sounded like they were coming through the house. I don't want to raise negatives, just hoping for the best for you.

Might you accept donations for your museum? I do believe I have a flash powder setup still. The one I (think I) have is the only one I've ever seen.

A few thoughts/questions re the gallery.
- Will it be for display, display with occasional sales (e.g. duplicate items), or a sales gallery? Very different operations.
- How much land do you have? Enough for the gallery, parking for visitors, etc.?
- Have you considered/estimated operating costs, from heat, electricity, building costs, and NY specialty, Taxes - Also make sure you want to stay at that address. Once you get a gallery going, moving it as well as your house could be a problem.
These will make a difference in what and how you do it. Good luck on your move.

As part of a "gallery", you could have a van transporting people to the Eastman Kodak House in Rochester.

...almost every photo museum show I see of an 'older' photographer always has a few cameras in it, or some sort of hardware...remember seeing Diana Arbus in San Francisco, and it had a few of her cameras and maybe even a darkroom set-up...seems like it'd be nice to have some place to go where you could see all that stuff under one roof...tour photographer to photographer...kind of like the Dia Institute buying up Marfa Texas to store installation art...

There are so many different kinds of geeks. I've long been a boring "spec" geek, the most common kind. When I was still in high school in the eighties I could tell you the weight, horsepower, torque and various qualities of pretty much every motorcycle made in the past ten years. These days I can't tell you the exact weight of my camera, by I can tell you how it compares to others on DXO, its relative dynamic range and other qualities, and like many spec geeks I can to it for most other cameras too. Oh well. I'm trying to get out of the habit, so I read TOP.

A museum sounds great, but there are considerations...zoning, parking, restrooms, handicap access, lots more insurance, security for the items displayed...to name a few.
Is there enough foot and/or car traffic to support such a thing or is it a build it and they will come strategy?

"The local summer grocery store near where my new house is ... is open from May 1 to October 31st"

That's not raising any red flags ? I suppose coming from Wisconsin, you'll be ready for anything.

Maybe your Museum of Photographic Curiosities would, in turn, be featured in a future book of roadside attractions. Which, of course, you could feature in the museum.

There are long thin kitchen cabinet lights using miniature fluorescent tubes, which can be hidden in the frames of display cabinets, if you are going to use them. They've been around for a while and I've installed a few in the said cabinets. Behind the wooden top front rail of a glass cabinet they are very difficult to see.

More recently, there are LED versions which seem to be even more easy to conceal, but I've not tried them.

As for the extinction meter, have it mounted facing a window on the North side of the building. The visitor applies the eye and selects the appropriate number or letter. Then they can look at either the meter body itself or a blown up photo of same, and read off the exposure for the view from the window at that moment. You could mount the meter in a perspex slab.

This assume you are happy for it to be used like that.

In fact, you could recruit volunteers from your readership - those who might want a week or so looking after a nice gallery.
I'd consider it!

Focus on what will sell best in your area, give you the most exposure, and price it so you don't go boke. Oh, that is just so bad :)

So... What was the enlarger that R. Frank printed 'The Americans' on?

[Not sure of the exact model, but it's an earlier Leitz, probably a Focomat I or a Valoy. --Mike]

Good luck Mike with the move,hope you got room for the pool table [oops shouldn't have mentioned that here]

This is a wonderful idea and with the publicity you can generate for it on your blog you could probably end up with something that is as successful as it is wonderful.
But you really have to ask yourself if you can devote enough time to creating this? I suspect not, on your own, but yes with a helper.
So this idea initially becomes a managerial problem. How to find, pay for, and train a suitable helper? Probably you need to start with a part-timer and you probably will both need to learn on the job. You will have the ideas and set the tasks and learn about delegating effectively by giving clear objectives (eg find out the costs of display cabinets for items like this, and come up with priced alternatives for me to consider: track down who has the Frank enlarger and set up a telephone conversation between me and them). Your assistant will need to gradually imbibe your vision and learn how to second-guess you, but the right person will do this in time.
Good luck - keep this idea on the boil.

Have you given thought to having your "Gallery" on the web as part of your site? That way, anyone could visit and look around. And, things you know of, but couldn't physically have, maybe could be acquired and presented by image only. Or, maybe the physical museum could be augmented by an "annex" where the unobtainable, yet important objects are. Just a thought.

I never knew why they called it the Finger Lakes region until I just looked up the Olney Place on Google maps. Looks like a great area. Good luck with everything.

Looks like you'd be serving wine in the Gallery. I would visit ;-)

"Deep Geek/ery"; did you coin the term? Love it. Definition please.

I second Steven, above. Get to know the local building and zoning authorities, and run everything by them before you start. Good luck!

Later, once you're established, for a fee (not sure what it is) you can join the Smithsonian Affiliates (https://affiliations.si.edu/). We loan selected collection objects to member museums around the country and world.

Oh, and look at this: theglen.com

Mike, If you exhibit photographs(or any art work), please use appropriate lighting.
A few years ago, our local billion-dollar museum had a big showing of hundreds of William Eggleston's dye transfer prints. They lit these prints---color photographs, in which the color matters---with dim, orange, approximately 1900ºK tungsten lamps. A travesty.

a bit of camera geekery, but you may already know of it. Fuji firmware BIG release:


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