Sunday, May 30, 2021

Lessons Learned

Adobe at Ranchos Plaza. Sold two big ones of this beauty.

38 Ranchos Plaza. Yup, same edifice.

I told Peggy that I was so tired by Sunday afternoon that I was nauseous. I don’t know how long it’s been since that happened. Decades for sure.

Rio Grande January. This is my favorite. Peggy's fave is above.

The leaden fatigue stemmed from the most successful opening in my slow building photographic career. As I’ve written over past weeks, Peggy and I launched our fourth bi-annual two person show at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art on Saturday, May 29. And, as described, the hook of this particular show was that both of us would be working exclusively in squares, hence the too clever by half moniker Immel². It seemed like a thin premise from the outset of our endeavor. But something happened on the way to oblivion. 

Walking Rain. Another big one.

A huge Into the Clouds will adorn the dining room in Bill and Tracy's Austin home if it stands up to a billboard sized enlargement she wants. A medium sized print of this sold as well.

Fresh Oven Bread is now at home with Mark and Irene Goodman.

Puerta Turqueza joins Fresh Oven Bread at Casa Goodman.

Thursday night I couldn’t sleep. From 11pm to 3:00am I was agitated to the point of anger over the (dim) prospects for selling my work. I had no such concern for Peggy. Her work is stellar. She's on a roll. I, on the other hand, feel like a journeyman, a competent plugger. In one of our earlier duets, I enjoyed exactly zero sales. That’s not a track record that inspires high hopes.

Because of COVID Rob Nightingale staged our opening from noon to 7pm. In a normal year it would have been 5-7 which concentrates the action. Seven hours mitigated for a trickle of traffic in the early going and some bustle from 4 onward.

Because Peggy had a voracious collector already queued up, she had half a dozen red dots on the wall the day before the opening. Buyers like bulls are attracted to red, and her onslaught of sales ensued. I didn’t have a sale till mid-afternoon. It wasn’t laudable, but it kept me from hari-kari.

Prompted perhaps by a first red dot next to an 8”x8” image called Into the Clouds, the sky brightened and a chorus of angels sang. By 6pm I’d sold eight prints and I’ve never sold more than four in a show.

What, you ask, are the reasons for this mysterious reversal of fortune? Frankly, Frank, it’s three things.

One, because I hadn’t made a square photograph since 1949, I had to scour the archives for stand-out horizontal images that could be rendered as squares. I have made the occasional winner in the six million images I’ve produced over the last 20 years I was able to package 18 worthy squares. So, reason one is that I could pick and choose the best out of a ton of possibles.

Reason two is simply the square format itself. We contended in our press materials that squares are more contemporary and more intimate. In the early going that was “dazzle them with bullshit” but by the end of day one it was reality. Who knew we were so prescient?

And finally, white frames. I am dazzled by a simple presentation that focusses the viewer’s full attention on the photograph on the damn image not the periphery. That’s reason three. I’m convinced I’m on to something here.

Selecting your best stuff. That’s clearly number one.

It's hip to be square.

And white frames rock.

And finally heartfelt thanks to all the folks who braved the Memorial Day hordes that descended on Taos. Thanks to you buyers out there. You know who you are.

And special thanks to Bill Roquemore and Tracy Wallingford-Roquemore who flew in from Austin to be part of the festivities. It was a total surprise to see them ambling toward the gallery early Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the first kindness Bill has shown me. Back in 2006 he flew in for my ever show in Santa Fe. I had the misfortune scheduling my inaugural ball for Indian Market Weekend. Nobody else showed up but Bill.

And this year he did it on his Birthday. That's a tried and true friend.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Two for the show

Adobe at Ranchos Plaza, 15"x15" on 24"x24" rag paper.

Cruz Blanca, 15"x15" image in 24"x24" rag paper

Here’s a preview of the upcoming two person show with Peggy Immel. The opening will be from noon to 7pm Saturday May 29 at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art in Taos. It’s our fourth bi-annual show. It will run through Sunday, June 20.

The process of selecting images and configuring the strongest possible show is both exhausting and instructive. It forces a person to consider hundreds of photographs while asking, “Which ones are best?” Followed by, “Which ones work best together as a cohesive package”? 

Because a criterion of Immel² New Perspectives is that every artwork must be in the square format, there’s another layer of complexity.  Having photographed exclusively in the classic digital 3x2 aspect ratio since 2002 it meant assessing each potential image to decide if it could be successfully cropped from a horizontal to a square. That flies in the face of almost 20 years of seeing every subject in horizontal terms. I have proudly declared that I always compose in the viewfinder and print full frame. It's right there in my artist statement. So, cropping every photograph in this show has been a major departure philosophically and aesthetically.  Intensive therapy helped. After going through process of selecting and cropping 19 photographs I’ve concluded that the adventure was worth it and that maybe just maybe I should become less rigid in my golden years. Only time and experimentation with other aspect ratios will tell. I still revel in the discipline of composing in the viewfinder. Its' been a point of pride to render a subject just the way I saw it.

When I start assembling a show I choose the biggest pieces and work down. Typically, the larger anchor pieces are the ones that I think are the most impressive and, by implication, have the best chance of selling. In this case two of the four 15”x15” images on 24”x24” paper are already proven sellers in the horizontal format. And one of them, Adobe at Ranchos Plaza, was included in our Show Preview article in the May issue of Southwest Art magazine. And it was in our ad in the same magazine. So, it had to be in the show.

Book Cliffs

Puerta Turqueza

Here lies Bernardo Salazar

The meat of the show are the medium size prints shown above. There are nine of these 8”x8” images on 12”x12” paper.

Butternut Squash


The final component are the ones I call “little jewels.” These are images that lend themselves to small presentations and hew toward still lifes. I have a great affinity for these compact numbers. They are 4"x4" on 8"x8" paper.

From the outset if this project I’ve believed the square presentation to be a more modern than the horizontal one I’ve favored for more than fifty years. Now that I see the 19 framed photographs as a package, I think I was right.

Please visit, click on Events to see Rob’s Immel² New Perspectives. Then click on Artists and scroll down to Immel² New Perspectives. Click there to see all the paintings and photographs in the show.

For a more personal look please visit Peggy and me at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art from noon to 7pm, Saturday, May 29. We’ll be there the whole time and Peggy will be demonstrating from 1pm to 4pm.

See you there.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

America the Beautiful

Adobe at Ranchos Plaza, Ranchos de Taos, NM

Blanket of Snow, Ranchos de Taos, NM

Harjula's, Thomaston, ME

On May 29, the same day as the opening of Immel² New Perspectives at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, the virtual show America the Beautiful opens, as well. Peggy and I are proud to be included in Mary Williams Fine Art's online exhibition. It’s massive in scale, features some of the country’s foremost artists and 20% of the proceeds will be contributed to Feeding America. Both the artist and Mary Williams Fine Art will donate 10% of their sales to this worthy charity.

Book Cliffs, Grand Junction, CO

Presbyterian Church, Taiban, NM

Sagrado Corazon, PeƱasco, NM

Standard Station, Rice, CA

America the Beautiful started with a question, “What could the gallery do to promote, through the beauty of fine art, the profound wonder of America?”

Yacht Club, Salton Sea CA

Wagon Ruts, Clines Corner, NM

Walking Rain, Navajo Nation, AZ

The answer Mary Q. Williams concluded was to build a show that honors our country through artworks from all 50 states by artists from all 50. She writes, “I am very serious about making this successful on a national, as well a charitable level.” 

As you peruse the scope of the show, I hope you’ll find an art piece that touches you, that will grace your home or workplace and that will help Feeding America continue its important work.

Feeding America supports 200 food banks and 60,000 local food pantries. It’s the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. For more than forty years it has responded to the needs of people struggling with food insecurity. Feeding America’s goal is to win the fight against hunger in America.

Did you know that more than 40 million Americans including 13 million children face hunger every day? No community is spared by this tragic reality in wealthiest nation on earth. You can help Feeding America in its quest to feed hungry Americans by buying an art piece from American the Beautiful. I can’t think of anything more worthwhile and rewarding.

To learn more, click on:

Mary has kindly accepted all ten of my photographs. I usually limit the number of images in a blog post to six, but this time here’s a preview of all ten. 

Thanks for exploring America the Beautiful. I hope you find a painting, sculpture, or a photograph you love. It’s a purchase you can feel good about. 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

New Perspectives at Wilder Nightingale

Mark your calendars! On Saturday, May 29 our fourth biannual show, Immel² New Perspectives, opens at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art in Taos. Here's the Show Preview written by Southwest Art Magazine's Senior Editor, Allison Malafronte. We thank Alison for the thoughtful interview and article. Look for it in the May issue of Southwest Art which is on newsstands now. 
I encourage you to click on the first page just below. That will reveal the text full size which will be easier to read.


Opening, Saturday May 29, 2021 from Noon to 7
and running through Sunday, June 20.

We hope to see you there.

To learn more contact me at

Sunday, May 02, 2021

The Sunny Side of the Street

Waiting for the bus to Monterrico from Antigua

The Kissing Alley, Guanajuato, Guatemala

After examining the ethics of photographing people on the margins of society two weeks ago I have selected a few images of a happier persuasion. Cheerful stories are no less important than the images of destitution that appeared in the April 18th edition. Yet they don’t pack the emotional wallop. And they seem less of an intrusion somehow. We can share cheery moments in time without regret or embarrassment. So, have a blast. Candid street photographs of the joy in everyday life speak of the human condition as eloquently as darker ones that reveal misery and hopelessness.

Payent, Avignon

Connected in Marseille

Gallic nose, Marseille

Traje de Gitana, Flamenco dress, Sevilla

Whether photographing the down and out or a loving couple in The Kissing Alley, I’m squarely from school of anonymity. It’s the only way to avoid influencing the scene. Sometimes even a stealthy shooter gets caught in the act. A matron in her fitted traje de gitana struck a flamenco pose when she saw me photographing from a Seville sidewalk.