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.


Blacks Crossing said...

Lessons Learned were great and I am very pleased you shared them with us and the world! First and foremost, congratulations on your success in the Immel² Show on Saturday. I suspect you will sell more before the show is over. Both Fred and I are happy beyond words for your success! This is only the beginning of a summer of success, Amigo!

Steve Immel said...

A summer of success for you and Fred, too. I hope can break bread or share a glass very soon.