Boarding my flight for Santa Fe, I wasn't clear on what I'd be learning or who I'd be meeting. All I knew was that my friend Richard had launched a new event called PhotoNexus and he invited me to attend. Loving his photography, his appreciation for curated gatherings and his little chihuahua 'Soco' was enough to get me on a plane and travel across the country for the weekend.
While I didn't fully know what to expect as I placed my GORUCK in the overhead bin, I knew that I'd be meeting people who loved photography. The list of instructors included one of Ansel Adam's assistants, a twenty-plus year National Geographic Photographer and a variety of gallery owners.
PhotoNexus will evolve from what it was this first year, but if I were to tell you now what it was, I'd say:
PhotoNexus is a gathering of photographers looking to learn more about the art of photography and the collectors of that art.
It was a small gathering on purpose. Like the salons of old where the teachers and the students all mixed and shared what they knew openly. We gathered in what use to be a chapel in our hotel and walked to galleries to learn from the owners and see their collections. When the learning was further away, we'd pile into cars and drive through the beautiful country of New Mexico.
For me, the visit to the Monroe Gallery of Photography was a personal highlight. They focus on photojournalism, and this is the type of art that has always spoken the strongest to me. Plus, being able to see the work of Ryan Vizzions hanging on the wall gave me an extra big smile.
We also were fortunate enough to spend time with David Michael Kennedy at his home studio and gallery. I appreciated his openness to share stories and knowledge with all of us. He has had one hell of a life as a photographer, and I could have spent the whole weekend being inspired by him. I made a promise to myself as we waved goodbye that someday I will hang one of his 'Sun ancer' prints on my wall.
Last year, I had a friend ask to buy a print of one of my photos, and I'll never forget her saying to me, "Don't give me the friend price. Give me the artist price." After giggling a bit, I remember that I had no idea what to charge her or what options there were for printing a photo.
Now, after spending time learning at PhotoNexus, my mind is full of new ideas and options for my photography. I felt empowered there to ask the silly questions around different papers, why photographers always sign their prints in pencil and how to determine what to charge.
Ever since first hearing about this event, I've been noodling on different ways to sell my art. The idea of setting up a vast store with tons of options sounded like a logistical nightmare to me. But, as I researched how other photographers were doing it, I quickly learned there is lots of experimentation going on.
Shortly I'll launch my first print for sale. There will also be a book of photographs. Both will be limited edition and more to test the waters to see if people will become patrons of my work on an ongoing basis or not. The most important thing to me is that I'm going to put the art out there for myself. To hang on my walls and to feel a sense of accomplishment that it'll be here after I'm gone.
I know from talking with Richard that PhotoNexus will return next year. It'll be interesting to see how it evolves and if it focuses more on the art collector or photographer side of the coin more. Either way, it was clear to me that he found an untapped market that is craving to learn more, so I'm confident it'll be a success.
PhotoNexus 2019 exposed me to the world of fine art photography and the possibilities this world opens up to me as an artist. I can't thank all the participants enough for sharing their love, knowledge, and art with me.