I Want To Be On Your Wall


We’ve just finished three weekends of Open Studios, one of the few opportunities where I get a chance to show framed prints of my work to the public. I’ve been doing Boulder Open Studios for nine years and this was my best year yet. I sold five framed prints. On total, it might cover my photography expenses for the year and maybe help me afford a new lens, but the experience of seeing my work on walls and seeing people’s reactions to it is irreplaceable.

I’m on Facebook where I have a Dan Baumbach Photography page. I’m on Instagram and I post on these sites almost every day. No amounts of “Likes” or “Loves” can compare to seeing someone appreciating your art on a wall and being taken in by it.

Times are changing and everyone is experiencing art on their phones and tablets. I have an iPhone and iPad—I’ve written software for them, but I produce art for walls, not screens.

I have a wonderful Epson 24” printer that a previous Open Studios helped me afford, but making prints is expensive, especially when you’re addicted to beautiful Hahnemühle papers; so I make very few prints unless they’re for an exhibition.

I’ve learned that no matter how good something looks on a large computer screen, it can look very different as a print. My monitor is calibrated as is my printer so I’m not talking about color changes. I’m talking about how different a printed image looks from a computer screen image.

Before an exhibit, I make 11×17 prints of every image I’m considering putting in the exhibit. Some of them will end up being matted and put in bins, but still it’s an expensive proposition.

I love large prints on walls—that’s why I take photographs. A good work of art on a wall gives something to the viewer. I hope my photographs may do the same for people.

There’s a wonderful American Masters profile on PBS of the painter Mark Rothko. I had the good luck of experiencing large Rothko paintings on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art when I lived in New York. His work pulls me in, quiets and expands me.

At the end of his life, Rothko got a commission to make a set of murals for a Rothko Chapel in Texas. The interior of the chapel is just large paintings, benches and zafus where people can sit and appreciate.

It’s probably a big ego trip, but if I have a fantasy…

~ by danbaumbach on November 1, 2019.

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