Archive for the 'incidental' Category

[UPDATED] Spending $15,000 at Adorama? Salesman: you’re “hardly worth it” and your “wife is a bitch.” Behind your back of course.

‍‍כ״ח שבט ה׳ תשע״ב - Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Update : having a very good exchange with Helen Oster of Adorama which I expected, given her deserved reputation for fast and attentive help. Will continue to provide relevant and continuing facts as best I can. Also wanted to add the following. Original post from 2/21 follows after.

[2/22/12 7pm]

I went back and forth about posting this. I could have written about the things that happened two months ago at that time. But once it went beyond me, I no longer felt “in person” conversations were sufficient. It also occurred to me that I had recommended Jimmy to others, in addition to pro/serious amateur/artist friends who drop serious money there, and I had an obligation to them, especially the first group.

I want to make it clear that I am writing about my experiences as factually as I can – while holding back names of people who have done nothing but be supportive – and on my own feelings. The one thing I won’t do is suggest a course of action for anyone. That includes both Adorama management and customers. While I really would like to recommend certain other salespeople there, I think it’s reckless because I haven’t worked with every person there, and others deserve chances. I wil make those recommendations, as I have in the past – because I do like to help those I think care and provide service – but only on a direct basis and not in “broadcast” form.

I went into the NYC store on 2/21, to mention the post to managerial staff and certain involved parties, to make sure they had a chance to deal with the situation or to object to any facts presented. Of course, they are dealing with the situation and have been in touch with me. I do not know what they are doing at this time; frankly, it’s an internal matter and I won’t offer an opinion. All businesses make missteps with customers, the point is to do right when they are in the wrong. I have a long history shopping at Adorama – some time ago I found a grey card I bought there in 1996 – and in the past, we have managed to solve any problematic issues. I am and remain a fan.

[2/21/12 4am]

You know, I spend a lot of money at Adorama.  I can wallpaper a room with my receipts.

Those receipts add up to a car, and not a cheap one.

I spend a good amount of time there and recommend the store to my personal students. With an exception or two, the sales people are nice, if varied in their level of techinical familiarity, and honest given their knowledge and the profit model of consumer electronics.  Unfortunately, this is about an exception.  One they are aware of and not dealing with.

So I write this story regretfully – it was going to be private initally, has been told in confidence to some of my friends, some of the highest-end, most accomplished photographers in the city, some with university teaching positions.  But since the story extends beyond me, since the conduct was observed by others at the store, done brazenly across the sales floor, I suppose there is no issue continuing the public trend.  Moreover, in this economy, captial expenditures are a major choice and a risk.  I think people should know whom they are dealing with, their character, when people make business choices that can make or break them.

One evening [EDIT: 8 Feb 2012, 6pm], a few weeks ago I had an issue with a used item I bought.  Mistakes happen, the rating system is more about cosmetics than function, I know this and life goes on.  I was standing at the used desk, chatting with Andy, who really is one of the nicest, fairest people you will meet.  He loves cameras as objects, as a craft, and has decades of experience to draw upon, and really works to treat people selling their camera equipment in the most honest fashion in the city – and I have dealt with just about everyone.  In any case, I moved on to looking at some used piece.   From across the floor, Jimmy Newmark, my former usual salesman, shouts out to Andy about pricing a Leica M9P and some lens, a $15,000 package.  Nothing unusal about that, except for decorum, perhaps.

Now, for the next five minutes, across the width of the floor, say 25 feet, a three, well, four way conversation is held.  Apparently, the guy was selling some equipment as well.  He was calling from his car and had his wife with him, but she was unhappy with the prices he was getting on his trade-in and was pushing for him to sell privately.  This continues for a bit and the call ends.  From his sales station, he recaps the situation as above, mentioning that he is a rich S-Y (Jewish slang for a Syrian Jew) and that he makes a fortune, real estate I believe it was, and that his wife was a pain.

A few minutes later, the call resumed, and some sort of deal is reached. Or it wasn’t. I stopped paying attention. Call ends.  Jimmy then left his station and came to talk loudly – standing next to me, initially – at Andy and other staff at the used desk.  I say “talking at,” because this wasn’t a conversation, it was a monologue, a rant. In short, he stated that the he’s a big guy, the guy drops $15K every year on a whim, but his wife is such a bitch, it’s not worth the hassle.  Nobody acknowledged him in any way; they just looked at him and walked off when he was done.

And it was a performance for my benefit.


mic check – 1/2 / 1 2 – is this thing on?

‍‍ח׳ טבת ה׳ תשע״ב - Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Hi everybody.

So last year, this site more than doubled in traffic. Not a bad result from flirting reluctantly with self promotion – handing out maybe 200 business cards since the end of October 2010. This year, goals are explicit, higher and pursued with intent. My public presence now includes:


  • This site with formal collections of finished artwork.  The visual component will be fairly static.   Text, in the form of blog posts and information pages, will be frequent and more importantly, useful.  Expect equipment and technique reviews from my unique standpoint, and I plan to add a good bibliography in the next few days.
  • My new, public Facebook page will have my most up to date work, often in a raw, lightly edited state.  What was once accessible to a select group of artists and friends will be public.  Please hit “like” and “share” it with your friends, too.
  • My work will be represented on one more site, but that’s a bit down the line and somewhat hush hush.
  • My twitter feed collects much of the above and serves as an overall RSS feed.  I still need to figure out a proper flow for these microblog links – I want to inform, not spam.  It should be manageable, but if you find a flood, let me know.


And that pretty much covers the online stuff only.  Other things are in the works – and that doesn’t include the real work : the art.

2011 was a mixed bag – everything about it could be described as half-hearted – and yet, still a success.  Let’s see what happens with some intent behind it.

19 in 19 at Curate NYC

‍‍י״ט כסלו ה׳ תשע״ב - Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Well, I’ll admit I like this one:  Laurie Ann Farrell, Executive Director of Exhibitions at SCAD put Two by Four in her 19 piece online exhibit drawn from the 1,552 (according to the site artist entries). In general, I find the individual curation to be far better than the jury panel. I do think that the selections need to be blind. I thought that last year, and I think it remains an issue, though it would be problematic as the impetus of the project is to garner attention to less known NYC artists. I’m sure something can be worked out.

However, my 2nd selection aside, I couldn’t really bear using such an old piece – I’ve gotten better since the age of 19, but I had my reasons for doing what I did. Since the judging and additional curating is done, I uploaded what was going to be my submission for this year to my profile; Quiptych. It also forms the centerpiece of my “cohesive” printed art portfolio, arrange just so to use the problem of vertical pieces in an horziontal presentation book to my advantage.

Now, finally, to get some real writing done.

Curate NYC take two

‍‍ט״ו כסלו ה׳ תשע״ב - Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Well, I didn’t place in the top 150 this year, but apparently a couple of days ago, one of the art galleries, this one specializing in photography, put me in their online exhibit of some 30 pieces.  I’ll continue to sound skeptical and dismissive about, well, everything, but I really, honestly do appreciate the appreciation.

To be accurate, they put a 19 year old me in their collection.  It’s particularly nice to be in a set with my buddy Russell Frederick. I had little expectation for a 14 year old piece to be selected in an emerging art competition in 2011, but there you go.  True, to me it’s like the film just came back from the developer – yeah, I made some 5×7 prints a decade ago, but I never really worked the negative.  It really is best described as 1997/2011.

Now, with that in mind, I’m not strongly attached to this piece.  So lets toss it aside – it was made 14 years ago; my ego isn’t attached to it – if it were, I’d have to think I hadn’t gotten any better since.  What’s nice about this collection is that while I don’t like every piece, they are photographer’s photographers: I don’t know most of these people’s work,  but I’d recognize them as photographers and not the crap that floats to the top.  I’m glad a few – and only a few – of these people made it into the top 150, because on the whole, the photography selections were terrible.  I could go point by point, case by case, but I don’t think I can bring myself to do it.  I did walk a dear friend through the postcard display at Rush Gallery this past week and explained either in terms of composition, last year’s selections, historical pieces, and to a lesser (if any) degree, technique.  (That last point may be shocking to those who think me as “technical.”  For another post.)  I swear I used several of the selections as examples to teach people what not to do.  This also applies to many of the online curators/live shows.  Whatever.  I hope some of the selectees make good in the market so I can critique the pieces as they deserve.

Anyway, congrats to 19 year old Adam, you don’t suck as much as I thought.

One more found one more to write about

‍‍י״א כסלו ה׳ תשע״ב - Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Finally scored a Fuji GL690.  I really like 6×9.  Of course, this means I have to add another to my list of – erm, not reviews – usage notes (?) to write.  Next up, Mamiya Universal.  Which is a 6×9.  Or a 3×4.  Or pretty much whatever you want.  It’s Universal.

the hole that keeps giving. hopefully, kept.

‍‍כ״ט חשון ה׳ תשע״ב - Friday, November 25th, 2011

Well, the zenphoto hole affected the whole site. But after parsing just about every script on the site and putting in new .htaccess files, I think I’m clean and I can’t find any ill effects. That was really annoying and very badly timed for me. In fact, the time I was going to spend on moving to integrate the galleries into WordPress was spent on that; but I think I can get that done this weekend.