I have seen the future and it is out of focus . . .

I have already told you that I was at the Philadelphia Folk Festival a few weeks ago. It was nice to be back in that area and Cinda and I took the tourist’s walk around the Liberty Bell and checked out the Constitution (the document, not the ship . . . which is in Boston anyway).

I price my photographs in the $450.00 range when I sell directly. I have a few galleries that sell my work at $800-900 but they take 50% so I’m right back where I started.

I had a lot of people check out my work at the festival and I chose a lot of older images because the Philly crowd is older and knows their stuff. I brought a lot of John Hurt, Doc Watson, Mike Seeger and other work from the Sixties.

So a guy checks my stuff out and then says, “You won’t sell anything because there’s a booth where amateurs offer their work for next to nothing.

Well, I have to check this out so I go hunting for this booth.

I found an aisle with photographs laid out on tables on both sides. They range from 8X10 all the way up to 18X24 in size. It’s stuff shot by people in the audience and they are thrilled to have their work put in front of the public.

I see a large Jackson Browne from many years ago. Pretty nice. It is $25.00. I see some very lousy Buddy Guy that is out of focus. That one is $20.00.

Uh oh . . . I see a shot of David Amran playing the penny whistle for $15.00. It is not a great shot but my wife really likes David and for fifteen bucks, she’d be thrilled.

So this is what photography has come to. No one really cares that my photographs are created from the original negative by hand in a real darkroom with enlarger, trays, and dryer. It does not matter that this Bob Dylan image was shot in 1963 and is unpublished.

I have a Grace Potter that I took last year that is heavenly, truly one of my nicest and I’m very proud of it. But I took it while I was in the middle of a pack of cell phones brazing away. Can I sell my Grace Potter? Not likely . . .

So my future in photography is not Grace Potter or John Mayer or The Flaming Lips or Carolina Chocolate Drops, all of whom I have photographed with fine results.

I am completely unnecessary in these times because everybody is a photographer. All it takes is sticking your phone into the air, clicking away and then sending it off with the words, “Look where I am!”

Well, all things take in balance, I guess that I wouldn’t change anything. Grace Potter is no Janis Jopin and Beyonce is no Etta James, regardless of what the movie might tell us.

I’ll keep getting the documentaries and people who want the images from bygone days.

A woman called and asked if I had early Buddy Guy with Eric Clapton from the Sixties because Buddy is getting the Kennedy Center Award and they needed it to make a short film for television.

I told her that I had exactly what she needed . . . and a lot of it.

Thanks, she said . . . it’s getting hard to locate that early work.

My pleasure . . .

(My wife loves the David Amran . . . )

    One Response to “I have seen the future and it is out of focus . . .”

    1. Greg Tornquist says:


      I’ve purchased from you at your home a couple of times and have given your photos ( couple of Mick’s harp lesson … Bonnie and BB … )
      and think I understand. The democratic thing has happened to music as well with everyone with a computer having a studio. Oy!
      But the coolest thing about what you wrote is your love for Cinda and how you two love each other.
      You two are inspiring to those of us who haven’t been so fortunate in love.
      Looking forward to buying more on my next trip to Oxford.
      Bless you both!