The story of a print

Pinhook, Durham NC, 09/17/11, originally uploaded by Ash Crowe.

I picked up a camera and started taking it to shows after a particularly bad patch when I was struggling to find my way back, when I needed something to do with my hands.

And I kept shooting and shooting and becoming a photographer, and I kept going to shows. Somewhere in there I moved to Baltimore, went to lots of great shows in B.more and DC (but never connected to the scene), moved back to Durham and found a personal and artistic home.

As a photographer, I’ve been taken advantage of, I’ve made a little money, and I’ve seen such outstanding social and business kindness that it far outweighs the bad. And through it all it has been important for me to remember both why I picked up the camera in the first place and to remember the value of that kindness. Now that this photography business of mine looks more and more like an actual business by the week it is increasingly important that I remember.

And that’s where the print in this photo comes in. Back in March, I shot Xray Eyeballs at Pinhook and made that shot. The next morning I posted links to facebook & twitter of the photo set with @ links, as usual. Whoever was on the Pinhook twitter that day, saw the photos and pulled out that one photo and linked to it as an awesome photo. Now, I’m not naive, I completely see the value Pinhook gets from retweeting my photos. But they always, always go about it with such a grateful kindness. And from that retweet, Amplified Art saw the photo, started looking at my work and from there, got in touch with me about the show I did there back in June.

When it came time to pick photos for the Amplified Art show, of course the photo that got me the show went in. Having that show was one of the big reasons I was able to get a photo pass to Hopscotch. That one little retweet has been parlayed into this beautiful chain of increased aclaim and actual paying business for me. And earlier this month, it was my honor to pull the print from the gallery and give it Pinhook as a gift.

It’s there hanging above the water cooler, and every time I see it I smile. I don’t know if anyone from Pinhook sees anything in the photo other than “awesome photo that was taken in this bar” but everytime I’m in there, it catches my eye. It reminds me that this whole community is really art and business but that when it is done right, it is truly a parlay bet: that we all build and grow and profit together; that it works best with business kindness.

It’s a good reminder as my models and my business shifts and grows, as important of a reminder as the firm weight of a camera in my hand which reminds me why I picked up a camera at a show for the first time.


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