In 1999, after twelve years as president of Hasselblad USA I left the company to become President of an Internet community and photography retail site, PhotoAlley.com. With equity in the company, this was going to be my ticket to living on my own tropical island. However, when the Internet imploded in 2001, I was lucky to have enough for a small glass of tropical punch.
Before going out of business, PhotoAlley had incredible traffic. The concept was all based on building a community, anchored in photographic education, with an online camera store. The Internet was exploding and I wanted to do something new. I decided to do an online auction as a fund-raiser for charity. I called John Sexton, who was on our advisory board, and he was kind enough to donate the print above for the auction.
Sixteen years ago an online auction was a relatively new concept. The bids started climbing and in a very short amount time we were at $850! I was ecstatic this first auction would get that kind of response. It meant we had collectors in our audience who knew the value of a John Sexton print. That also said to me they knew the value if I let them steal it at $850. I put in my own bid under an alias name at $900. I was determined to get our bidder to at least $1000.
Well, here's a Throwback Thursday lesson going back to an expression everyone's grandparents have shared - "One in the hand is worth two in the bush!" My buyer walked away at the $900 bid, and I wound up buying the print myself for charity. When somebody in the company asked about how the auction went, the embarrassment alone was enough for me to never forget that lesson from my grandparents so many years earlier.
Which brings me to a fun close on this Throwback Thursday. In looking for the Anasazi print above on John's website I came across the perfect holiday gift for so many of you, even if it's just a gift you're giving yourself!
On John's website he's offering a December holiday special print of "Trees in Snow." The discount is substantial, especially when you consider the value of a numbered limited edition print and the price going up as less copies become available. The description of the value/sale is:
"This 11x14" silver gelatin print is offered in a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered prints, plus ten Artist's Proofs. When the edition is sold out no further prints will be made for sale in any size. Though my open edition 11x14" prints have a retail price in galleries of $1,000, the special introductory price for this Darkroom Edition limited edition print is $800 – a 20% discount. After December 31, 2016 the retail for any remaining unsold prints will increase to $2,000, and will escalate as the edition sells.
If you're a collector or interested in helping somebody else get started with their collection, this is an outstanding opportunity. Just click on either of John's images in this post to connect to the Ventana Editions online store.
In the mean time, I'm wishing all of you the perfect Throwback Thursday. Take the time to find an old image or two and then cherish the backstory that goes with it. Even better, use the story on your blog to remind your target audience of the value of photography!
Happy Throwback Thursday!