Monday, May 3, 2010
"Urban Photo Park"
My wife and I live in the second story above the store. We have a large roof for a yard; with decks on the southside and a covered one off the back, that is our favorite. It faces west and affords amazing views of sunsets and thunderstorms. It also features the most urban view in town. There is every manner of brick, stone, fire escape, graffiti...all textured by the shapes of the many additions, over many years, to the backs of our neighboring buildings. We enjoy the view, and the relative peacefulness of it. (We don't even hear the garbage trucks at 6am anymore.)
Other people like our alley too. We've noticed for many years that it seems to be a requisite site for senior pictures, and in recent years it has become popular for all manner of photographic portraiture: newly engaged couples, people posing next to their new Harley, wedding pictures (sometimes featuring the limo as well), and my new favorite: the proud new parents with baby. We try not to gawk or laugh, but sometimes it's hard--we have a splendid view of most of the favorite spots. Sometimes it can be entertaining; will the dozen people in the wedding party all fit on that wooden stair case? What do you suppose the weight limit is? Sometimes they notice us and wave. This spring I thought I would take a picture of them once in awhile. I've posted a few here.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Blurry Eyed and Past the Quotation Quota
One of the many hats I wear here at Zandbroz is "Card Buyer". It's task I enjoy, but 21 years in there are challenges--like quotation burn out.
For starters, you should know that I buy most of my cards by working with a couple of super card reps. These folks specialize in representing small presses ranging from mom-and-pops to large European lines. These lines tend to be artist oriented (quite often artist owned and operated). This means an appointment usually lasts all day, and I mean a full EIGHT HOURS. In that time, I look at thousands of cards from a dozen or more companies. I usually look at them all, but very quickly; if the graphic on the front doesn't catch my eye, i'm on to the next.
The cards come in decks sorted by occasions and that's how you handle them: deftly, like a card dealer. There are other criteria considered after graphics like size and position; I rarely look long at a horizontal card because they waste space in card racks. Same with odd ball sizes--they don't fit well and can cost more to post. If the card passes these concerns I will look at the copy and sentiment or tone and, believe you me, that eliminates a majority of the rest. Some cards are old favorites that always sell and others are "been there done that" and thus sit on the racks forever. Like I said at the start, quotations are big in the card world. In more than two decades of buying cards it feels like you've seen the same gems (sparkling progressively less) over and over again...I won't even try to list the cliches. But to my continued delight and I hope to the delight of our card customers, there are always some new thoughtful, funny, unique or same-old-with-a-new-twist cards.
It used to be you had to be dead (or close to it) to be quoted, and now anything goes. Which brings me to the subject of humor, especially the tasteless variety. You would be amazed how many truly nasty cards are out there. I buy a few things that might not be some of my customers' cup of tea, but I know that many of you, like me, enjoy some of the edgier cards. There's lots of wonderfully creative work being done in the card world and that is surprising in these techno times. Sometimes I wonder how many of our cards are purchased to send (and how many of those actually get delivered) and how many are bought for the image.