I’ve been doing a spring house cleaning.  Trying to give myself as much room as possible.  It’s not exactly rational – more like the salmon taking their last trip  upriver.

Anyway – the big thing was to get up to the loft and start cleaning that out.  What I found there – crazy.  It hadn’t been dusted in ten plus years and it was the cat’s home for at least 7 years.

There are many darkroom prints that I thought would one day be valuable.  But their time hasn’t come yet.  And no – they aren’t better than what I’m printing now.  Many are worse.

It was like going back through my sordid history:  there was the folding table that I used when I sold prints in front of the Metropolitan Museum, along with all the other crap I would drag over there early in the morning.   Out all that crap  goes.  What a miserable way to try and make a living that was.  Of course, when you’re desperate, you do whatever you can.  I remember my first day out there – feeling low to be selling on the street when my sister and her friend stopped by to pretend to buy something.  They made me feel even worse.

I remember days when nothing would sell.  I’d be out there before dawn (first come first with the best spot) – and the entire day would go by – without a sale.  I remember that the guy that did the best did the Chinese- or maybe it was Japanese- script for the tourists.  And it was all for the tourists.  And they all wanted the same thing at the cheapest price.  I learned a few things, I guess – but I don’t like to remember those days.

For example, the law was (and as far as I know still is) that you had to be the creator of the art to sell it.  That was and is a laugh.  Most of the pictures were stolen (scanned) from books of other photographers, and reprinted on cheap paper with cheap frames and managed by the Chinese, or in some cases the Russians.  It was all a racket.

I did deeper.

Here an old Epson printer box which rattles when you shake it.  I had taken the trouble to label it: Darkroom Things.  There were reels, and probably tanks in it.  Out out out.  I didn’t even open it.  I didn’t try to donate to anyone that wants to learn chemical photography.  Out.

And then – there were the small gift boxes.  Tons of them.  From the time I was going to make my money selling gift cards.  Out, out, out.

There was a scsi card?  Remember them?  And a Jazz drive?  Out.  And what’s this – an ancient Thinkpad laptop that I bought used a few years ago after it was already a few years old.  In the big black garbage bag and out it goes.

With all the cleaning – I’ve made the cat very happy because all that is left is one carton that I’ve made esp. for him, and he just loves because it’s just the right height for him to either curl up in it unseen, or look out over the edge and watch me.

I suppose this all has something to do with my getting ready to travel – but so far I haven’t made much progress there.  My bags are packed.  I’m ready to go.  I’m standing here.  All alone…

But it won’t be a jet plane.  It’ll be a low-budget, compact rental.  The only thing is – you folks are still sending in orders, and one of them if for a negative and I can’t find the damned thing.  That’s the worst.  Alright – I took a break while the 7800 was doing it’s big print and it’s done and now I’ve got to go through some stacks of negs.  I haven’t had to do that for a long time and forgot how annoying it is.  But someone bought a print that I’ve never sold – and it was a color negative that I’d turned to b&w, and I think I left it with some of the color negs in the closet… I hope that’s where it is…

Oh, the one thing I did keep was the carrying case from the ancient thinkpad – that fits this laptop perfectly…


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

14 thoughts on “Cleanup”

  1. I was doing some research and found this on the Epson website and there is a stimulus promotion for $4,000 cash back on the 11880. $10,000 plus is nothing for a printer after a 4,000 rebate… Epson must be getting desperate.

  2. Dave, just come over here, The Netherlands and we can go anywhere you like, Belgium, France, Scotland, Norway, Germany,….. 🙂

    I was inspired with your cleaning, like I was many times by you, so I hope to have more room and clean space soon.

    Enjoy your day!

  3. I’ve been to Belgium and France – but I’d love to visit Scotland, or Norway… or anywhere if I can get out of this stupid apartment…

    I guess at some point I can put up a sign saying “PHOTO SHOP CLOSED FOR TWO WEEKS”, but I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, that I’m afraid to kill the business. And it will probably die off on its own soon anyway – and then I’ll be free.

  4. Matt – sure. He won’t get into a box or a carrying case, so the main thing would be how to get him over to you. Anyway – I’ll keep you in mind – I’m sure you’d both enjoy each other. Remember – he only drinks from the faucet.

    Lester – no one will give me permission to shoot anything. What I really wanted was to do Hart Island (the paupers grave for NYC) – but the last I heard it was under the supervision of the NYC Dept. of Corrections and they don’t let anyone but convicts from Rikers island out there.

  5. Thanks Annmarie. Yep, I tried one of those fountains a few years ago, but he wouldn’t drink from it.

    A little Buddy background: Before I got him, three or four other people had taken him from the ASPCA and they all returned him. Then my sister had him, and was going to return him because he kept everyone in the household awake all night and scratched her kid.

    He was such a scrawny little cat back then – and I just instantly fell in love with him. He was such a character. Anyway – someone who had a similar cat told me about the faucet thing – and sure enough – from the time I let him drink from the faucet – he settled down, began to eat more, and became a normal cat. So he must’ve been thirsty all that time.

    But I think I’ll give the fountain a second try. He’s really not as finicky now as he used to be. Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Hi Dave, I don’t think a 2 week break will kill the business – unless you want it to…. You have a laptop, IN access etc. Nobody need know you are away – all you need to do is print like dickens when you get back!

  7. two weeks only?
    you have plans to go over so far and only for two weeks? Make that a month and as Sinuhe mentioned you do travel reports on your blog and that can be even more entertaining for web travelers.

  8. Your welcome. I don’t know where you’re planning on traveling to, but can I make a suggestion? Syracuse, New York is amazing. I spent a weekend there looking at a school with someone, and was in awe of it. The architecture is beautiful, and they have this amazing camera store that’s been there for over a hundred years that’s worth stopping at if you’re in the area. One of the things that made it so amazing was after driving so long through nothing but country, all of a sudden the city of Syracuse just jumps out of nowhere and surprises you. Definitely worth a trip, and it’s a much shorter car ride for you than it was for me!

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