SEAF was fun this year as usual. I had one picture make it into the juried show, and I sold several refridgerator magnets in the SEAF store. The judges this year were far more “art-y”, as they were completely from the art community and none from the sex-positive community. That made the show more exclusive (only 100 pieces made it into the show, out of thousands submitted), and it also made it a little more bland, in my opinion. It was missing the quirkiness and offbeat humor of previous years.
Three years ago was the first time I submitted anything to the show, and I didn’t get anything accepted. They did give me a free pass to the show, just for sending a submission, so I went and checked it out to see what was different about my photos from the things that made it into the show. After spending several hours there, I concluded that the main difference didn’t have anything to do with composition or the technical aspects of the photography. Pretty consistently, the photos in the show had a story to tell, and I’ve decided since that that is probably the key to good photos. You catch an instant that tells a whole story, more or less. Sometimes the plot is only very subtly suggested and leaves the viewer to do a lot of guessing, but it at least inspires the viewer to wonder. I used that theory for the last two years, and have had things in the show both years. (If you’re curious to see the pictures, drop me a line. They aren’t appropriate for public broadcast, but I think they’re quite good.) So I feel like I’ve mastered that step, and I’m ready for the next level, which is to get someone to buy them once they are hanging on the wall at the show.
This year I spent my time walking around trying to get a sense of which pictures sold and which ones didn’t. There were a lot of works that were really inspired pieces of art, but that I just couldn’t imagine anyone hanging on their walls. Those didn’t sell. So it’s gotta be just this side of the line of appropriate. We’re dealing with a subculture where that line is a lot further out there than mainstream culture, but there’s a line nonetheless. I also talked with a few people, and noticed a few things. People who buy erotic art are overwhelmingly men. There are women also of course, but mostly gay men and straight men. That means that there is very little lesbian art in this show. I’m not sure if it makes sense to try to step into that micro-niche that no one is filling, or if it makes sense to try to reach the wider audience and focus on the male market. I think that the ethically correct answer is different than the answer that makes money, but I’m still pondering that.
One woman I talked with mentioned that she was looking specifically for pictures that showed some sort of relationship between people. She was dissapointed that the majority of the pictures had only one person in them, and usually only a small part of the one person. Again, I’m not sure which way to go with this information, but I’m storing it in the hopes that it will fit in eventually.
And Allena added that the subjects of the pictures that sell are usually somewhat anonymous. They are torso shots, or the face is in shadow or behind a mask or something. Part of what was so appealing, artistically, about my entry this year was the direct eye contact with the camera. That makes it good art, but it makes it less marketable.
I sold several magnets, or two different images. Both images were anonymous subjects, with two people showing a clear relationship, both subjects were women (therefore appealling to the straight men and gay women), and (an important note) they were priced cheaper than any other artists’ magnets. I had marked them with a profit of about 200%, so it worked out well that all the other artists were even more greedy than me.
Preston, Sarah, Eric, and I went to the opening night. Eric took this picture after we got all dressed up at Sarah’s apartment.