A Dealer's Perspective

Some Humorous Memories

There are many amusing memories I have from running the gallery over the years. I think you will enjoy reading some of them.

Time Traveler: Back in the seventies, a young street person used to come in on occasion and pull a wadded up Polaroid print out of his pocket. Each print he showed me was an out-of-focus blurry mixture of colors. He claimed to be a nuclear physicist and time traveler. He always said (with complete seriousness and conviction) that he took the photograph in the future!

Names: Two photographers with fun names have dropped by the gallery a couple of times. One is a commercial photographer in, I think, California named F-Stop Fitzgerald. Another California photographer who came in several times is named Kris Kristofferson. He said he never has problems getting restaurant reservations. Then there's my favorite photographer name from the past, Angus McBean. One other item I remember from years ago was a bumper sticker on the back of a local commercial photographer's van, "Old photographers never die; their F stops."

Dennis Hopper: A few years ago, a local film festival arranged, through Movieline magazine, a show of movie star portraits. They were bringing Dennis Hopper to town and were holding a reception here. As soon as he arrived, my assistant, David Donovan, joked to him that he was "gallery security" (David is pretty big and looks the part, and Hopper is short). Hopper, taking him seriously, motioned to David to remain standing right next to him. David told me of this days later after I asked him why every photograph of the event showed him standing right next to Hopper!

Translation Mess: A few months ago, one of my photographers played a trick on me using one of those notorious translation programs, in this case being . Their translations are rather crude, and this photographer, who had a new e-mail address that I didn't recognize, pretended to be a photography collector from Brazil, writing me in Portuguese. Each successive time he would inquire about something, he would run the question back through the translator to further garble the letter. I would be trying translating to English on my end, and the messages made less and less sense over time. Although dealing with these Portuguese e-mails about drove me crazy, the photographer and I had a good laugh when he fessed up.

Performing the Heimlich: About once every six years or so I have a craving for a small bag of fried pork rinds. I don't know if this tacky treat is available in other parts of the country (or the world), but these thick potato chip-like pieces of fried fat are rather tasty. At any rate, years ago I was feasting on a bag while at the gallery. Wolfing them down, a small particle became lodged in my windpipe, and I couldn't inhale. I knew I needed the Heimlich maneuver. Just then, a young lady entered, and with difficulty I eked out the word Heimlich. Fortunately she wasn't the kind of people Jay Leno interviews on the street, and she knew immediately what I needed. Well, it worked, and all was fine, although she never set foot in the gallery again. I have since learned one can sit down and perform the Heimlich on oneself. I thus should be able to save myself future embarrassment and continue to sometimes gulp down pork rinds………….no, I don't think so!

Elvis's Ghost: Once a older man, dressed like Col. Sanders, came in with an enlarged color print of what he was convinced was Elvis' ghost! It was a picture he made of Graceland at night during celebrations of the tenth anniversary of the King's death. I had to tell him the "ghost" was a lens flare caused by the bright street light off to the edge of the image. Wow, was he indignant, storming out, refusing to believe me!

Another "Late" Departed: Many photography dealers will never forget the time the National Inquirer published an article that said, in effect, that "your old photographs could be worth a fortune!" I and other dealers around the country were suddenly inundated with calls and letters from the kinds of folks who read the Inquirer. One older fellow sent a crude missive saying he had an old photograph of "the late Abraham Lincoln!" (November 20, 1999)

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