Around the holidays in the past I've often run a dirt-bag special that suggested that I'd sell prints to people on a sliding scale, based on what they felt like they could pay. I felt good about that but I'm afraid many folks might not have felt comfortable negotiating with me for a lower price.
It occurred to me that maybe I should just have more faith in people. I want to try something different.
I'm going to reduce the price of all my prints in all my galleries to the cost of printing and shipping along without any profit for myself. My customers can supply my profit later by using paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing me a check.
PO Box 2184
Wawona, Ca 95389
They don't need a paypal account to send me cash.
My customers can supply the profit portion of my work once they have received their print and when they can afford to.
For folks who need a baseline to guage things with. I'm including a list of what my prices used to be Here. Use it if you need it but be aware, I expect people with little money to pay far less, and people who are blessed can pay more.
This does not mean I'm allowing people to print my images without some form of contribution. People who fail to donate at least $1 within a few weeks of receiving their prints may get an email making sure they understand the donation system (some folks may miss this page) Email me in advance if you need more time.
This is basically the model of shareware software.
I'm acting on faith here and won't allow businesses to order large numbers of prints for resale without contacting me first.
Why? Read on only if you're interested in Why...
Looking at the world and it's problems, it really seems to me that the Capitalist model needs to evolve from it's current expression for the sake of the planet.
The need for constant growth and expansion is unsustainable and can only lead to depletion of resources and pollution.
Corporations are soulless entities, legally required to maximize shareholder profit as the first priority. They can actually be sued if they make any meaningful sacrifices intended for the greater of mankind, except as publicity or charitable gestures.
The model of competition by all practical means concentrates more power with the powerful and creates a disincentive to consider the best interests of Community.
The Problem with positive change, of course, is that it inevitably seems to require people to sacrifice some of their wealth, power or comfort for the sake of others and for the future.
Naturally, everybody believes that sacrifice needs to start with somebody else.
I try to ask myself, particularly around the holidays, What big or small thing do I have to offer my community of humans? How can I Be the Change I would ask others to contemplate?
One of the things I do is landscape photography. Living in Yosemite affords me beautiful vistas that I can capture at their best.
My main reservation is that making art affordable to all according to their means will further undercut the livelihood of other starving artist photographers. I regret if this contribute to that phenomena but I have seen the writing on the wall. Digital Photography and Internet distribution has already begun to radically change the business of outdoor photography. Just as any band can produce their own CD and distribute it via cyberspace, without the endorsement of a record company. Any talented photographer can sell and distribute work without a gallery.
Of course the most talented and business savvy musicians and photographers will always have a lucrative niche at the top. On the other hand, community minded people may like to support the musicians and artists they know locally.
I envision a time when the structure of our empire begins to crumble and when people look to each other for contributions, each according to their skills and capacity. The future is in cooperation, contribute and collaboration, not competition.
This is one way I'm experimenting with contribution.
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