Right now, it seems everyone still knows about the million-dollar potato print. But I wonder how long it will be before everyone has forgotten all about it? I should probably put this link in, so that in the far-off distant future of, say, August 2016, readers who stumble across this post will know what the hell I'm talking about. Potato prints? We used to do those at school!
A publicity stunt, obviously, no? And one that seems to have worked, provided there's a follow-up of some kind before August 2016. Necessary, because most people have the memory-power of a particularly dense King Edward. The genius, of course, lies in the choice of a potato as subject matter. Not least for a photographer whose metier is apparently celebrity portraiture. "Mr. Abosch, Mr. Rooney called to say he is 'made up' with his picture, whatever that means..." (apologies, Wayne).
As the subject of selling prints is in the air, I thought I'd mention that I had been thinking that I might pick up a little of the print action myself. Nothing too precious, no expensive signed, limited editions, but something more along the lines of affordable posters. For some reason, I rather like having my stuff printed on a "proper" commercial machine, rather than run off on an inkjet printer, which, obviously, I can do myself. I've had some nice results from good old Vistaprint, whose quality is always outstanding, but they don't offer any kind of on-demand "storefront". So I'd either have to stock up with posters in advance and sell them myself – too expensive, and too risky – or get each order fulfilled individually, which would take too long, and double the cost of the postage.
I had high hopes of an on-demand service called MagCloud, which is now a subsidiary of Blurb. Their main business is producing magazines and similar publications (hence the name – nothing to do with magnetic clouds, sadly) but they do also offer a poster service. The price of a poster is extremely reasonable, almost negligible, as is the overseas postage from the States. Like Blurb, your posters can be ordered by customers on demand from a storefront, with whatever level of price mark-up you want over and above the basic "production" cost. Hmm... I thought this might be exactly what I was looking for. To test it out, I uploaded a couple of files, and awaited the results. Unfortunately, the results were OK but not stunning, and – incredibly – were delivered through the intercontinental mash-up system as a flat 18" x 12" sheet in a polythene bag, face up, backed with some bendy cardboard. Noooo.... I suppose I had expected a tube, at least, but then the postage was very cheap indeed.
So, for now, it's back to square one. But, in the meantime, should you want to buy a print of any of the photographs or photo-collages appearing on this blog, do drop me an email (see View My Complete Profile above right for my email addresses). To you, dear reader, I'd charge something like £50 for a roughly A5 image on an A4 sheet, or £75 for an A4 image on an A3 sheet, plus a few pounds for postage and packing.
As for potatoes, I recommend a red-skinned variety like Desiree or Mozart as a good all-round potato, with just the right texture and flavour for baking and roasting. But, honestly, what on earth did we eat before potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, peanuts, sunflowers, cocoa and the rest were brought back from the Americas? Fifty-seven varieties of sludge, that's what. All world-historical considerations aside, nothing motivates empire-building quite as much as a diet of sludge.
[N.B. I'm away for the next week in a land where the phone signal can't penetrate the clouds, and the internet is a mere rumour. I'll get to any comments when I return.]