Mystified By the Art Market? Read Seven Days In the Art World

Book Cover Seven Days in the Art WorldTo understand how the markets for creative work are changing, it’s important to understand what the markets were like a few years ago, before technology really starting speeding things up and the economy sent things spiraling down again.

So I read Sarah Thornton’s book “Seven Days in the Art World” to learn what was happening in 2008, when the contemporary art market was booming and prices at auction were going through the roof. Thornton’s book is interesting for several reasons. Although she has a BA in Art History, Thornton also has a PhD in cultural sociology. She observes the “art world” more from the detached, objective perspective of a culture researcher.

The book was compiled from hundreds of hours of “participant observation” and 250 in-depth interviews with high-profile artists, dealers, curators, critics, collectors, and auction-house experts. The seven days refer to insights she gained from observing interactions and activities at seven different sites:

  • a Christie’s art auction in Manhattan
  • a peer-critique by art students at the California Institute of the Arts
  • the Basel Art Fair in Switzerland
  • the Tate Britain Museum during the selection of the Turner Prize winner
  • the offices of Artforum magazine in New York;
  • the studios of artist Takashi Murakami in Tokyo; and
  • the pavilions of some of the nations represented at the Venice Biennale.

Each of the seven chapters reads like a Vanity Fair magazine feature story because she reports conversations and observations as they happen. Her approach lets you see how selling and buying art differs from selling other high-value products. (Sometimes, it doesn’t.)  Thornton admits that “The art world is so diverse, opaque, and downright secretive, it is difficult to generalize about it and impossible to be truly comprehensive.”

In the book’s introduction, Thornton says when she studied art history, she was exposed to recently made art but “I never had a clear idea of how it circulated, how it came to be considered worthy of critical attention or gained exposure, how it was marketed, sold, or collected.” As the work of living artists have become more in demand, she believes it is worth understanding the valuation processes art undergoes between the studio and its arrival in the permanent collection of a museum (or the trash and anywhere in between).

She differentiates between the “art market” (the dealers, auction houses, and collectors who buy and sell art) and the much broader “art world” which also includes the artists themselves, critics, and curators.

To me, Chapter 1 was the most fascinating because she observes an auction at Christie’s at which some pieces sold for millions of dollars. Here’s a quick overview of observations gleaned from the book about the roles of key players in the art market.

People collect art for different reasons. Some truly understand how art can enrich their lives. Others may simply want to diversify their investment portfolios or buy entry in a glamorous lifestyle. Collectors who buy art as investment or because “it’s cool” tend to have changing tastes and aren’t as concerned with the lasting appeal of the art. So they rotate their collections like people buy and sell stock. Collectors who buy for the love of the art tend to form emotional attachments, and only sell due to misfortunes such as death, divorce, or debt. Some collectors hire consultants to advise them.

Auction Houses
Auctions aim to bring the highest prices possible, and provide the illusion of liquidity. Although auction houses want buyers to be confident that they will be able to resell the high-value art they purchase today, that may not always be true. During the boom years, art auctions became something of a high-society spectator sport in which super-successful alpha males mostly competed with other alpha males.

Artists are discouraged from attending auctions because many buying considerations have little to do with the artistic merit.  Feel-good paintings with blues or reds tend to sell better than glum paintings with browns or grays. Paintings by male artists tend to attract higher prices because the male collectors tend to better relate to some of the themes. Any works larger than the size of a Park Avenue elevator eliminates a portion of the market.

Primary Dealers
Their role is to represent artists and mount exhibitions of work fresh out of the studio. A primary dealer can try to increase the value of an artist’s work by offering it first to collectors with sterling reputations. The hands through which an artwork passes can help it accrue value.

Secondary Dealers
These dealers don’t work a lot with the artists, but they do work with the auction houses. They have sufficient capital to buy market-tested art without any immediate pressure to resell it. They take control of the object and can hold on to it as long as necessary. So if a certain style of art goes out of favor, they can wait to sell it when that type of art is back in style.

Artists are discouraged from learning about business and art marketing, because this knowledge can affect the purity of the art-making process. However, the artists who sell well at auction tend to be artist-entrepreneurs. As one commentator in  Thornton’s book suggested, perhaps the successful businessmen who buy at auctions admire the boldness and risk-taking of artist-entrepreneurs. The collectors see themselves reflected in the artist-entrepreneurs.

For example, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst both maintained media profiles that helped increase the audiences for their work. They used production strategies to ensure that a sufficient supply of their art would be available to meet the demands.

When Damien Hirst became the first artist to openly consign work to an auction house, he not only earned international press coverage, but also the admiration of the auction-house personnel who liked his strong work ethic and keen business sense. In general selling work at auction can be risky for an artist’s career, because the prices can fluctuate dramatically from year to year as tastes (and economic conditions) change.

Collectors like meeting the artists whose work they own. But auction houses regard artists as being hard to work with. During the boom, there was a shortage of older works and a spike In demand for fresh, young art.  Although auction houses tried not to interfere with the work of dealers, the amount of time between when a work left a studio and hit the resale market became shorter.  

What’s Next?
Reading “Seven Days in the Art World” provides a big-picture overview of the art world as it existed in 2008. It can provide a baseline for observing what has happened since the economy tanked, and speculating what might happen next as the base of art collectors continues to expand, both globally and within younger generations.

For example, some training programs have been developed to encourage artists to become more entrepreneurial so they make a living and pay off the student loans from attending art school.  And online galleries, art fairs, and social networking are starting to affect the way art is discovered and collectors interact with dealers and artists.

These are some of the questions we’ll continue to examine on this blog. If you have expertise, ideas, or insights that could help artists benefit from some of these ongoing changes in the art market, we would love to hear from you!



Redesign Your Career at HOW Design Live Conference

HOW Design Conference LogoDESIGNERS.  Some of the session descriptions for the 2011 HOW Design Conference in Chicago reinforce my belief that creative professionals in all fields are experiencing similar concerns. We want to support ourselves doing more of the work we love. We want to know how emerging media technologies will change our work. We want to keep learning new skills so we can be more productive and efficient. And we want our thought processes, talents, and contributions to commerce and culture to be recognized and valued. 

Below are some of the session descriptions that caught my eye:


Developing Addictive Experiences for the iPad and Other Interactive Tablets
The iPad and other interactive tablets have created new opportunities for designers to develop compelling and personal interactive experiences. But designing for the new medium requires you to mix both your print and interactive design skills. David Link, a co-founder and creative director of The Wonderfactory, will use some of the firm’s newest iPad projects to illustrate the creative process from concept to finished product.

Creating the Martha Stewart Living iPad Digital Magazine App for the iPad
We’re entering a whole new media era—and this is your chance to see how one magazine is taking full advantage. Gael Towey will show how the creative directors and editors at Martha Stewart Living are using the newest tools and technologies to create deeper experiences for their readers. She’ll outline stories that were shot intentionally to take advantage of the new interactive features from Adobe, and show you how the team transitioned from still pages to cinematic imagery, design, and storytelling. See how your own opportunities will be expanded as a result of new features and current technologies.

The Creative Team of the Future
As quickly as technology evolves, so too do the responsibilities of creative professionals. Now more than ever, you’re being asked to develop multi-faceted, fully integrated campaigns that require close collaboration both within and outside your department. Donna Farrugla of The Creative Group look at these and other challenges designers face in the workplace right now—and what challenges will face the changing creative team of the future. You’ll learn specific actions you can take to improve your marketability and prepare for future career success.

Business DevelopmentThe Creative Side of Growing a Design Business
If you think creativity only comes into play when you’re actually designing, think again. Marketing expert Peleg Top will show you how to use your creative energy—as well as your creative process—to grow your own design business, attract the clients you want, and make the kind of money your work deserves.

Turning Your Creative Obsessions into Opportunities
Whether it’s collecting, drawing, imagining or writing, we all have creative obsessions that we tend to neglect for fear that they’re a waste of time—or because they’re not billable. But some designers have been able to turn their obsessions into profitable, well-known projects through books, websites, or even just an expanded client base. Armin Vit, of UnderConsideration, will show you different ways to channel your own creative pursuits and provide tips for making sure they get noticed.

Lead Generation 101: How to Make Your Website into a Business-Generating Machine.
Would you like to have more work from better clients who pay you reasonable fees to do work you’re exceptionally proud of? Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, a lot of designers don’t get the volume and quality of work they want because they’re missing the boat on self-promotion. In this session, Mark O’Brien, will take you through the steps you need to turn your website into a resource that will attract the right clients, get them excited about your work, and compel them to get in touch with you.

Make and Sell Your Own Products
Since you already have the skills and aptitude for product design, why not start your own line? Using examples from her own and other designers’ experiences, Heather Lins will offer tips on developing your own product line from start to finish. You’ll look at self-producing vs. outsourcing, pick up tips on pricing and even get a crash course in DIY public relations.

Career Development

How the New Kids on the Block Do It
Designer Mig Reyes will expose the habits of successful young creatives, showing how to use their example to find your own success. He will suggest that you:

  • Keep making stuff: The more you create, the more you’ll discover what works and what doesn’t.
  • Pursue self-initiated projects: Your heart is in the projects that you want to do, and your work is always better when your heart is in it.
  • Ship and publish, publish and ship: Whether it’s drawing a monster every day, or writing a thoughtful blog post once a week, the creative who consistently puts work out there ends up winning.

Influence in Business through Design Thinking
Learn how to elevate your work beyond the bounds of what’s cool, and establish yourself as a strategic thought partner. Method’s Matthew Lloyd will show you how to use the tools you already possess to tell compelling business stories and become a true business partner.

Critiques: Power Tool or Power Trip?
Nurturing talent is fundamental to growth. But the human tendency is to focus on what’s wrong or missing in a design—leading to adversarial critiques that crush the creative spirit and leave the designer with little direction. The critique approach developed by Jaime Pescia and Tip Quilter incites curiosity and encourages a fun, collaborative atmosphere. They’ll share tips on blending compassion with confrontation and balancing technical consideration with human dynamics. See how to remove ego from the process (yours and the designer’s) in service of the project’s goals and objectives.

About the Conference

The HOW Design Conference, June 24-27,  is one of four conferences that will be held during the HOW Design Live event that will run from June 22-27 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago. HOW Design Live is sponsored by HOW magazine, the creative and business resource for graphic designers. The other three conferences are the:

  • InHOWse Managers Conference (June 24-27) for in-house team managers;
  • Creative Freelancers Conference (June 23-24) for solopreneurs, including writers, photographers, illustrators, and other creative professionals.
  • Dieline Package Design Conference (June 22-24) for package designers.

 For full details about all of the educational sessions and networking events at HOW Design Live, visit


HOW Design Live

HOW Magazine

Website Helps Artists Show Work to Galleries, Designers, and Architects

Sample art sold on Art SpecifierARTISTS. New business models for marketing art and photography are continuing to emerge.

For example, is a new member-only Internet database that allows artists to market their work directly to designers, architects, and gallery owners worldwide. The site was developed by Joyce Creiger, who has worked in the art consulting and gallery business for over 38 years. She created the site after many designers and architects had expressed a need for one-stop shopping for high-quality art.

The site does not sell art. Instead, Creiger explains, “This site is the place to find art, contact artists directly for smaller jobs, or point art consultants to pieces appropriate for larger projects.” The site is not open to the public. It is open only to professionals such as: interior designers at hotels, hospitals, corporate offices, and private residences; art consultants; facility managers; gallery owners; and museum curators.

In addition to prints, giclées, and photographs, the site showcases paintings, wall sculptures, and art made with glass, metal, fiber, and lighting.

Creiger launched the site last October with more than 2,000 images and 300 artists, designers, architects, and art consultants as registered members. She acknowledges that the success of this site depends on the quality and quantity of artists exhibited on

When the site was launched, she says, “A unique invitation was sent to specific artists familiar to us at the time.  This site is not limited to these artists but we encourage other artists who feel their work is appropriate to submit for membership.  There is no guarantee all will be accepted but we encourage artists to send us their information for consideration.”

Artists who are accepted as members pay an annual fee of $100 to upload unlimited images, and provide background information, a CV, and display recommendations. Designers have free access to the site and can search by color, style, medium, price, size and just about any keyword.

 For more information, visit:

Why Is There So Much Hype About 3D Imaging?

Coverof6SightReportPHOTOGRAPHERS. If you want to better understand why there’s so much hype about 3D imaging, download the November/December, 2010 issue of The 6Sight Report. Most of the content of the 30-page issue is devoted to 3D imaging technology, and explains why it’s definitely not a passing fad. Reading the 6Sight Report will give you some valuable context as you start to see more and more product announcements related to 3D imaging.

Although sales of 3D TVs haven’t taken off as quickly as anticipated, one analyst quoted in the 6Sight Report predicts that, “It’s going to be a gradual development, and in 10 years almost everything will be in 3D. It won’t be a big special effect; it’s going to be how we’re used to seeing everything on television.”

6Sight analysts agree that eventually most photography and video will be in three dimensions, not two. Although we have become comfortable with flat images in print and onscreen, we view the world in 3D through two eyes, instead of one lens. As one expert put it, “All flat photography is just a poor attempt to emulate natural perception.”

Slowly but surely, image capture and display devices are being developed that will make viewing 3D images more natural and enjoyable to view. And 3D imaging on big TV screens will provide an immersive environment that everyone on the family can enjoy together.

Vincent John Vincent, who cofounded the GestureTek company that makes 3D camera-based motion control systems for electronic devices, notes that, “It’s not as if we’re going to get 3D to a certain level and then back off. It will eventually be commonplace to have 3D consumer devices for both photography and video…It’s worth learning about it now and adding one’s own artistic understanding to it.”

Opportunities for Professional Photographers

In the 6Sight Report, Paul Worthington interviews Panasonic senior marketing manager Darin People about the company’s growing line of 3D cameras, camcorders, and displays, including the prospects of using special 3D lens systems on cameras and camcorders.

Darin People notes that some professional wedding and commercial photographers are already starting to see the advantages of being able to not only take still pictures but also 3D pictures for their clients.

For now, wedding photographers can differentiate themselves by being able to shoot 3D video for clients that already own a 3D TV set.  But wedding photographers also need to think long term. In order to shoot images and videos that a couple can fully enjoy for decades to come, wedding photographers should start investigating 3D cameras now.

As 3D photography starts to become ‘point-and-shoot’ simple, more photographers will think of new and interesting ways to use the camera. Darin People says Panasonic will take a close look at what consumers are saying and what highly creative individuals are doing with 3D technology and try to figure out: “What are the new things that people want to do with 3D that maybe we haven’t even thought of yet?”

Content Creation

Although sales of 3D TVs haven’t exactly set sales records, experts agree that one of the main impediments has been the lack of compelling content. But over the next few years, the technology and available content will improve and prices will come down.

A number of companies have already waiting to fill the content void. For example, the website SignOn San Diego recently profiled Legend3D, a company that specializes in converting film scenes from 2D to 3D. The company anticipates that it’s only a matter of time before entire libraries of Hollywood films will be converted from 2D to 3D. Legend3D founder Barry Sandrew is quoted as saying, “The technology semi-automates the process, but there has to be a creative person there watching over it and doing it.” Over the coming year, he expects to hire another 150 workers in San Diego and 300 more in India.

 See 3D Prints at Upcoming Wedding Photography Show

The professional wedding and portait photographers who are planning to attend the WPPI Show Feb. 21-23 in Las Vegas will be able to see 3D prints in the 3DPhotoUS booth. The company will be showcasing some of the personalized 3D wedding and portrait prints that they can now offer to their customers. The prints can be made from uploaded JPEG files; a 3D camera isn’t necessary.

According to the company’s website, you won’t need any glasses to see the 3D effects in the wall prints. Nor will the prints be covered by a grooved, lenticular lens that adds an uneven surface to the print. Instead, the prints have a mirror-like surface that uses backlighting to enhance the 3D effects. The company, which has a showroom in the Los Angeles area, will be using a newly developed process to make the prints in their factories in China and Taiwan.

Don’t Bet Against 3D

Personally, I have seen this cycle play out before. When the first generations of digital cameras were introduced in 1990s, many skeptical experts scoffed that those early-model cameras could never possibly be good enough to replace pro-model film cameras. Yet, look how far digital photography has come since then. And, many journalists who attended Adobe press conference announcing the PDF format were very skeptical that Adobe’s innovation would ever become as widely adopted as Adobe envisioned.  

Last fall, I attended a Canon Expo in New York, in which the company’s engineers and scientists demonstrated some of the mixed-reality and immersive 3D imaging technologies that are being developed.  As I wandered through these mind-blowing “Future of Imaging” exhibits, three thoughts kept crossing my mind:

  • The engineers and scientists who develop the technology are just as proud and passionate about their work as photographers, designers, artists, and writers.
  • Even if new imaging technologies don’t get adopted as quickly as analysts and manufacturers might predict, the researchers will find ways to overcome the obstacles to widespread adoption.  
  • I can’t wait to see what will happen when photographers, designers, visual artists, and content creators start dreaming up creative new ways to fully use these 3D-imaging technologies.


6Sight Report: November/December, 2010 issue

Self-Publisher Explains How to Get Your Book Out Quickly

WRITERS. Suppose you have a great idea for a nonfiction book. Which approach is a better use of your time: Should you develop a detailed book proposal, pitch it to an agent or publisher, and wait two years for the book to hit the shelves? Or should you self-publish the book first and start selling it while most of the information is still current?

Self-Publishing Manual Vol. 2If self-publishing sounds like too much work or you’re not sure where to begin, I recommend reading both volumes of Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual.  Then you’ll understand why the stigma once associated with self-publishing has vanished. You’ll also see why the brave, new world of ‘trans-media’ is rapidly changing the very definition of a ‘book.’

If you’re a writer, self-publishing is a great way to control every phase of your book’s production. Plus, the more you know about self-publishing, the better prepared you will be to help others who may hire you to ghost-write or edit their books.

Poynter believes emerging technologies are rapidly making it possible for authors to get closer to their readers while also selling books for less. You can still profit from your investment in self-publishing, says Poynter, because you will be eliminating the amount of income paid to agents, publishers, wholesalers, bookstores, distributors, and other gatekeepers in the middle.

Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual (463 pages) covers the basics of writing, printing, and selling your own book and lets you see how the steps involved in self-publishing differ from those associated with traditional publishing. In addition to tips on book design and formatting, Poynter provides practical advice on selecting a book printer, deciding how many books to print, and estimating sales. He devotes entire chapters to marketing and distribution channels and shipping and fulfillment considerations.

Self-Publishing Manual Vol 1Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2 (144 pages) explains how to take advantage of some of the technological changes that are rapidly transforming the book-publishing business. For example, Poynter suggests building your print version (pbook) first, then converting that content into other forms your audience might like, including: e-books, audio books (a-books), and large-print books (lpbooks).

As Poynter  explains, “We call them ‘books,’ but that term is generic; ‘books’ can take many forms. Do not think of your product as a print product—think of it as entertainment or information. Then focus on providing the formats (or editions) the buyer wants and needs.”

To streamline the self-publishing process, he advises writing the back-cover promotional copy first so you can clarify in your mind why readers might be interested in the type of content you’re developing. (In other words, instead of figuring out how to pitch your idea to an agent or publisher, first spend some time deciding how you will pitch your book directly to the potential buyer.) 

He also explains how to typeset the book in formatted pages as you write it, instead of writing it in the traditional manuscript form required by conventional publishers. You will still need to have the book peer-reviewed, copy-edited, and proofread. But if the book is already formatted in pages, you can save some valuable time.

In Volume 2, Poynter talks about how to use social media and social networking to gather information for your writing and alerting people who may be interested in buying your book.  He also talks about new technology that let you publish it for less, new ways to distribute your book more economically, and how to have fun promoting it. 

Photo of Dan Poynter with booksDan Poynter says it took him eight years to produce his first book (on parachuting). Since then he has written more than 125 books, primarily by developing a highly organized system for researching, research, writing, and editing.  In some cases, the pages for his books have been written, laid out, and delivered to the printer within 30 days.

Having been in the business since 1969, he knows the ins and outs of the business from all angles. He has published books for other authors and sold some of his own books to publishing companies.   

You Don’t Have to Do It All Yourself!
If you don’t have the time or confidence to handle all of the steps involved in self-publishing yourself, there are plenty of sources who can help you. For example, the self-publishing manual lists specialized service providers such as bar code suppliers, book clubs, book fair exhibiting services, book designers and cover artists. Poynter also lists “book shepherds,” a new group of consultants who will take your book project through all of the necessary steps.

One of the most useful features of the book is a Calendar, with a checklist of some of the administrative and promotion-related items you should be tackling during different stages of writing and producing the book.

Self-publishing can indeed be a lot of work, and recouping your investment of time and money will require a commitment to promoting it. But unless you have already established a strong business relationship with an existing publishing company, self-publishing and selling your first book may soon be regarded as an essential first step.  

The Future of Books
Poynter believes the publishing business is changing so rapidly that in the near future, the publication cycle will be reversed and books will first be posted online, then committed to ink and paper if there is sufficient interest.

In Volume 2, he writes, “We will always have printed books, but they will be fiction, coffeetable books (works of art), and nonfiction that is so popular that it has earned a print run.”

Both books are available from bookstores. Or you can buy them directly from Dan’s website, Para Publishing. The website features dozens of other tips and resources for writers and anyone who wants to publish their own books.


Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book

Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, Vol. 2

Para Publishing

Google Art Project Lets You Visit Museums in Nine Countries

ARTISTS. On Feb. 1, Google unveiled the Art Project. It enables people around the world to discover and view more than 1,000 artworks online in extraordinary detail. For example, the image shown below is a close-up of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” as you can view it on the Art Project page for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). When you visit the page, you can also see a MoMA-produced video featuring visitors’ comments on the paintings.

Google Art Project Close Up of Van Gogh's

MoMA is one of the 17 art museums from nine countries that have collaborated with Google over the past 18 months to launch the Art Project. The project will enable anyone around the world to take virtual tours inside the museums’ galleries and learn about the history and artists behind many of the world’s most valuable works.  

I’m writing about the Google Art Project here, because it’s further evidence of how advances in imaging technology are changing the way art will be viewed and shared in the future. This introductory project just hints at what will be possible in the years ahead.  

Some imaging professionals have already established new careers for themselves by helping museums create very detailed, high-resolution, color-accurate scans of valuable artworks for their archives. 

 By using the latest image-capture and assembly tools, the Google Art Project is going one step further. The project gives us online access to images with super-high ‘gigapixel’ resolutions. Some images of the artworks contain around 7 billion pixels, which is why you can pan around some paintings and zoom in to see brushstroke-level detail from a vantage point that was previously only seen by art restorers.  

To get started, go to the Google Art Project home page ( and choose which museum you’d like to “visit.” Then, choose either the “Explore the Museum” or “View Artwork” option.

The 17 participating museums are located in 11 cities in 9 countries:

  • The Frick Collection (New York)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)
  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York)
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian (Washington, DC)
  • National Gallery (London, UK)
  • Tate Britain (London, UK)
  • Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain)
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid, Spain)
  • Alte Nationalgalerie (Berlin, Germany)
  • Gemaldegalerie (Berlin, Germany)
  • Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) 
  • The State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia)
  • State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia)
  • Palace of Versailles (France)
  • Uffizi Gallery (Florence, Italy)
  • Museum Kampa (Prague, Czech Republic)


The “Explore” option uses Google Street View technology to let you explore a museum gallery the way you would use the Street View in Google Maps.  A specially designed Street View “trolley” (below) took 360-degree images of the interiors of 385 selected galleries within the museums.

These images were then stitched together into “panoramas” that enable smooth navigation of each room.  Some paintings on the walls appear blurred. In most cases, that’s because the museum does not own the copyright to those images. 

View and Learn
Each of the 17 museums selected one artwork to be photographed at super-high resolution with ‘gigapixel’ photo-capturing technology. The captures are so detailed, you can study details of the brushwork and patina beyond what is possible with the naked eye.

In addition, the museums provided high-resolution images for more than 1,000 works of art. When used with the Google Art Project’s custom-built zoom viewer, you can discover minute aspects of paintings you might never have seen up close before, such as the miniaturized people in the river of El Greco’s “View of Toledo” or individual dots in Seurat’s “Grandcamp Evening.”  

You can learn more about each art work through the Google Scholar, Google Docs, and YouTube video links provided with each sidebar info panel.  

Each museum chose which collections to feature and what type of information to share about each piece. They also recommended which angles should be used during the image-capture process.

Collect and Share
If you have a Google account, you can save specific views of any of the artworks to build your collections. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole collection can then be shared with friends, family, or fellow art students. The integrated URL shortener can be used to share unique links to your collections via email or other web services.  

What’s Next?
Now that the project has been introduced, it will be interesting to gauge the public’s reaction. According to Google, “The project you see today is the very first incarnation, and we may well add more artworks and new rooms in the future.”

The Art Project was initiated by a group of Google employees who were passionate about making art more accessible online.  Amit Sood, the Google employee who heads the Art Project, believes they have created “what we hope will be a fascinating resource for art lovers, students, and casual museum-goers alike—inspiring them to one day visit the real thing.”

Many of the participating museums feel the same way. As Thomas Campbell, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art puts it, “The Google Art Project coincides with a variety of Met initiatives that demystify the museum through digital means by sharing our collections and ongoing work with a broader online public around the world. Most important, these projects encourage people to visit museums and come face-to-face with great works of art.”

Dr. Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery, believes, “The Google Art Project is a powerful example of how digital technology can help art institutions work in partnership to reach out globally to new audiences and enable works of art to be explored in depth and with stunning clarity.”



The Google Art Project

Fast Track Photographers Don’t Grumble About Change

Cover of Fast Track Photographer BookLast May, Amphoto Books released a provocative book entitled “The Fast Track Photographer: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business.” The author, photographer Dane Sanders, explains why building a successful photography career is far different than it was 20 to 30  years ago.

The key to success as a photographer in today’s hyper-competitive environment, says Sanders, is to: “Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and start focusing on your most powerful resource—you!”  In today’s digi-flat world, creative professionals can carve out niches all their own. As Sanders puts it, “You need to design your sweet spot around the one thing that cannot be replicated: you!” 

The book and its accompanying online self-assessment test can help you determine whether you would be happier trying to become an independent Signature-Brand Photographer or would be perfectly content as a Freelance Photographer who does fee-based assignments for employers. You can devise a solution that blends the two styles, but Sanders advises photographers to “Be clear about the choice you’re making, and do what’s required to see it through.”

Above all, Sanders encourages readers to avoid “The Grumpy Photographer Life Cycle (aka the Road to Hell).” This cycle starts when photographers get overloaded with debt early in their careers, fail to promote themselves as individuals, and take on as many jobs at market prices as possible. Then, they become burned out and bitter.

Sanders characterizes “Grumpy” photographers as self-centered, arrogant, “experts” who feel entitled to business and are stuck on old business models. In  contrast, he describes fast-track photographers as client-centered, service-minded, and personable. They are adaptable to change, open to new technology and continuous learning, and able to delegate and outsource. They know who they are, and find clients who appreciate their unique set of skills.

“Rather than lapse into Grumpiness,” says Sanders. “I encourage you to see that in the digi-flat world, the spectrum of possibility has exploded.”

Dane Sanders succinctly articulates trends I’ve observed at photography conferences over the past few years. Some photographers are clearly much more upbeat, optimistic, and enthusiastic than others. Photographers who have worked for 25 to 30 years seem aggravated by how rapidly and radically technology has commoditized the conventional markets for photography.

Thus, Fast Track Photographer will not only be helpful to serious amateurs who are considering turning pro, but also to companies that use old-school, big-name photographers to help them sell products and services. People entering the photography business today must cope with marketplace realities that are fundamentally different from the business environment that existed when older-generation experts built their businesses.

“If you want to find your sweet spot in the photo world, resist the temptation to emulate heroes,” writes Sanders. “Unless you are just like them, the odds of succeeding by adopting their strategies is very low. Better to let them inspire you by how boldly they have pursued their own sweet spot in the business.”

Head shot of Dane Sanders“The old mode of learning from an expert and slogging away until you’ve earned the right to put your name out there is too slow for our fast-changing, digi-flat times,” writes Sanders. He notes that no one is an “expert” anymore because no one really knows what new developments will occur in the next 5 to 20 years and how these developments will interact dynamically to create whole new possibilities for photographers. He suggests that, “An attitude of staying creatively adaptable may be the single most important asset in extending your lifespan as a photographer indefinitely.”

As a writer, I was interested to learn that “Fast Track Photographer was originally self-published and geared only toward wedding photographers. Amphoto Books published a revised and expanded edition to help amateur and working photographers in all genres strengthen and develop their businesses.

Cover of Fast Track PhotographerReaders of The Fast Track Photographer might also be interested in The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan. This new book is designed to help you devise an overall business strategy to support your creative vision. It also contains techniques for running a creative business.

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