Saturday, August 17, 2013

Show & Tell, Version 7.01

Well we survived another run of summer art shows, and every one was up from previous years. Economy on the rebound? Let's hope so - for everyone's sake. Still need to ship out a few more special orders, but our summer company is flying home at this very moment, and I'm headed back to Glacier on Monday to play biologist for one last round of Harlequin Duck research. It's been a pretty good summer.

Just to keep me well-grounded, here's a selection of insults and compliments heard in our booth this summer. Laugh along with me, or at me, or for me. "Me me me" - I'm starting to sound childish already...


He was about my age, standing in the middle of my booth, silently studying each photograph. But he was smiling when he told me, "You're who I want to be when I grow up."  Sorry. Growing up would automatically disqualify you from being me.

'Huckleberry Heart' (c) John Ashley
Please don't steal my "Huckleberry Heart"
He pointed at my "Huckleberry Heart" canvas. "So you're the one I stole that from. Put it on my Facebook, yada, yada." Walked away talking to his friends before I could explain the meaning of, "copyright infringement."

"We're locals, you know, so we don't spend any money here. But thank you for the eye candy." Um, er, ah. I'm left speechless. "You're welcome," I eventually blurted.

"That photo looks fake," she declared. "Thank you," I reply, "I'll take that as a compliment." "Oh," she said with just as much assurance, "that's a high compliment."

"I've known a lot of people who were good photographers or good naturalists, but you excel at both."  That right there was like a double-dip warm-and-fuzzy chocolate dunk.

'Dream Catcher' (c) John Ashley
"Dream Catcher" snags adoration
He stood in the center of my booth and announced to everyone, "I wish my office had walls." But I was ready. "Does it have a ceiling?"

"Wow," she pointed at "Dream Catcher." "Has that photo won anything for you?" "Adoration," I responded.

"I took a workshop once with Bill Frakes, and he kinda' shook a lot of us up when he asked, 'What is it that separates your photographs from all the others?' Well whatever 'It' is, you have it." The guy in my booth didn't know that his was an especially high compliment because I used to compete against Frakes in NPPA clip contests - even bested him a few times - back when we both shot for newspapers in Florida. Of course, Frakes has that little Pulitzer Prize thing and Photographer-of-the-Year Award on me, but I still have the adoration of literally a dozen or more unrelated people.

"I want a camera that takes pictures like these." Trust me, you already have one.

'Learning to Yodel' (c) John Ashley
Baby Loon "Learning to Yodel" like a goose
An excited five-year-old, "Look mom, a duck with a baby goose on its back." You might want to steer her towards a degree in business instead of biology.

(You youngsters may not get this one.) She told me earnestly, "I like that 'Stairway to Heaven' shot." I sure hope mine has the same staying power as the original. My childhood friend, Kevin, and I used to call and request that song every night to be the last one played before our local AM radio station shut down at midnight in old-time Eustis, Florida. And now in northwestern Montana - aside from chasing ducks - it's time for me to rest up and prepare for our fall shows, starting in Boise in early September.

See you then my friends.

'Heaven on Earth' (c) John Ashley
'Stairway to Heaven,' or 'Heaven on Earth.' Your answer may depend on your age.

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