Last Friday marked the beginning of reunion weekend at Grinnell College and also the arrival of 2,000 copies of A Portrait of Grinnell: The Architecture and Landscape of Grinnell College. Their arrival was somewhat unexpected: I had resigned myself to a delayed shipment that would miss reunion weekend and the 1,100+ people registered to congregate in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa. Of course Friday had to be the hottest day during that entire week, with temperatures spiking to 90 degrees, but with a littlelot of help from my friends the books made it from the loading dock at the Faulconer Gallery to the shelves of the Grinnell College Bookstore (641.269.3424) and Saints Rest Coffee House (641.236.6014).
Russ Motta stands with the hand truck he used to deliver 18 boxes of A Portrait of Grinnell into Saints Rest Coffee House in Grinnell, Iowa.
Without Lesley Wright’s generosity the books would not have had such a convenient loading dock to come home to, nor would two pallets of the books have such a nice climate-controlled home for the next year. A chance encounter with Russ Motta, Grinnell’s most gregarious security officer, gave me the opportunity to deliver books to Saints Rest Coffee House in a pickup truck with a professional hand-truck delivery man. Motta said that in a past life he worked for a beer distributor: he loaded that hand truck down and never once bumped into anything, and it was amazing.
Bekka Merrill and Emily Zdyrko rounded out the team with their loading, dragging, and unloading 40 more boxes of my books onto a large cart headed to the Grinnell College Bookstore. By the time all was said and done I think everyone was ready for a break…and a lot of water!
This morning the doorbell rang and Elizabeth greeted the driver from FedEx who was holding a box of ten of my books. The other 2,000-odd copies of A Portrait of Grinnell: The Architecture and Landscape of Grinnell College will set sail on 2 May. I was too anxious to wait another month until 30 May when they get trucked into Grinnell, Iowa to see how they turned out. I am both relieved and elated by how good they look! I simply couldn’t travel to China to oversee the printing, so it is wonderful to see that this new printing is faithful to the original and the updates, while subtle in most cases, certainly enhance a book I was already proud to call my own.
Both Saints Rest Coffee House (641.236.6014) and the Grinnell College Bookstore (641.269.3424) will begin accepting pre-orders soon. Note that these are the only two official stores for this book. I’ve seen the odd (used) copy on Amazon, but at astoundingly–and amusingly–high prices. The recommended retail price remains $29.95. I was very happy that we were able to maintain the price from 2006. In an age when the price of everything seems to be going up, it’s nice when some things stay the same!
Also, as a thank-you for purchasing the book, the first 125 copies sold at each store will contain a special promotional code for 30% off my personally-printed and signed photographs of Grinnell College ordered at my other Web site, lightsedgeprints.com!
I traded in a futon for a printer and I’m reprinting my book!
Of Prints and Re-prints:
I’ve hinted for a couple weeks that big changes are happening at our little house in Durham, North Carolina. For the past two weeks I’ve been furiously printing some of my best photographs of Grinnell College in anticipation of commencement and my five-year reunion. I’ve gone through a box of Ilford Gold Fibre Silk as well as my ever-reliable roll of Epson Luster. So lately I’ve been dusting off my skills at cutting down matte and foam board to matte 24 8×10″ prints, 12 11×14″ prints, as well as some 12×18″ and panoramic photographs. And before sending it all out, I’m trying to give them all SKU codes as I learn Quickbooks Pro‘s inventory system on-the-fly for my new business. Gotta keep it legit for the IRS…it is that time of year after all!
What’s that about a new business? Well, it’s not completely off the ground yet, but I’m becoming a limited liability company in the state of North Carolina. I’ve been a sole proprietor since 2006 and while it has been fun, it was time for a change. When it takes effect, this Web site will go through a few changes, and a new domain name will become the primary, although I have no intention to give up david-kennedy.com.
Furthermore, I contacted Regent Published Services, Ltd., the company that printed A Portrait of Grinnell: The Architecture and Landscape of Grinnell College in 2006, to get a quote for printing 2,000 copies. The book has been out of print since 2008, but will be back on the shelves by the end of May 2011. I’m frustrated because I’ll miss commencement by only two weeks, but the book will be stocked in time for reunion. I’ll have information for those interested in pre-ordering soon.
I’ve ramped up production of prints because I finally have a photo printer at my home office. Choosing a printer was a key business decision: while making prints is something I enjoy and am quite skilled at, I know many talented photographers who find the art of printing to be more than vexing. Making prints for other photographers will be part of my business model, so I needed something fairly large. Unfortunately, this meant that the futon in my office (that was a good “guest bed”) simply had to go!
In my custom print store I plan to offer a variety of gloss and matte papers that most online printers simply don’t carry, like Gold Fibre Silk and Entrada Rag. I don’t intend to be the next Mpix–I won’t make prints on the side of coffee mugs or canvas wraps. Nor will I even attempt to compete with FedEx Office and make signage or banners. Instead, I’ll cater to serious photographers who would like to have direct contact with the person making the prints either for their clients or their personal portfolios. And as of March 17, 2011, when I looked out the front door to see FedEx Freight show up in our narrow street, I’ll be able to make those prints on rolls of paper up to 44 inches wide using a Hewlett-Packard Designjet Z3200 Photo printer!
Lens envy is something every photographer experiences, and sometimes it’s made worse when a lens you love is replaced with a newer, more expensive version. I suppose this is what people who have iPhone’s go through every June.
About five years ago I purchased a Canon 24mm f/3.5L TS-E lens for its ability to control perspective…that is, I wanted to get a view looking “up” at a building without the lines converging. And it was a small, albeit dense, lens, so it was pretty easy to slip into a camera bag and take it along just in case a landscape or architectural situation demanded it. But it had its flaws, chief among them being that the tilt (also known as swing) movement comes from the factory 90 degrees from the shift (rise and fall) movement. That means that if you want to use shift to get a higher perspective, but also tilt the lens downward, then you’re out of luck unless you send the lens in to Canon to be altered so that they’re on the same plane.
On September 11, 2010, I left Durham, North Carolina to get to Racine, Wisconsin by way of Chillicothe, Ohio. Last Sunday I departed Racine for Columbia, Missouri, by way of St. Louis. Since then I’ve lost a pillow (it will be returned), been slimed by a Silver carp, photographed a levitating Kim Komenich at the 62nd annual Missouri Photo Workshop in Macon, Missouri, and played tourist at my Alma mater. My odometer cracked 27,000…not so happy about that, and I’ve also had my share of meals on the road. Things will slow down soon, but not yet…