Three Very Good FriendsI went to an art sale last Saturday, at the suggestion of my friend Paul. This was the morning after Michelle's cookie-baking party, where much alcohol was consumed. The sale started at 10 a.m. and I was told there would be a long line of people.
Paul explained that Richard, the owner of Fine Art Framing, collects vernacular photographs throughout the year (mostly purchased from eBay) and frames them in his shop. Once a year, Richard opens his doors and sells the lot at bargain prices, ranging from $95 on up. The photographs are all expertly framed and captioned with care.
I had no trouble selecting three or four pieces I wouldn't mind owning.
I was at the sale with Lara, Christine, and Michelle. I immediately ran into Paul, who introduced me to Richard. Paul bought five things, and Lara spent $300 on a diagram of a children's camp and 22 b&w photos of people posing with saguaros, which she's currently collecting for her MFA show. Michelle didn't buy anything, Christine didn't buy anything, and I--after much agonizing--didn't buy anything either.
I came very close. There was a color photo from the 70's of a nerdy, couch-bound man taking a photograph entitled Science Fiction Convention. There was a sepia-toned photo of two brothers that I couldn't take my eyes off of and a b&w photo of a young girl at the beach with her name--"Clarice"--spelled out in the sand in front of her.
The picture I wanted most was a simple portrait of a man posing with his dog and his guitar. Written on the photograph was the caption "three very good friends. It was dated 1929.
I liked it right away. You know the Richard Powers novel, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance? That novel was inspired by a photograph. I don't know if Three Very Good Friends will inspire anything more than this blog post, but I love the photograph. I love what it says about this person, his dog, and his guitar.
It was $125.
It's been a fairly emotional year. I don't have a dog or a guitar but I have some very good friends and two children I love very much. I left the show without buying anything, happy I'd attended.
On Monday, Paul phoned. Richard had emailed everyone to say some photographs were still for sale and if I was on the fence about anything, I should phone immediately.
I called Richard and mentioned the four pictures I came closest to buying. He'd given Science Fiction Convention away, but Brothers and Three Very Good Friends were still for sale. I made an appointment to meet Richard after work the following day.
On Tuesday, I returned to Fine Art Framing. I spoke to Richard for about 45 minutes, and it was a terrific conversation. We talked about photography and books and why we collect the things we collect, and I left with Three Very Good Friends tucked under my arm.
I'm also on the mailing list for next year's sale.