What To Do With Your Great Photos

So, you ignored my advice to stay the hell away from digital photography (see: http://rickgilbert.net/#/n_1487). You bought the cute point and shoot, or worse, the new iPhone 6+. You also have the computer to support all this plus the hard drive for back ups. You even fashioned your holiday card and family newsletter from your sunset shot of Golden Gate Bridge. 

Fooling around with your photos in iPhoto, Photoshop, or Lightroom has become an addiction.

You’ve even printed a few of them on your Epson printer. You’ve bought a few mats and frames from Cheap Pete’s or University Art. You’ve hung some of your European prints on the wall at work. Your family is complaining that you spend too much time in the evenings and on weekends fooling around with all this. 

But you are starting to feel like an artist.

After all, you can’t dance, sing, play the piano, paint, write poetry or sculpt, but, by god, you can take good photos. Welcome to the club. Photography is the last resort for those of us who can’t do anything else artistically. 

Now, aside from the fact that photography is dominating your life like a iron maiden, there is an even bigger problem. You have most of your best work either on your camera’s SD card, or in a folder on your computer, or for the really old ones, on 35mm slides in your closet. No one gets to see your masterpieces. 

Well, I have a solution for you. Actually, a couple of solutions. You see, I speak from experience. I have had all those problems. I’ve been taking photos for 50 years, the past 25 years, very seriously. Unfortunately, 90% of my best images are on old slides or in my hard drive. 

Solution #1: A one-person show in a restaurant

Assuming you have the time and the money to print, mount and frame your best images, your next challenge is to find a place to display them.

I went to a local Redwood City Restaurant, Talk of Broadway, and asked the owner if he would be interested putting some of my photos on his 50 foot blank wall. He liked the idea. I now have 15 of my iron worker images on his wall. 

To make a party of all this, I staged an “opening.” John closed the restaurant, I brought in some munchies and invited friends and fellow photographers to the gala event. I got to explain the stories behind the photos as everyone drank wine and enjoyed finger food. A great evening!

Here is a short video of that program: 


Solution #2: LCD panel on the wall *

As great as the restaurant solution is, you are limited to available wall space and perhaps no more the 20 images. What if you have hundreds, even thousands of great photos? Here’s an idea: Get a new or used LCD panel, hang it on a wall in your home or office and hook it up to a Mac mini. Load it up with your best shots, and hit “play.” 

I have a 42″ Panasonic LCD and roughly 3,000 images loaded into the Mac mini in my home office.  Each photo is up for five minutes. It brings me great pleasure to see all these images covering many decades and locations far and wide. 

If you use this in your office, let’s say in the lobby, the screen can double as a billboard display. To announce an important business visitor, you would put the slide show on pause, and display a welcome message like:  “PowerSpeaking Welcomes Genentech”

* For a smaller, desktop version of all this, see “Digital Frames Worth Framing” in the WSJ, March 7-8. 


Digitizing slides

So you have a closet full of yellow slide boxes from decades past. How to get these out of the closet and onto your big format, LCD panel on the wall?

Lots of ways to do this. You can send slides to a processing house where they put them on a cd. You can buy a small digital film converter. 

Perhaps the most effective approach is to buy a scanner. I am currently using an Epson V600 which works very well. It just takes time.


Good luck. Let me know how it goes. 

3 thoughts on “What To Do With Your Great Photos

  1. John Warren says:

    I always loved the changing photos in the PowerSpeaking office! After reading this I’m more motivated to assemble some of my best and hook them up to the TV at home, or on a smaller display. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Robert Fish says:

    Good job of mounting this show, of giving a clear, funny talk about the making of the pictures, and of demonstrating that you might be getting on a little in years, but you haven’t lost any of your old creative stride. You’ve still got it, maestro!

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