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What We Learned This Week: What To Say When You're Asked to Provide Free Prints for a $12M House

By David Schonauer   Friday October 18, 2019


It’s nice when people want to put your work on their walls.

Less nice when those people want you to give them free prints.

And downright vexatious when those free prints are going to decorate a $12 million “coastal retreat.”

So perhaps we can forgive photographer Tim Wallace for being a little snippy when he received just such a request. His response, as we noted this week, has delighted the internet.

The inquiry, reported DIY Photography, came via an email from a self-described “high-end interior designer” based in California, whose clients, he wrote, "love" Wallace's images of classic cars and wanted to put some in the entry hallway of the home. He continued:

"They unfortunately don’t really have any budget for this however so I was wondering if you’d be interested in sending us the high resolution files if we did the printing so that there is no cost to yourself?”

Well, at least they were going to do all the printing themselves. That was thoughtful.

Wallace, notes PetaPixel, was incredulous that the owners of a luxury home couldn't afford some of his artwork. “And while he chose to use some harsh language and a healthy dose of snark, it’s hard to blame him for being angry at this request,” added PP.

Wallace's response:

“Hi, oh wow that’s so cool and thank you so much for the kind feedback regarding my work. It’s such a tempting offer to supply them with my work for absolutely no benefit to my business what so ever and it’s hard to know what to say.”

He continued:

“I think the fact that they have the revenue to purchase a $12m second ‘coastal retreat’ home would suggest that they are the type of people who feel that they deserve the very best but shouldn’t have to pay for it. Unfortunately I don’t really do business with cheap people and your offer clearly shows me that whilst they love my work they do not respect the hard work that goes in to creating that. Therefore I will have to respectfully suggest that you stick some of that overpriced drift wood art that you interior designers are always so good at knocking out on the wall instead. I’m assuming that you are getting paid or do ‘they love your work too’?”

SLR Lounge summed up the feelings of the entire photographic community — and perhaps the wider creative community — when it noted simply, “Thank you for your service, Tim.”

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:
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1. Meet the American Photo Open 2019 Finalists

After months of judging, this week we revealed the ten finalists of the American Photo Open 2019 competition. Congratulations to Hardijanto Budiman; Julia Fullerton-Batten; Dean Gibson; Corina Howell; Zay Yar Lin; Rebecca Moseman; Tomas Neuwirth; Ernesto Ortiz; Md Tanveer Hassan Rohan; and Alain Schroeder. All will have their work spotlighted in a variety of online venues and at a photo industry event in New York City. They will also pick up some very nice prizes from our partners. And one will be named the winner at our annual American Photography Party in New York City.


2. Greta Thunberg Photographed by Shane Balkowitsch

Shane Balkowitsch has become widely known for his wet-plate photography — much of his work with the 150-year-old process has focused on the lives and history of the Native American communities of North Dakota and Northern Plains, noted Emulsive. (He recently published the Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective.) Earlier this month, Balkowitsch, who is based in Bismark, ND, received a call inviting him to photograph environmental activist Greta Thunberg at the Standing Rock reservation.


3. Dina Goldstein Examines America Through Its Presidential Icons

Dina Goldstein is a connoisseur of disillusionment, we noted. The Vancouver-based fine-art photographer and self-proclaimed "pop surrealist" has taken aim at the false promises of Disney films, mass religion, and advertising in her satirical work. "I make it simple when I describe what I do — I say that I'm looking at iconic characters that are built up in society's collective subconscious though literature or culture," she says. Now Goldstein has finished her latest satirical project, "The 10 Commandments," which examines "layers of deceit" in American politics.


4. Remembering Jill Freedman

"I woke up one day and wanted a camera," Jill Freedman once said. The acclaimed New York City street and documentary photographer, who died on Oct. 9 at age 79, would go on to become a singular photographer, one who immersed herself for months at a time in the lives of street cops, firefighters, circus performers and others in an effort to understand their lives and tell their stories. For photo editor and creative director Maureen Cavanagh, Freedman was more than a great photographer: We featured Cavanagh’s remembrance of the woman who inspired her.


5. These Gravity Defying Dogs Will Amaze You

When Italian photographer Claudio Piccoli looks at a dog, he sees a potential superhero. Piccoli’s aptly named series “Dogs In Action” captures canines soaring, leaping, and bounding with amazing grace and ease. “It usually requires a lot of preparation,” Piccoli told My Modern Met, explaining his process. “It’s very important to explain to the owner what we want to do in the shoot and what we are expecting or how [the dog] should move in the action to be photographed correctly.” The images remind us that dogs are incredible athletes, noted MM.
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At top: From Claudio Piccoli

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