Last week – after an 18-month hiatus – I set up my tent and sold my calendars in person. It was the thing I had missed most during COVID. After checking and re-checking my lists, after counting my inventory, after making contingency plans for weather, after packing the car, I got to be around show people again. It’s a wonder I got through 2020 without them.
Show people are a relaxed bunch. They are not out shopping as much as they’re out living the life. The food and live music and – in the case of Laumeier, the outdoor sculpture installations – are more of a draw than whatever’s being sold in the tents. And that makes shows a little less about selling and a little more about connecting with people.
Every show I’ve ever done has resulted in new insights for selling my work. Visitors to my booth suggest STL sites to feature OR they tell me how they shipped my work to Europe OR they share how they’ve grouped framed prints of mine in their guest rooms. I love hearing all their stories. But last Sunday, a woman shared a first: how she and her granddaughter “reenacted” a YEAR IN THE CITY print!
This woman’s five-year-old granddaughter had been staring at my picture of Piazza Imo last month, insisting it was in California. Finally, the woman relented and offered to take the girl to “California”. Twenty minutes later, they were posing in front of the Piazza Imo fountain, as two women looked on from a nearby bench. And voila! It was A YEAR IN THE CITY LIVE!
It has always been my hope that people might identify with those in my pictures. And it has always been my aim to bring people out of their homes to experience something new. This is the way our “city of neighborhoods” can become a more vibrant and accepting community.
To that end – and inspired by my booth visitor last Sunday – I am introducing “YOU’RE IN THE CITY”, a quarterly contest for the best YEAR IN THE CITY staged reenactment. Visitors to my Facebook page will be encouraged to message me with their photos, and the winner will get a prize package and – get this – a cameo in the 2023 calendar!
It’s a “welcome back” to the great big world of St. Louis, where so much awaits us if we’re willing to be part of it. We don’t even have to go to California.
“You’re in the City” will debut on June 21 on most social media platforms. Any A YEAR IN THE CITY image will be eligible for reenactment. To get inspiration for your staged photo op, see the full gallery of images at https://ayearinthecity.com/product/a-year-in-the-city-archival-prints/