Will You Guarantee Something Your Supplier Won’t?

Will You Guarantee Something Your Supplier Won’t?

Several of our clients have shared with us how they’ve been left hanging when their previous face-mount producers refused to stand behind their product when it failed after the warranty period. These artists were left paying out-of-pocket to re-make, re-crate, and re-ship fine art presentations to their very unhappy buyers. Despite the artist doing the right thing, the experience left their customers lacking the trust they once had to make future purchases. It was an unfortunate situation that both parties should never have experienced.

These stories are never fun to hear, but they are not uncommon. Most face-mount producers won’t guarantee their product beyond a few years — some as short as only 12 months! There is a solid reason for these unfortunate warranty periods — those producers simply cannot trust their own product not to fail! The sad irony is, they expect you to?

Trust is hard-earned. Reed has always stood behind the quality of every single product we’ve ever made. Period. We introduced Diasec face-mount technology to North America because an artist should never have to worry about anything they let out of their studio. They should have faith that their brand and their buyer’s investments are protected. Neither the artist nor the buyer should ever be surprised by an expensive fine art presentation failure.

Our Diasec face-mount simply, Does. Not. Fail. A permanent bond is formed between the print and the acrylic creating a unified piece that will not let go. It is the highest quality face-mount available, yet we price it very competitively. If other companies are pitching you a bargain, trust us, you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.

Whether it’s a Diasec face-mount, pigment print, chromogenic, canvas, or any of our other products, the Reed Team continues to stand behind what we do because we know that the fine-art pieces we produce on your behalf are crafted with the finest materials and finished with the most exacting detail. We’ve never refused to replace a product due to defect. Our in-house artisans are confident enough to stand behind all of our products for years to come.

As a working artist, you should never have to bear the risk of guaranteeing a product that your supplier refuses to guarantee themselves.

Artists Working For Artists

Say hello to Reed's new Master Printer: Sean P. Tracey

Photo by John Harris
"Waylon" by Sean Tracy
"Harvest" by Sean Tracy
"Willie" by Sean Tracy

Carrying on the tradition of excellence that former Reed print manager, Bob Coller Jewett did for 26 years, Sean Tracey personifies the Reed motto: “Artists Working For Artists” — and he does it with a distinctly local flair.

A fifth generation Coloradoan, Sean has navigated his way through the business of art while almost effortlessly blending three distinct vocations, artist (as seen on the lower left) and photographer, with the highly technical trade of commercial and fine art reproduction.

Entering the art business at that crazy point in time when the Digital Revolution was just starting to shake the Old School to its foundations, Sean immersed himself in traditional color correction, while mastering the technique of dry and wet etching of (real) film. Yet, when Photoshop made its first appearance in the early Nineties, he was not so entrenched in the old ways that he could not readily embrace the possibilities of this revolutionary new medium.

A longtime veteran of some of Denver’s most respected art reproduction storefronts, Sean can now add Reed Art & Imaging to his already impressive list of credentials.

Away from Reed, Sean stays busy in the creation of his own vision and credits Denver’s vibrant local art scene for the opportunity to feature and sell his work.

“I’ve been very blessed to have associated with and collaborated with many talented artists in the Denver Metro area. I have consistently averaged at least one solo and a few group art shows each year for over a decade now.”

Sean has always been excited about the possibilities of high-end inkjet printing  and now even more so, given Reed’s longtime dedication to this state-of-the-art method of color reproduction.

“I take great pride and honor in upholding the reputation of quality and excellence that Bob Reed has established for more than forty years. Each day I look forward to working intimately with many types of amazing artists and photographers throughout the country.”

The Reed Team is also excited about the possibilities that Sean Tracey brings to the company and looks forward to many years of working with this “Artist Working for Artists.”

The Big Picture 2019

Barb Pullin and Thomas Carr "hang paper" at 40 West
Getting permission to paste is HIGHLY recommended.

The Gallery of The Streets

The biennial event, Month of Photography 2019 is in full swing, and a big part of MoP is The Big Picture. As usual, Reed Art & Imaging figures heavily into the mix. To date, we’ve printed over 220 large scale wheatpastes for some 25 artists and photographers. This year’s event marks the first time MoP wheatpaste art has been printed in full color.

For the uninitiated, the most commonly known example of this once ubiquitous advertising medium is French painter and printmaker Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who raised the practice of bill posting to the level of street art in the 1890’s with his elaborate scenes of wild Parisian nightlife.

Though the popularity of the art form has ebbed and flowed, it has never gone away, and, in some respects, has even gained in popularity. Known as “flyposting” in the United Kingdom, street artists like Shepard Fairey leverage this old school marketing tactic to make provocative social and political statements, oftentimes in contradiction to the accepted or conventional wisdom of the day.

The basic wheatpaste equation? Image on paper + paste + wall + guerilla attitude = Street Art.

(Street Fine Art?)

As with all things MoP, The Big Picture has been advancing the cause of photography through the art of wheatpaste for some time now. In addition to Denver, Big Picture 2019 exhibitors can be seen in galleries and streets across France, Italy, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, New York, Jamaica and Mexico.

Closer to home, the father of MoP and The Big Picture, Mark Sink spearheads the wheatpaste cause with activities across the Denver Metro area.

Below, Mark & Friends (including some of the Reed gang) on a recent wheatpasting of the south wall of the 40West headquarters in Lakewood.

For more information on MoP 2019 events around town:





All photos by Gary Reed

GRAYS, Curated by Sarah LaVigne and Printed by Reed Art & Imaging


Sarah LaVigne inspects mounted prints in the Reed finishing department

 The Curator

Sarah LaVigne curates ‘Grays’, a gathering of images that explores the world through the eyes of photographers, Annie Marie Musselman, Michael Lewis, Acacia Johnson and Mandy Barker. Reed had the honor of printing and mounting these images for Sarah’s exhibition at SPACE Gallery. The show is sponsored by Picture Society and runs February 12 through March 21. It’s just one of many exciting events scheduled for Month of Photography Denver.


Reed finishing tech cleans a print mounting board

Keeping the print clean and dust free is priority one at Reed Art & Imaging


Reed printer, Dan Walters collects a print off the spooler


The Artists 




"Penalty" By Mandy Barker


Mandy Barker
Mandy Barker_Barnacle-Ball

Mandy with a barnacle encrusted soccer ball

“769 marine debris footballs, plus 223 other types of balls were collected from 41 different countries and islands around the World. They were recovered from 144 different beaches by 89 members of the public after an online appeal over 4 months.”

 ~ Mandy Barker













"Caedus & Ladyhawk"

“Caedus & Ladyhawk”

Annie Marie Musselman

Annie Marie Mussleman

“I photograph through very small holes, in an incredibly strong fence which protects me, but barely keeps me from falling in love with these highly intelligent, beautiful beings.”

~ Annie Marie Musselman














Michael Lewis in Boat


Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis


“Self-portraiture allows me to experience empathy for the people I photograph.  I feel an obligation to my subjects to remain in touch with how it feels to be in front of the camera.

The images shown here originally started off as a series of still-lifes photographed in domestic settings, showing situations which address the repercussions and catastrophes of a common life.  Slowly the ideas drifted into the outside world.  The themes are less literal and more fantastical.  The work evolved and eventually split into two separate bodies of work.  Loosely entitled “Tales,” this new project drifts away from images anchored by reality.   They are constructed open-ended narratives which rely on symbolism and metaphor; as well as mystery.  With intension, often nothing is revealed.”

~ Michael Lewis












Acacia Johnson


“These have been, without question, the radiant highlights of my time in Arctic Bay. I absolutely love it. I try to photograph it, and often I have to resort to digital, because what else are you going to shoot in the dark on the back of a moving Skidoo or dogsled at thirty degrees below zero? At first I perceived this as a failure of some sort, on my behalf. Now I can see it is actually a miracle. That the ISOs of digital allow us to capture images that never could have existed. The best camera is the one you have with you. There will be photographs.”

~ Acacia Johnson














Seeing Things – March 2014 Issue 1


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The Creative Process

By Greg Osborne

Probably the biggest, or at least most common pothole in any creatives road, is the blank page, canvas, screen, etc., that we face every time we sit down to begin a new project. To be creatively blocked can be the scariest thing for someone who makes their living by, essentially, creating something out of nothing. More intrinsically, artists tend to ground their self image in their vocation. To be “not creative'” is akin to “not being”.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of good, sometimes great art instructors who taught me “how to be creative”.

With the delivery of a slightly less sarcastic version of David Letterman, one of my art school instructors gave us this speech (well worn, I’m sure) on the first day of my first class in design school:

“All of you are creative (I hope). At some point, you came to the conclusion that there must be a reason for thinking and doing the weird things that you have thought and done over the course of your short, weird lives. It occurred to you, or someone close to you, that it might be a good idea to use this weirdness to your advantage. That’s why you’re sitting here today. Your main frustration, up to this point, is that your weirdness can be erratic, you don’t know how to turn on the creative light bulb that hovers over your weird little heads whenever you feel like it. This will be essential if you are to have any success in this field. That’s why I am standing here today. I’m going to teach you how to turn that light bulb on whenever you feel like it! [yanks on imaginary cord] I will show you how to spin your weirdness into gold. Not boatloads of gold, but enough gold to buy more than the Ramen noodles that you are currently surviving on.”

Condescending, yes; but, it was undeniably true and came as welcome assurance to the group of misfits who had recently landed in the Spring Quarter, Visual Communications Program at the Colorado Institute of Art (condescending sarcasm, by the way, can be a great motivator!).

What I began to learn there has served me well over the two decades that I’ve been able to call myself a working artist. Perhaps my biggest lesson into the mystery of “turning the lightbulb on’ was learning the Art of The Brainstorm. Or more accurately, The Art of The Solo Brainstorm.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of an organized group of creative types to meet with and play-off each other whenever we need to drum up a great idea. Most of the time, especially if you’re a freelancer or contract worker, you’re pretty much on your own.

There are many schools of thought on this subject. Some business guru-types advocate nine steps to the “perfect” brainstorm; others, as few as four. However it is broken down, these steps can be applied to virtually any creative endeavor. As I am a graphic designer by trade, I will relay my methodology in that regard, but the basic principles will carry over to most any creative area.

Set Your Stage

Get “your stuff” together. All of those things that you need to function creatively; pens, pencils, markers, X-Men action figures. If you’re brainstorming at your computer, and these days, we usually are, disconnect from the usual electronic activities and distractions; email IM, etc. Music is a personal choice. I happen to prefer lyric free, Brian Eno-type ambient music to set my stage.

Destroy Preconceptions

If you’re still using terms like “Thinking outside the box”; you’re probably still somewhere inside the box. Throw “the box” and the metaphor in the imaginary trash can. Even if it’s just in your own mind, stay away from Creative-Speak, Corporate-Speak and the rest of the Cliche-Speaks. Terms like “synergy”, “harmony” and “maximizing (fill in the blank)” are just exercises in semantics. You’re not in a conference room, you’re a creative community of one. I know, I’m probably abusing my own rule somewhere in this article, but you get the idea.

ALSO: Look at stuff outside of your immediate interest area. For instance, when one of the most creative rock musicians and songwriters in history, Jimmy Page, sat down to write, he funneled blues, country, Eastern and international folk music into some of the most groundbreaking rock music in history.

And then…


Feed Your Muse

Surround yourself with creative stimulation. This is something that, in my case, has been acquired over time. In the pre-computer age, it was common to collect “tear sheets” or samples of other peoples work whom you admired, from magazines, books, brochures or other printed materials. This is NOT plagiarism, it is simply collecting and assembling your own version of the design annuals that companies like Graphis and AIGA put out every year.

Of course this can be adjusted to whatever your field happens to be; illustration, photography, writing, etc. Now-a-days, I keep a digital “Grab File” or folder with images that, for whatever reason, captivate me.

RULE OF THUMB: If you find yourself staring at an image for more than a few seconds — even if you hate it — GRAB IT! It may not be obviously apparent, but there is something successful about the image that is holding your attention; something that could provide a spark for the creation of something you DO like in the future. (And just because you don’t think that it’s “good” doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t.)



All creative works, good, bad or otherwise, can be a valuable solo-brainstorming exercise in themselves. Google a competitor’s product and de-construct it to find out why it succeeds — or not — at capturing your attention or communicating the idea.


Crank Out The Good The Bad and The Ugly Ideas

Do not edit yourself! This is a rock solid principle of the group brainstorm. Whether you use a white board, “mind map” method, or you’re just “sketching out” ideas in Photoshop; keep turning out possibilities — half baked and otherwise. This is the time for quantity; not quality. Ideas are like lily pads; most of the time they exist just to get to the next — hopefully — brilliant lily pad. Spend as much time as you need to get it down, make quick notes or adjustments if necessary, and move on.

Like Albert Einstein said: “Nothing happens until something moves.”


Step Back

At this point in your solo brainstorm, it’s a good move to step away from the project. When the ideas stop flowing, it’s time to take a break. Or, if you have the luxury of walking away for awhile, completely remove yourself from the project. Very often, I will jump between projects when I feel that I’m getting stale. Clear your creative palette and re-visit it later.



Now is the time to cull your ideas. At this point, the good stuff will be apparent and the seemingly crappy or borderline stuff is ready to reveal any fruit that might be ripe for the picking. You’ll know where to cut your losses with the dead end stuff. With fresh eyes and a fresh outlook, the obvious solution(s) quite often jump right out at you.

These tried and true tips and techniques have helped me through some scary-dry creative spells. You can tailor them to fit your particular craft, profession or needs, of course. And hopefully, they’ll help to put you on a relatively smooth, creative road — without the potholes.

And please, feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, comments. We can only make this process better with your help!

2014 Denver Month of Printmaking is Here!
By Reed Art & Imaging
Month of Printmaking Denver (Mo’Print) is a celebration of the art of making original prints to inspire, educate and promote awareness through a variety of public events and exhibitions in Denver and the metropolitan region. For a full schedule of programs and events, go to: http://moprint.org/
The Epic Austin Music History Chronicles
Photography & Words Of Scott Newton
By Reed Art & Imaging

Photographer Scott Newton has been an avid observer chronicling the evolution of music, politics, and his own personal life in Austin, Texas, since 1970– from The Armadillo in the early 70s through 35 years of Austin City Limits.
If you love the Texas music scene of the 1970s & ’80s, well then friends, this is right up your alley. Scott’s photography is among my favorite ever of this era and of the characters that he brilliantly and intimately captured with his lens… And his personal commentary is icing on the cake. Enjoy.
Colorado Photography Festival™
By Reed Art & Imaging
The 4th Annual Colorado Photography Festival will be held from June 7-14, 2014. Ten of the nation’s premier photographers will give instruction in the classroom and in the field on numerous aspects of professional photography, from capturing your images to optimizing them in Lightroom. This year’s instructors are Glenn Randall, Dan Ballard, Russ Burden, Andy Cook, Jay Goodrich, Jan Kabili, Mike Berenson, Joseph Roybal, Gene Tewksbury, and Grant Collier.

You Can Now Embed Getty Images’ Gorgeous Photos On Your Blog for Free
By Reed Art & Imaging
    This is shaking up the stock imagery business a little bit. Getty Images is now letting you embed their images for free; with a few, not unreasonable conditions. For more info, go to: http://gizmodo.com
2014 International Call for Entries

By Reed Art & Imaging
This year, CPAC and Center Santa Fe are partnering on the exhibition component of Center’s Project Launch award.

Project Launch is presented to an outstanding photographer working in fine art series or documentary project. The grant includes a cash award to help complete or disseminate the works as well as providing a platform for exposure and professional development opportunities.

This grant is awarded to complete or nearly completed projects that would benefit from the award package. It requires signature of a contract to participate in an exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Arts, during Review Santa Fe and then will travel to CPAC for a second exhibit in 2014.

Learn more at Center
By Reed Art & Imaging

Gallery showings and events can be key to sales for the artists as the go-to event for art buyers. Openings and the ensuing sales are the life-blood of successful galleries. We’ve put together a few resources for the artists and the galleries that rep them.


More Call for Entries:

These lists are national and current. If you have a favorite list you want to share, let us know and we’ll pass it along next month.

http://galleryphotographica.com/     2014 San Francisco International Photography Exhibition

http://www.adobeawards.com/us/   Adobe Design Achievement Awards

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/rps-international-competition-157-call-for-entries-23957   RPS International Competition 157 Call For Entries

A few places to get exposure for your gallery:

These may not be the usual place you list an art show, but the usual places might not be the first place the potential buyer looks. Adding these to your existing list can widen your marketing reach and increase buzz.
Zvents.com  The feedback we have heard directly is that zvents.com has helped get events listed first page on Google and increase event attendance. 
Yelp.com  Yes it’s a review site, but their mobile app offers up a “Things to do in the area” list. Perfect for drawing in folks who are already out on the town and in your neighborhood. Ask your artists and your attendees to leave a review. 


Foursquare.com  Another mobile friendly way to bring locals right to your door. Encourage your artists and show attendees to check in to foursquare and leave a review. The more reviews, the better the exposure and the higher the traffic potential. The potential from crowd-sourced marketing is huge. 
Have some great ideas? Drop us a line and we’ll add them next month. 
Show Off Your Skills & Earn Cool Stuff!
Thanks to Wendi over at wsphotodesign.com for sharing this one with us:

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Reed E-News February 2014

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What’s All This Talk About TrueArt?
By Reed Art & Imaging
For newer members of the Reed family and for those who have been with us for awhile and are just curious

The TrueArt ™ Experience is Reed Art & Imaging’s proven creative and commercial methodology that ensures an amazing outcome for everyone who walks through our doors. This method is designed to guide you through all phases of the business and creative process by assessing and matching your needs to our comprehensive line of products and services. Reed devised this unique approach to not just simply meet your needs, but exceed your expectations.

Okay, that’s the "elevator speech”, but how do we actually accomplish this?



To start with, every person at Reed Art & Imaging is passionate about quality, creativity and precision; and everyone here is creative in their own way. Many of us are working artists. That’s why you will hear us say at times; "artists working for artists". The business of "imaging" has moved at a lightening pace over the years; good shops have come and gone. In a bittersweet way, Reed has been the beneficiary of this upheaval by acquiring some of the best artistic, photographic and printing talent in the region.


Reproducing fine art, photography, rare family photos, or any visual display is always a collaborative process. With that said, a successful collaboration always starts with getting to know one another. It’s talked about so often that it’s almost a cliche, but we truly do LISTEN to you. In addition to what is actually being spoken, real listening often means understanding what is left unsaid or unexplained. That’s what we ‘listen’ for most of all. With this in mind, we are able to feel out those questions or desires that customers sometimes have trouble verbalizing when they’re unfamiliar with a product or service, or maybe just looking for another direction to go in.

We don’t fill your head with sales pitches and product babble, You talk; we listen; then you talk and we listen some more. When you’ve ‘talked yourself out’, then we advise. Understand, we want you to stay, but If the best solution for you means recommending one of our competitors; then that’s what we will do.

We assume nothing more than your expectation of quality and desire for a satisfying customer experience.  


As ‘creatives’, it is easier to put ourselves in your shoes when you walk through our doors for the first time. Whether you’re a professional artist, photographer, serious intermediate, or someone coming in for a simple, one-off gift for a friend or loved one; we will help you to maximize your budget for the absolute best results.


We are also not just a storefront business, we are a hive of creative activity that loves to share our knowledge with our guests. If you are more comfortable with seeing the process over being told the process, then a tour of the facilities will gladly be offered. We will be happy to teach you as much as you want to know.


Oftentimes a client’s frustration comes from ‘Not Knowing’. This can be anything from not having a clear picture of a technique or procedure, unanswered questions, not knowing how to ask the right question, or simply not being kept in the loop during the job process. The TrueArt™ process builds this accountability into the job flow. Again, it gets back to listening and anticipating the needs of our guests.

And when it’s all done; we do it again.  It’s easy to do a great job once. The real trick is doing it over and over again. In the end analysis, Quality with Consistency, is what Reed Art & Imaging strives for. We are…

"At Your Service".


Farm Fresh Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Cover Art Contest

Cash prize provided by Colorado Creative Industries

DENVER – Weds., Feb. 6, 201
Colorado Creative Industries and the Colorado Department of Agriculture today announced a cover art contest in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Colorado Farm Fresh Directory, a listing of farms, farmers’ markets, CSAs, u-picks and roadside stands that offer fresh produce and other farm products direct to the consumer. Amateur and professional artists are encouraged to submit original artwork for the contest. The winning entry will be featured on the cover of the 2014 Colorado Farm Fresh Directory and the artist will receive $500 courtesy of Colorado Creative Industries.

Entries must relate to Colorado agriculture in some way. Artwork may be created in any medium, but must be submitted as digital files. The Farm Fresh Directory is the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s most popular publication, and 110,000 copies of Farm Fresh will be distributed statewide the last week of May. 

"Year after year people look forward to this popular publication," said Wendy White, marketing specialist at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "We hope the cover art contest gets people even more excited about this year’s Farm Fresh."

The 2014 Farm Fresh Directory will be available on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website, www.coloradoagriculture.com. The deadline for entries is March 14, 2014. For more contest information, contact Loretta Lopez at 303-239-4115 or visit www.coloradoagriculture.com.

About Colorado Creative Industries:

Colorado’s Creative Industries Division, Colorado’s state arts agency, is a division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Established to capitalize on the immense potential for our creative sector to enhance economic growth in Colorado, the mission of Colorado Creative Industries is to promote, support and expand the creative industries to drive Colorado’s economy, grow jobs and enhance our quality of life. For more information, please visit www.coloradocreativeindustries.org. 

The Photographery of Lynsey Adderio
By Reed Art & Imaging
I’m not sure if I can come up with a great definition of art, but as the old saying goes "I know it when see it". The photojournalism of Lynsey Addario will run you through the gamut of human emotion. Her subjects are often heartbreaking as they are breathtaking. They’re never boring as they illuminate the Human Condition like few others can.
See and Be Seen
By Reed Art & Imaging

Gallery showings and events can be key to sales for the artists as the go-to event for art buyers. Openings and the ensuing sales are the life-blood of successful galleries. We’ve put together a few resources for the artists and the galleries that rep them.


Call for Entries:

These lists are national and current. If you have a favorite list you want to share, let us know and we’ll pass it along next month.

http://galleryphotographica.com/     2014 San Francisco International Photography Exhibition

http://www.adobeawards.com/us/   Adobe Design Achievement Awards

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/rps-international-competition-157-call-for-entries-23957   RPS International Competition 157 Call For Entries

A few places to get exposure for your gallery:

These may not be the usual place you list an art show, but the usual places might not be the first place the potential buyer looks. Adding these to your existing list can widen your marketing reach and increase buzz.
Zvents.com  The feedback we have heard directly is that zvents.com has helped get events listed first page on Google and increase event attendance. 
Yelp.com  Yes it’s a review site, but their mobile app offers up a "Things to do in the area" list. Perfect for drawing in folks who are already out on the town and in your neighborhood. Ask your artists and your attendees to leave a review. 

Foursquare.com  Another mobile friendly way to bring locals right to your door. Encourage your artists and show attendees to check in to foursquare and leave a review. The more reviews, the better the exposure and the higher the traffic potential. The potential from crowd-sourced marketing is huge. 
Have some great ideas? Drop us a line and we’ll add them next month. 
OVER 150 PHOTO CONTESTS: Show Off Your Skills & Earn Cool Stuff!
Thanks to Wendi over at wsphotodesign.com for sharing this one with us:
If you no longer wish to receive our emails, click the link below:

Reed Art & Imaging 888 Federal Blvd Denver, Colorado 80204 United States (800) 999-8084

An Autumn Downtown Littleton Photo Contest

Andy Marquez loves Littleton and he wants to show it. So much so, that the renowned local photographer and gallery owner is sponsoring the “An Autumn Downtown Littleton Photo Contest”. Submit your five best photographs that you feel capture the beauty and charm of Downtown Littleton.



Shots must be taken from

Monday, October14th, through Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Deadline for entry is Monday, December 2nd

Reed Art & Imaging will offer a one time, 20% DISCOUNT, just for entering the contest

BEST OF SHOW winner receives a 21 Hour Intensive Photoshop Training 5 DVD Set

from Reed Art & Imaging

Additional prizes for —

1st PLACE, 2nd PLACE, B & W and Color

— courtesty of Colorado Business Bank, Colorado Frame Company and

McKinner’s Pizza — with much more to come!

Winners will be announced December 1st, 2013

Please call (303) 797-6040 for more information


An Interview with Mark Sink

RAI_Mark Sink Interview 3

—Photo ilustration by Greg Osborne

Photographer/curator /artist and probable wearer of many other hats, Mark Sink has been as integral to the Denver art community as a certain quarterback has been to the Denver sports scene. An artist who, despite his many successes, has remained as easily approachable and true to his art as he was as a kid studying painting and printmaking at Metro State College in the seventies. Sink is a strong proponent of the ‘less is more’ school of photography; capturing stunningly beautiful images with low-tech tools like the Diana toy camera and the age-old Wet Plate Collodian process. As he made a point of telling us: “My career is very non-photo serious, I’ve used toy cameras much of my career. I’m a ‘reverse technology-o-phile’— going the other direction, you know? The Big Picture comes from that.”

Amongst his many achievements, Sink is responsible for Denver’s Month of Photography (MoP), one of many “Month of Photography” events around the world that bring together an eclectic mix of local artists, galleries and creatives for a month long celebration of the art of photography.He also used the camera obscura in his paintings to help with architectural alignment.

Reed Art & Imaging sat down with Mark in the kitchen of his home in the old Highlands neighborhood of Denver to talk primarily about MoP, but it was hard to limit the conversation to just one facet of a thirty five-plus year artistic journey. The life of Mark Sink has been anything but uneventful…

First of all, Reed Art & Imaging would like to offer our congratulations for your recent selection as the inaugural recipient of the 2013 “Hal Gould ViP Award” (Vision in Photography) for your many contributions to the local art community. Can you talk about what it means to you?

Well, it’s a great honor. Hal is one of the biggest figures Colorado has had in photography. He was forwarding photography before it was considered an art form. The Director of the Denver Art Museum, at the time, Otto Bach said, [affects an overly-officious voice] “Photography will never be shown as art in our museum.” So Hal parked his Camera Obscura Gallery right across the street— and not by accident! He was a photographer himself and was one of the co-founders of the Colorado Center for Photography [CPAC}. He championed Ansel Adams and sold his prints at his gallery for $150 a piece. His real estate stories themselves were something!

How did the award come about?

The Colorado Center for Photography felt that there ought to be an annual award to recognize people who have been forwarding photography throughout the years, so they put it together just to do that.

For those who might be unfamiliar, can you fill us in on your background? Give us, if you will, a quick Mark Sink Time Line to the present, or as far back as you care to go.

Samuel F.B. Morse

Samuel F.B. Morse
— Photo courtesy of Mark Sink

As far back as I want to go? Well, it gets pretty hairy if you go back within my family, if we’re going to bring that on [smiles]. Well, starting with Samuel Finley Breese Morse, he took the first photograph in America; the first photographic portrait ever taken. He’s my great uncle. He was a portrait painter who invented the Morse Code. He also used the camera obscura in his paintings to help with architectural alignment.


Photo courtesy of Mark Sink

My great grandfather, James L. Breese, was a portrait photographer in New York City in the late 1800’s. I currently use his cameras. Here– I can walk you around. [Sink proceeds to give us “The Tour” of his home, a veritable treasure trove of historical artifacts, photos, art, and camera equipment, etc.]. He was the founder of “Camera Notes” that was put out by the Camera Club of New York with Alfred Stieglitz. It opens on the first page saying [Sink reads from an old hardcover copy of Camera Notes] “James L. Breese, primary inspiration of the Camera Club of New York…”.

Here’s an example of some of his work with Cosmopolitan Magazine, in one of these from 1892, there’s a fantastic article where he describes “The relationship of photography to art”. That was pretty early on.

James Breese started the Carbon Studio where they had a wild party for his best friend, [architect] Stanford White, [reading from article] “…when the pie was breeched, out of the crust, a flock of canaries accompanied by [a naked] sixteen year old Suzy Johnson…” . That was the first girl popping out of a cake – well, a pie at first – that’s where that all started,

From the nursery rhyme? (Sing a Song of Sixpence: four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie…)

Right! So, of course, it basically credits James L. Breese here: [reading dramatically from article] “Soon the studio and his Carbonites came under fire as the secret place of lascivious intrigue, and was used by a number of well known photographers. Breese was the ultimate ‘social register’…”. So, basically, they’re saying James L. Breese was the reason for his [Stanford White’s] downfall.

Yeah, he ran around with a pretty fast crew. [laughs] Got in a lot of trouble. There was this gigantic scandal that happened with Stanford White, who was going with the super-model of the time Evelyn Nesbitt (the original “Gibson Girl” in popular advertising of the era) and was later murdered by her husband, who walked up to him at Madison Square Garden and shot him dead. It was called the “Crime of The Century”.

But all that is a book someday…his life. Anyway, it’s exciting to use his equipment.

Just a few of Mark's "toys"

Just a few of Mark’s “toys”
— Photo by Gary Reed

Then in here, of course, are cameras that I use regularly. The Diana I used for a large part of my career. I use these 19th century box cameras, they work fantastic for the collodion wet plate process. And this plastic Ansco panoramic that you can still get for $6.95, it’s the “Diana” of wide angle photography. There’s also the Lensbaby on an SLR; it shifts the plane of focus, like what you can do with 4×5 view cameras, so you can make your eye focus on one thing and make everything else drop away. It became a super-sought after advertising tool. I can show you examples in print and  TV,  it’s become very common for food photography where it will show you one thing in focus and everything else drops way, w-a-y out of hard focus. Some portrait photographers have adopted it to give a sort of dreamy, pinhole effect. Well, you all saw my toy camera workshop, lots of tips– tiny little tips like that.


Currently, I’m very excited, my wife and I are working with this rare Japanese tissue doing a platinum and Cyanotype mix using UV exposure. We’re having fun gardening outside and exposing the prints for about ten minutes while we pull weeds and stuff . When they’re ready we just wash the prints out with water.

Some of the Sink's Wetplate photography

Some of the Sink’s Wetplate photography
— Photo by Gary Reed

We have to ask. Andy Warhol?

Oh Andy. Just today, Christie’s is auctioning off a picture of ‘Me and Andy’. I was there. I didn’t even know it was happening, It showed up on Facebook. There’s a gazillion interviews and stuff that you can find on my blog.

Okay, we’ll check them out, but is there anything that you haven’t talked about much?

Well, you know, it was a super, super lucky chance to be able to introduce myself to him and connect with him in Fort Collins where they were having an exhibition in his honor. He put me on staff with Interview magazine that day. I was an aspiring photographer in school and Interview magazine was like god to me. I told him that and he said, “Oh well, you can represent us in Colorado!” I was on the masthead the next month. I was going down to the Metro State College and it was a funny two worlds you know. I would go and hang out with Warhol and [have] dinner with Mick Jagger and come back and develop my film in the film lab. You know, it was just so strange. People would go, “That looks like Mick Jagger!

So it was back and forth between two polar opposite worlds?

Back to struggling, starving, putting myself through school at Metro-world, developing my own film in the darkroom. So, after about a year I figured I should pack up the car and head out to New York. New York went great guns except that the commercial studio world was not quite what it was cracked up to be in art school, shooting catalogue work and editorial things, and zero artistically speaking. So I was really kind of wilting – making great money – but wilting. So I started a little darkroom and started printing my Diana work again and got a little show and I started photographing work for other artists.

Andy in his office

Andy in his office
— Photo by Mark Sink

About what time was this?

Mid-eighties. So I came alive again because I was immersed in the art community instead of doing catalogs of clothing. I was doing catalogs of artwork; shot a lot of Warhols. Shot a young artist that has just gone beyond the stratosphere, Jean-Michel Basquiat whose canvases are going for $50, $60 million. I shot his work for about six years. Most of the work you see online or anything, I photographed for him. We were friends. I didn’t have a very high opinion of him at the time, he was pretty drugged-up. I was part of the…well, I was the worker guy. I was the guy that came in to photograph stuff – ‘the help’. So, in the eighties, from the outside looking in, it was the Haves and the Have-nots, all the multi-millionaires and then all this talent and struggling artists and high rents, just like it is today. It’s this gigantic divide where you’ve either made it and you’re a gazillionaire, or you’re struggling – what I call ‘running up the down escalator’ [laughs] – one of my favorite sayings! I don’t seem to see as much of that anymore, people are super-lazy these days…kids are.

To what do you attribute that to? Is it the Digital Age?

That’s a lot of what I’m exploring with the show, ‘The Reality of Fiction’ [http://redlineart.org/art/events/exhibitions/reality-of-fiction.html/] over this disentachment from reality. We’ve sort of separated ourselves from reality; everyone has credit and has cars that are bigger than what they can afford to drive. They live in these fake over-extended houses and friendships on social media. You know, we’ve sort of just quietly stepped off into a process of, you know…don’t get me wrong, digital is genius and I use it constantly, but theres a crossover when people are trying to replicate a platinum print, you know, that gets into the Instagram thing. As long as it looks like the real thing, what does it matter? This sort of Disney fantasy effect is starting to take over and I think its embedded into kids getting lost in Facebook and video games; a sort of separation from reality. Even, for instance, wilderness photography that is shot on “nature farms”.

‘Nature farms’?

Oh yeah. The show ‘Nature’ owns a gazillion square miles up in Wyoming where they string out all the wires [with cameras] to follow the birds in flight. They have there little sectional studios for the beavers.

I had no idea they went to that extent.

It’s all staged. That’s what I’m saying, it’s putting real nature into a controlled environment. It’s like “How did they get into that den?”. You have to watch carefully. It’s like that series ‘Surviver Man’. You get the feeling that he’s out there barely existing but if you read the credits at the end it says something like, “Some scenes were re-created to give…”. Again, they’ll shoot some of the scenes in more of a controlled environment and cut them into the show later. So we’ve become more and more and more aware of this disentachment. You start to get this on your brain and you start watching out for whether things are being true to the medium or not and whether things are [built] honest with honest building materials. This house over here [points to the neighboring home across the alley], this rock, Italian villa we have over here – styrofoam. You can knock on it, it’s hollow “rock” [knocks on kitchen counter]. The strips that go around the window that look like solid concrete? The Mexican guys were putting these things on in the wind, they slap it on and bam, bam bam, they got it on and they stood back and you could see them go: “E-h e-h…it’s OK-ay” [laughs].

Probably not feeling much like real craftsmen?

No, but they [the owners] sold the place for $1.6 million.

Okay, so how does art bridge artiface? Is making an illusion of an illusion a valid art form?

Well, you can get into that philosophically, but it’s all illusion in photography, there’s no truth. If anyone tells you photography is fact – it’s not fact.

I read just recently that all photography is an opinion.

Well, theres a fantastic show at the Metropolitan Museum called Faking It [http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/faking-it] showing how photography’s been faked since Daguerreotypes. It’s a long, long history of this sort of fantasized reality that photography’s been doing, which, in some ways, is why I’m struggling a little bit with going backwards. That’s why I love Polaroids, why I like Collodian Wet Plate. The light strikes the plate; what’s captured on that plate – that’s it. That’s BOOM, that’s it! There’s something really honest about that. And I like that…there’s something…anytime someone starts to f*ck with it, digitize it, or whatever you want to do with your photography, I don’t know. When it starts to get f*cked with; dabbing up those highlights, making those eyes a little brighter, da-da-da, cleaning out all the complexity, dabble, dabble, dabble…. You know, you can just feel it!

…stop being art?

Anything is art, I don’t think anything can stop it from being art. Art is what you say it is…anything can be art.

Is there a definition of art?

My definition of art is, uh-m-m…I forgot my definition of art! [laughs]No, it’s craft, craftsmanship. Creating and having a personal voice. Woodworkers are artists. A laborer who does a beautiful concrete job, I feel is beautiful art. But, if you don’t have that craft, everything drops off. But then there’s Damien Hirst who does the splosh, spin art. [laughs]

I left off with him during his bisected cow phase.

He’s a piece of work. He is a piece of work…

Can we quote you on that?

[laughs] Sure.

On that note – it’s on to MoP! The Month of Photography project is international, Denver has gained a lot of recognition and respect thanks to your efforts. What is the MoP story? When and where did it originate?

Well, I’ve always sort of naturally curated even before I knew what the word meant. I like getting groups of people together. I used to do it on the Internet, at least what I thought was the Internet with America Online in the early nineties. I was actually on America Online in the Kodak Photography Forum. I would gather a group of people and ask questions and then answer the questions just to start a conversation [laughs] within the fine art photography forum.

Just to get the ball rolling?

And it got rolling. People, well known photographers like Jock Sturges and a lot of very interesting people got aboard, so see, here I go off on these tangents…I’m so sorry, you’re going to have to do a lot of fast-forwarding to get…

That’s okay Mark, digital paper is cheap.

Okay, so I should say I’ve curated, I’ve done it on the Internet and curated art shows at school and, you know, that led to curating galleries. It’s kind of this power in numbers, gathering people to get together to put on events. I formed a group called The Denver Salon to show people’s artwork that I admired and brought them together. Once we had a group I would submit that to galleries in New York and museums in Aspen and the Denver Art Museum, and we got the shows. If I had submitted my work by myself, I never would have gotten a show. That’s what I meant by power in numbers.

So, we submitted together with our Internet group. We called it FAPB, Fine Art Photography Board, and a book was published on it, actually the history of it. We got the front page of the Arts Section of The Wall Street Journal. We were the first Internet art Show – it was called “Off The Highway” – where I got everyone together that was in this group. When it first started everyone was like BIG talkers. I would come and say, “I use a little toy camera!” and they’d be all, “What the f*ck?!” [laughs] I was like, “It doesn’t matter, it’s CONCEPT that matters.” And it was all [in deep, pretentious voice],“Naw, I use a Hassleblah, blah, blah…”You know, a lot of BIG TALKERS. And so I was like, okay, “Put your images where your mouth is…”.

So, in the Kodak forum was the Kodak Image Library where you could upload work, but there was no way to put it together in a folder, so it had to be organized by title. The title [file name prefix] had to have the name ‘Bob’. Bob Landscape, Bob whatever; so all the B’s – all the Bob [files] – would all come together. So it was the Bob Show. And that’s when I saw this work from people from all over the country and I was amazed. So I offered to do the Rule Gallery, a show for Robin Rule. We did the show and it got written up as: “HIGHWAY SHOW TAKES WRONG TURN” [laughs] Yeah, the critic didn’t like it. But we got wrote up in The Wall Street Journal.

How did that morph into MoP in Denver?

So, MoP again, is coordinating a group of people within photography. The inspiration comes from the Houston FotoFest which I started going to as a photographer to show and have my work reviewed at the Meeting Place [FotoFest’s portfolio review event]. Then I would go throughout the city to all the events at the FotoFest. The founders, Fred [Baldwin] and Wendy [Watriss] were inspired by a Month of Photography in Arles, France. That was the earliest, earliest one. So the Houston FotoFest is the monster, it’s huge. I became friends with them and started bringing their shows to Denver.


That was the inspiration for Denver?

Yeah, that’s where I got the inspiration that I could do this in Denver. I should do this in Denver. The Houston directors, Fred and Wendy, came out and they were very supportive. Their concept of having a portfolio review where everyone can show work with different themes and where galleries can become a part of that theme. Every year they’ll have a different one like Russia or China. This year is The Middle East. One year it was War, one year it was Mexican photography, another time it was Czech and Slovak photography. So, they’ve been doing it for a long, long time. They started in 1992. I have all their catalogs here. [Shows us beautifully printed Houston FotoFest catalogs from years past.] So, my mission is to eventually have a catalog like these for MoP Denver. We actually did a mini version of this for the Le Journal de la Photographie.

You were recently interviewed by them, correct?

Yeah. What’s neat is that you can get on their website and type in “MoP Denver” in the search box and all three pages will come up with everything we did for MoP Denver; The Big Picture and all the other stuff.

So, it almost sounds as if MoP is, I don’t want to say franchised, but people are picking it up in other cities.

There’s a lot of interest, yeah.

I came across a piece online in which Art News referred to the Denver art world very condescendingly. While the writer was very complimentary of the level of work coming from the local contributors to the MoP project, he/she seemed somewhat surprised that it was happening here— to use their phrase, “…they have emerged with great fortitude from a most unlikely place, Denver, Colorado.”

Yeah, that was an Art News quote on our Denver Salon group when we showed in New York City in the mid 90’s, ’98 maybe. It still hasn’t changed. LA, New Yorkers; we all do it, it’s human nature, like someone might say “Artwork in Austin?! Are there contemporary galleries in Austin?!” I have very educated, worldly, well known people who go, “You have a contemporary gallery in Denver?”. Honestly, I’m not saying that to be mean; they really think we’re still running cattle down the wooden sidewalks. You know, there’s just nothing really there between New York and LA, or Paris or Berlin.

Still, with the Internet it hasn’t faded at all?

Sure, we get some attention when a new wing goes up on the Denver Art Museum. There’s a newer generation out there that are a little hipper. We’re looked on as a close comparison to places like Seattle or Portland.

Not a bad way to be looked at.

It’s not bad at all, but we’re still not up there with the big boys. We’re still looked on as upstarts.

In recent years, we’ve seen a big jump in the popularity of wheat paste art. In its turn of the century heyday, it was used primarily as a carrier of advertising and political messages. Now we’re seeing the medium used almost exclusively for artistic purposes, from serious to whimsical themes and everything in between. How much, if any, has wheat pasting become the message as opposed to being the bearer of the message, as it relates to the artistic community? Is it simply another avenue for artists to exhibit, or do you think it inspires them to get out and shoot just for the purpose of wheat pasting?


Wheatpasting the south side of the Reed Art & Imaging building on Federal Blvd.

Well, with the Internet, artists are more and more desperate than ever to be shown in a gallery. The idea of a gallery is even more exciting. You can post and post and post but to actually get your work in a gallery is even more intense than it was before. Your art is physically up on the wall. But the galleries are very hard to get into.

The validation factor of having one’s art in a gallery is even bigger post-Internet?

Yeah, probably, more so than in pre-Internet times. That’s a tough question.

This is probably a touchy thing to say around your company [Reed Art & Imaging], but I like the wheat paste thing because it’s free, you know? There’s no galleries, no money being exchanged. It’s back to that thing that I’m really attracted to; things that are really pure and honest. It’s a really pure form of inspiration and showing your work. There’s n-o-o money to be made, no galleries jacking prices up and paying artists. I get a big kick out of it and people really respond to it. There’s something there that really touches people when there’s no ads and stuff. That’s why when I push really hard for no big logos, people are like, [in manic, desperate voice] “WELL, HOW WILL PEOPLE FIND OUT WHERE I AM?!”. You have to be pretty lame not to be able to find information on it [MoP]. But that’s where I need to get better, we do need to have some way where people can go very easily and directly to the artist. In the future, we’ll probably do the whatchamacallit, the thing where you point your phone…

A QR code?

Right, but on the MoP sign, not on the artwork itself. I’d like to keep that sort of subtleness. Pretty soon, after awhile, people will start figuring it out and liking it, and knowing it – “Oh, that’s The Big Picture!”. You know, even now you type it in and it comes right to the top of Google.

You’re talking about building a brand, then?

Right. People will start figuring it out and liking it and seeing it.

Is ‘The BIG Picture’ a stand alone project, or is it an official part of MoP?

It’s stand alone and also married to MoP because I do it every MoP. It was conceived during and for the Month of Photography. We did a Big Picture book that didn’t have anything to do with MoP.

You own The BIG Picture and MoP; there’s no conflicting legalities between the two?

I’m MoP and I’m Big Picture [laughs]. I can sue myself .

How does all of this extend internationally?

The original concept that I wanted to do many years ago…I was going to get Epson or another sponsor to make big printouts and it was going to be a “mile long walk of photography” that would end up at some big center of photography like Red Line or whatever. It would be people submitting work from all over the world. And then I saw that a group had done something like this in subways where people would submit work. They’d send a digital file and it gets printed out and posted. So, that was floating in my head. Then an artist came and wheat-pasted the bathroom door in my gallery. She was doing wheat pastings as interior decorations. So I thought, “That’s c-o-o-o-l — I like that!”. So the idea of The Mile Walk came together with wheatpasting and that’s about the time JR, a French street artist– the guy that does the big faces all over the world – won the [2011] TED Prize. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JR_(artist)] So, all this was coming together all at once. So, I said, “Okay, we’re going to do an ‘out the door – out of the gallery – in the alley– down the street, thing.” So, we did a call for submissions to people all over the world.

It always gets a little touchy, the selection process. There were never any stated rules or judges listed or anything. The selection of work was basically at my discretion, I think that’s what people sort of accept. It’s been amazing the last few times we’ve done this – I don’t even like talking about it – I hope it kind of stays like this, but there aren’t contracts of release and re-use and publishing. You know you’re sending me this fairly high resolution file, we’re printing it in a book and doing this and that with it. So far, no one has questioned it and I really like that. I feel there’s a trust there. I’m sending out files, my favorite pieces of other artist’s work, to other cities, for them to put up in those cities. And much of it is heavily Denver-centric.

Everything has stayed at a friendly level?

So far, so good.

Are there any up and coming “Mark Sinks” in Denver, you know – artist/curator/patron…?

There’s a lot of people, a whole new Generation that’s springing up…but, let’s see… Adam Gildar, he did a great job with The Big Picture. He’s real go-go; takes on multiple projects. He started a group called Art Plant that gets studio spaces for artists. If he stays in Denver, he’ll be a major institution; he already is, actually. And there’s several others.

Do you think photography’s future is in good hands here in Denver?

Well, something that’s been rumbling around for awhile is that we need a photography center. A big one that could house the Colorado Center for Photography, that could house The Denver Darkroom. And I’m fearful of even using the word “photography”; “new media” is the best I can describe it at this point.

Can it get any bigger without you overworking yourself, and do you even want it to get bigger?

Well, that’s it, that’s what I’m struggling the most with in my own life. That’s what happened when I started my gallery. I thought I could do the gallery and put up a beautiful show and do my photography and be an artist. To do a successful gallery takes all of your time. My photography went into the toilet. Again, I was wilting like the New York thing, you know? Things would go good financially when I ran up the down escalator – crank up the media machine, the light bulb goes on, the critics come and everything happens – but as soon you slack off, [makes dying engine noise] whir-r-r-r-r, people stop coming in.

Mark Sink 2

Mark Sink, June 2013
— Photo by Greg Osborne

What do you do then, hire on more help?

Well you hire on salespeople and you have this, like, used car salesman person, that I just don’t like. You know they can sell, but that whole thing of them standing there [shudders]. I mean, they could sell, but I just couldn’t stand listening to them making contact calls, you know? It would just make my skin crawl. Going on and on; I’d end up taking the phone away from them [in overly-apologetic cartoon voice] “Sorry, I have this obnoxious salesman working here…”. If I left him on the phone he would probably make sale. So, I struggled with all that. If I did it again it would probably be non-profit, like The Center for Photography where you get corporate support. I have a lot better time of it when I’m pitching something I’m really passionate about. Every corporation in Denver has to dump money for tax write offs at the end of the year, so if you can spark an interest, you’re in.

So, to wind it up, how do you see Mark Sink and MoP in the future?

MoP? I like it the way it is, [laughs] I know how much I can do. I know what the saturation point, the workload is, and I know that more galleries want to join in, so I feel comfortable with that, and there will be fine tuning. I need to form a board with it, it needs to go 5013c. Right now, it’s sheltered by RedLine. But I am struggling with that growth, I like it where it is right now [laughs] it’s big enough!

5 Ways Your Camera Can Get You Busted


One of the basic rules of citizen and professional journalism is:

“If it’s in public view and you’re on public property, you have the right to photograph it.”

Most of us would rather spend a week in the Department of Motor Vehicles before intentionally breaking the law. Unfortunately, as in all of life, the above rule is subject to many grey areas, areas that, without some forethought and a healthy dose of common sense, can spell legal trouble for Joe or Jane Photographer. So there are some caveats to consider before planning your next public photo venture.

An addendum to the first rule:

“Just because you have the right to take a picture does not always mean it’s prudent to do so.”

Also remember, there’s a big difference between taking a photo and how a photo is utilized, especially in regards to its commercial use. The issue of copyright is vast and ever-changing but that’s another story for another day. This list will focus on keeping you out of hot water during the photo op.


1) The Clear As Mud “Reasonable Expectation of Privacy” Rule

Be it amateur or professional photography, photojournalism or just plain photo-opportunism, the old catch-all rule of “reasonable expectation of privacy” is being strained to its limits.

Digital photography, the Internet, and most of all, the fact that an estimated 87% of the population does not leave the house these days without a camera (phone), ensures that everyone is a potential media maven.

Though they are bound by the same rules as professionals; I would guess, of that 87%— 86.9% are ignorant of privacy laws and have little interest in learning about them.

So this commentary is aimed at you, the serious and semi-serious devotee who works at and respects the art and craft of photography.

“Reasonable expectation of privacy” often comes down to context. Using a seemingly innocuous photo of a person (especially if they are well known) to illustrate a controversial article or story, is playing with legal fire.

On the other hand, elected officials and well known public figures give up certain rights to privacy when they make the decision to enter the public arena (this is where the “clear as mud” part comes in).

Applying this to a more un-famous level, a violation of privacy can occur with:

“The intentional intrusion upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.” Restatement of Torts 2d, Section 652B

Again the “clear as mud” part takes effect when the term “highly offensive to a reasonable person” rears its ugly head.

A “reasonable person” is often described in legal terms as a “person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for determining liability”.

A reasonable person is NOT the narcissistic pinhead who ambushes that lovely photogenic, hopelessly in-love couple in the park by circling around them a lá Cecil Beaton, motor-drive clicking away, as he bellows at them to “Work it!!”

This is very likely to get you a civil suit or a punch in the nose, and in this litigious age, the punch in the nose might be the lesser of two evils.


2) Barging Into a National Park Thinking You’re Spike Lee

National parks may have certain restrictions particular to them. Before a frame can be exposed, anything that smacks of commercial photography may carry limitations and possibly liability considerations. The proprietors at Yellowstone Park, for example, will not be thrilled if you waltz in with your production company and expect to shoot your indie film at the expense of the stunning natural surroundings. Permits will likely be required in cases such as:

A) Activity taking place in restricted area(s) of the park.

B) Using any sets, props, crew, actors, etc., that are not part of the natural surroundings or facilities.

C) Administrative expenses that park officials may incur to monitor and coordinate activity.

These examples may sound extreme for the average photographer who just wants to get off the beaten path and snap a few stills, but if they apply to you, skirting the bounds of any one of these points is likely to attract unwanted attention from park officials. If, however, you are a commercial or pro photographer and plan to stay on the beaten path, the same park rules that apply to the average visitor will generally apply to you. In the end, rules and regulations can vary from state to state and are often selectively enforced, so always check with The Local Powers That Be.


3) Showing Unusual Interest in Government Buildings, Military Installations or Barak Obama’s House

Yes, things are vastly different in the post 911 world. The New Normal has not been kind to Joe and Jane Photographer, particularly as it relates to government and military installations. Here’s the gist of the US Code, Sec. “Photographing and sketching defense installations”:

“… it shall be unlawful to make any photograph, sketch, picture, drawing, map, or graphical representation of such vital military and naval installations or equipment without first obtaining permission… and promptly submitting the product obtained to such commanding officer or higher authority for censorship…”

If you want to argue citizen’s rights with a two hundred and seventy-five pound MP (military policeman), go right ahead, but as anyone who’s spent time in a military brig will tell you, it’s a guaranteed no-win proposition.

And besides, US Code, Sec. “Photographing and sketching defense installations” sez so.


4) Despite Their “Awww Factor”, Children Have Rights Too

Yes, kids are adorable and they make great photo subjects, but no matter how benign ones intent, following them around a public street or park like a deranged paparazzi will quickly attract the wrong kind of attention.

Even if they may not know them, the average passerby is generally protective enough of small children to get on their cell phone and alert the police. Again, even with the most innocent of intentions, a photographer can find themselves in real trouble over seemingly nothing.

Children are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy in public; the same rights as everyone else. There’s not much they can do discourage the random nut job with a camera— and they don’t have the punching ability of Sean Penn. So, to avoid jail, keep a healthy distance from the little ones, or at least clear it with their parents before snapping away.


5) Photographing the Police While They’re in the Process of Beating The Crap Out of Someone

Okay, that headline may sound a little hyperbolic, but this has become an ongoing issue with the advent and proliferation of digital photography amongst the general populace. To be clear, any US citizen has the legal right to photograph an officer of the law while he or she is in the act of doing their job in a public place. Assuming that you are photographing from a reasonably safe distance from the action, you should be on fairly solid legal ground. Problems can arise however, when said law officer perceives said photographer to be an “obstruction of justice”.

This is where it can get a little tricky. Apparently, “obstruction of justice” can be a subjective term amongst the law enforcement community and may be defined as anything from physically intervening between officer and his subject, to standing fifty feet away on an adjacent street corner picking ones nose. Ultimately, it is up to a judge to decide, but in the heat of the moment, It’s pretty much up to the officer to determine what is or what is not “obstruction of justice”.

So be careful, arguing with a policeman rarely ends well for anyone and will usually guarantee you an overnight stay in the Flat Iron Inn. Once again, let common sense prevail. Take a deep breadth, explain your case if you must, but in calm even tone with a minimum of hand gestures and body language.

And above all, never touch a police officer in any way. The law is heavily weighted in their favor to help them do a very difficult and dangerous job. If your camera, film or memory card is confiscated; let it play out in court. Nothing is guaranteed, but never try to bargain with an officer during a heated scenario like this.




This article does not constitute legal advice and is not meant to be taken as such. It does, however, encourage Common Sense. Local statutes may differ from state to state, county to county, etc.. It is always a good idea to check with the local authorities if you are in doubt about anything, different places may have restrictions that are unique to them.

Farewell To MoP


Denver’s Month of Photography is over. The scope and talent that the local art community brought to this global event was impressive, and, we would venture to say, as ambitious as many of the larger urban centers.

Local offerings were many and eclectic; from a fascinating presentation by Jay Kinghorm on current publishing models in multimedia; to Navajo artist Will Wilson’s exhibition and discussion of not-so-classic portraiture of Native Americans. And of course, The Big Picture Project, an event that Reed Art & Imaging was honored and excited to participate in.

The ‘wheat pastes’ will be coming down soon but anticipation is already high for the next go-around in 2015.

As a devotee of the local art and photography scene, Reed Art & Imaging would like to join with the rest of the art community in thanking everyone who sponsored, exhibited and attended this important and stimulating event.

A special thanks must go out to Mark Sink for his invaluable leadership in making The Denver Month of Photography a raging success!