Black Friday at David Miller Photoworks

For those wanting unique gifts for loved ones,

or those wanting to support the arts and artists who have their craft as their main source of income,

or those desiring to avoid crowds,

I would direct you to the great original artists on Etsy, or at your local craft markets.

I’m doing a print sale- choose any 2 of the 8×12 prints below for $30 (plus $5 shipping)Image

I’m also having a ceramics sale- free shipping on ceramics to the lower 48 states.  Currently available ceramic masks/ vessels and their prices are here.

To take advantage of either deal, send your request and payment via paypal to

And if you don’t buy from me, maybe some other lucky creator is deserving of your hard earned.  Everything goes clearance at the big box stores right after Christmas anyways!


“The Best of the Best… Only Sell A Print or Two In A Month…”

Since freelance modeling has no set workplace rules, like working at Target or whatever, there’s always circular/annoying/pointless debate on forums and social media about how this stuff should work.

My friend Sierra runs a tumblr freelancemodels, and an Anonymous posted:

While I agree that professionals should get paid for their time. I think there’s an overestimation just how much money most photographer’s can make from a shoot. Even the best of the best in this “industry” only sell a print or two a month. The vast majority can barely give a print away, even if their work is strong. Commercial rights can only be sold if a model signs a release, but who are they going to sell the images to? There’s not many people/companies buying these days.

And Sierra responds here.  I added:

Reblogging just to add commentary- the line “best of the best… only sell a print or two a month” is so outlandishly ridiculous, as no one is really aware of anyone else’s finances, but consider these factors:

1. intelligent people who

2. are willing to market themselves a lot and in the correct manner

3. through various channels, both online and in the real world

4. and most of all have perseverance

5. and can build a fan base

6. have a market and can make money off their images.

Maybe it’s a print, maybe it’s a contest or paid publication, , maybe it’s just advertising… probably 75% of my tumblr followers have followed me due to the times I shot with Mosh.

If you put no thought to the end usage of the photos, or how to make the shoot pay for itself, and then cry that these things are too expensive, it’s not the model’s fault.

Other types of photographers spend thousands of dollars traveling to exotic landscapes, or setting up intricate food shots, or paying entry fees to zoos and so forth.  Or they spend $0 shooting instagram selfies.  Being interesting and putting interesting things in front of the lens costs money.

If your photos are unique and appealing to a model, they may work within a budget or do trade or cut a deal, especially if you have other things to barter, like tearsheets or lodging or plane tickets.  If you are mediocre or don’t have anything they want or need then of course it’s for money, and that should be perfectly fine.

I admit prints (or any paper goods) aren’t worth what they used to be in a pre-ipad world, but this is where you have to think harder.  Make unique things that are collectible, cannot be replicated as an experience.  I was amazed to find people wanting my Instax, which I considered castoffs.  Now I shoot instax alongside the “main” stuff and those have been getting snapped up pretty quick„, the last guy who bought from me was a screenwriter and used them for inspiration.

There are unique printing methods that make photos cooler than just plain inkjet shit.  Mettalic ink, shrinky dink, on tile or wood, as viewmaster, with a light in the back, on fine art rag paper, as alternative process images.

If Anon is so familiar with the “best of the best” then he/ she may know that they also diversify their income by repping for companies, doing speaking engagements, lessons/ workshops, retouching the work of others, whatever it takes.  It’s creative hustling with as much imagination put into the business side as the image making side.



Earlier this year I had my Scream Queens show up in MonOrchid’s Bokey Gallery, and the large gallery hosted a printmaker who I didn’t meet.  Months later, during one of my Saturday kids’ art classes at Mesa Arts Center, I admired a printmaker in the next room who turned out to be the same guy I showed with months earlier.  His name is Jon Arvizu and it didn’t take long for the DSC_1504

The (Colored) Pencil of Nature

Model Alexandra Mathews wearing Bubbles and Frown headwear, shot 4x5 and printed as cyanotype with additional colored pencil.
Model Alexandra Mathews wearing Bubbles and Frown headwear, shot 4×5 and printed as cyanotype with additional colored pencil.

Photography was regarded as “the pencil of nature” by Henry Fox Talbot, one of the early pioneers of the form.  Talbot created the cyanotype process which utilized the first negative printing method, and the image above shows his process remains in somewhat common use today.  I’ve added actual pencil work to images before but in recent cases I’ve been trying to add more thought as to what I do with the pencils; limiting myself to a palette of 4 odd colors, mixing them so they transition in a more interesting fashion like they do on the couch.

It definitely takes a lot longer but the piece is stronger for it.  Sometimes the way to be better is to try harder at something you’ve been doing all along.  This image currently up for grabs at Etsy.

New Music #2

Recent additions to the Soundcloud feed:

“The Gift” ties into my photography as it features 2 model friends who can also sing, Lacheln (doing the lead vocal) and Glass Olive (all the nifty backing vocals).  I created the basic track July 2012 while sitting in the hospital room with my mother on her death bed, unable to communicate but with her eyes wide open.

It’s normal for me to do a quick remix of a song once I have all the basic parts of the original, just to play with samples and explore alternate routes, in the same fashion people do different versions while doing post processing of a photo.  “The Gift Pt. 2” turned out to be more of the J-Pop style my 5 year old daughter enjoys.

I made this over a year ago, maybe two, with the intention to load it up with vocals and guitar, and wouldn’t you know it, I never dug any deeper.  It’s drum n bass slowed down to 140 bpm, so dubstep/ trip hop/ drum and bass with a funk bassline = a cute party track.

Magdalena at COFCO Chinese Cultural Center, 4×5/ cyanotype/ colored pencil.

Magdalena at COFCO Chinese Cultural Center, 4x5/ cyanotype/ colored pencil.

I sold this camera before my NYC trip and burned off the remaining film on my children. Since then I’ve done these cyanotypes and started really enjoying them, doing more thoughtful coloring then what I previously did just filling in some areas. But I can’t make any “new” images, just recycle the 6 years worth of photos I took with it. Probably for the best…

Borg Boy

Borg Boy

I made this xerox transfer around 2005 when I learned the technique, but the actual photo was taken around 1999. It was a boy who had just received a toy where you yell into a speaker and it fires a missile. He resembles a Borg child.

Xerox transfers involved using rubbing alcohol on the back of a fresh xerox, nothing more that than. If I remember correctly, newer xerox machines had a different kind of laser fusing that made xerox transfers more difficult to do. It’s a fine technique and I miss doing it.

The image size is 6×9″ on a mat board sized approximately 9×12″. There is no watermark on the actual piece. It’s also up for grabs on Etsy.