"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I kind of just realized that I haven't ever really talked about our photos on here.  Not in any concrete way.  This will be remedied, right now.

Actually, in a minute.  Sawyer just stomped her way out of her room, and it is bed time.  One moment please.

Ok, I'm back.  But I think I am going to move to bed.  One more minute please.  So sorry. :)

Ok, for reals, back now.  See?!?  This is what happens.  Life interferes!  But I digress...

Our logo (by Kurt) and our slogan
"Picture what scares you."
So, for those of you that DON'T know, Geoff and I have a little side business, called "Through a Cracked Lens Photography".  Geoff thought of the name.  Good, eh? :)

After I had Sawyer, and I was on maternity leave, I had a bit of free time on my hands.  I remember distinctly when it happened.  My mom and dad had asked if Sawyer and I wanted to go to Costco with them.  Not having anything else to do, I said sure.  So, off we bundled, into the van and off to the store.  This was probably February/March timeframe.  Somewhere on the ride to Costco, as I rode in the back and made goofy faces at Sawyer, I thought about horror photography.  About some cool ideas for photos, that would be scary and creepy.  Photos that I would geek out about if I saw them.  It was just a pebble of an idea, but it really clicked with me.

I mulled it over in my head for a couple of days.  I wanted to talk to Geoff about it, but I was worried that he would think it was weird or silly or stupid.  Or worse, that I was, because I had thought about it. :)  I know that Geoff would really never think that about me...but you can't help thinking stuff like that.  I knew this was an idea that I liked.  And I was worried that he would stomp all over it.

3rd photo in Jump
We were out for a drive, with the kids asleep in the back.  I don't remember how I broke the ice, but the next thing I knew, I was spilling the beans, explaining some of the ideas that I had (one of the first ones was Jump- one of our best sellers).  And he was talking back, totally digging on it.  And from then, it was a go.

I started working on stuff slowly but surely.  I really wasn't sure what to do, or where to go.  If we ever become rich and famous, I will be one of those people that took the long way there.  I am basically trying everything, to see what works, and what doesn't.  I started looking online, googling horror photos and stuff like that, to see if we could find stuff.  I didn't know what I was looking for exactly- I was worried that the market would either be saturated, with tons of junk out there, or it wouldn't exist at all.  Luckily, it was a happy medium.  We have found 2 or 3 other photographers that focus primarily in horror, but that is really about it.  So that tells me that there is a market for it, but that it isn't totally saturated.  Yeah for us.

Next, I started thinking about where we would sell these photos.  The first place that came to mind was the Fan Expo/Rue Morgue show in Toronto every August.  It is HUGE.  HUGE.  I can't express how big it is.  People everywhere.  Sweaty, smelly people.  Awesome people.  It is alot of fun.

with Adam and Holly

I applied right away to be a vendor.  It was already sold out, so I got on a waiting list.  After about a month, I was contacted and told that there was a spot.  It was crazy expensive, but after talking to Geoff, we decided to go for it.  It was going to be our trial run.  Our hit or miss. 

Problem was, we didn't have any pictures yet.  LOL.  Slight problem.

Geoff and I had a mad scramble to start taking photos.  I laugh when I think about some of the early ones.  They were horrible.  We really had no idea what we were doing.  We started with some ideas that I had, and not much more.  I was trying to tell Geoff what I wanted, and he was trying to take what I wanted. 

We use people we know as models.  Adam, my brother, Geoff's sisters, friends like Barb and Bill.  People that get what we are trying to do and are excited about it.  Adam features large in alot of our pictures, and we want to keep using him.  We want to build a mystique around him, and have that cool link through all the photos. 

We also started taking the photo stories.  They are sets of 3 pictures that tell a story.  We have 2 right now- Jump and Visitor.  They are, without a doubt, our best sellers.  But it is difficult to come up with ideas that work with that style.

Geoff with our first day set up at Fan Expo 2009
So, by the time we hit the show in August we had 7 photos, I think.  Everything was guess work.  My dad had helped us build this awesome display.  I wanted it to look like the inside of a killer's cabin, and it did.  I love it.  We didn't know how to display the stuff, we didn't know what to charge, we didn't know how much to bring up to sell. We were just excited to be there.  Geoff was totally geeking out about being there before hours, and I was stressing about what to do, how to go, what to set up.  We were literally picking up pictures the morning of the show.  Our one photos, Homemade, was cropped wrong.  Stress, stress, stress. 


But, once we got there, and got working, that all slid away.  The very first picture I ever sold was Respect.  It is a picture of me..well, my legs, in a cemetary.  It was a framed 5x7, and I sold it to a woman in her 40s.  She was thrilled with it.  Over that weekend we sold a bunch more.  Our most popular single print was (and still is) Workshop.  It resonates with people.  It's my favorite too. :)

with Dawn and Adam

Geoff's sister, Dawn, came up to visit and help work the booth on the Saturday.  She brought up Joel with her, so Geoff had someone to talk comics with.  We used Joel's house to shoot Visitor.  We also had my old friend Jen come up to support us, Kurt and Amber, and even the daughter of a girl I work with showed up.  It was a great show of support for us.  We are eternally grateful.

We also learned the great joy of being friends with the people around us.  We had great vendors as neighours.  We chatted and bought stuff off them, and they bought stuff off us.  We traded and bargained.  We complained about food prices and crowds and sore feet.  They are just good people, and we were glad to know them.

All in all, our first show was great. We learned alot, set price points, made contacts.  We got to meet another horror photographer, Joshua Hoffine.  He is totally our hero, and gave us some great feedback on the photos. 

with Dawn and Adam

The next year, we did 2 shows- Wizard World (another comic convention) and Fan Expo again.  We got smart last year and applied for Artist Alley.  Not only is the table a 3rd of the cost of a vendor's table, but the people in Artist Alley are looking for art.  They are more our crowd.  We met AMAZING people and artists, both at Wizard World and at Fan Expo.  We are looking forward to this year's show, just so we can hook up with these great people again. 

a 2010 release with Bill

As a first, we offered calendars.  I thought they would be a great seller, but they were lukewarm.  No worries, we are still figuring things out! :)  We released 4 new photos.  We  brought great big blow ups of photos.  They were good at attracting attention.  It was a good weekend.

Fast forward to this year.  We are confirmed and booked in 2 shows.  We have approvals for 2 more, we just have to pay for the tables.  We have leads on 3 more.  Again, we don't have any new photos taken.  LOL..we seem to work well under pressure.

What is different now?  Geoff is a better photographer.  He is becoming more instinctive.  I have the idea, but he is able to work with it, and make it happen.  We are going to look at clearing out our old stock, to make space and keep the inventory moving.  We want to look at t-shirts, and getting our photos in stores, galleries.  We are working on getting the website set up, and get that working for us.

I love doing our photos. I even like planning and the paperwork.  I think we are moving in the right direction.  I would like to move faster, but any movement right now is good.  :)

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new photos, new horizons."

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