Illustrated Light Gallery of Fine Art Photography in Old Town Fort Collins is one of the most welcoming galleries you’ll ever visit. The setting, the broad expanse of windows, and the beautiful images so artfully displayed are irresistible. Another plus is that David Clack is often there to greet his customers and talk about his photography.
From beautiful mountain scenes to intimate close-ups, David’s photography is visually stunning and always top quality. Why? Because David takes a hands on approach to make sure.
I have known David for about 5 years, and although I don’t see him often, I’m always greeted with a warm welcome. When the Loveland Photographic Society needs help, he’s always willing to step up to the plate. He is always eager to share his passion for the art of his craft.
1. Few photographers are so bold as to open a gallery. To make that work you display other artists’ work and also print and frame your work, plus print and frame images for customers. Do you find owning a gallery confining?
I suppose to a certain extent, but I do have employees so I can take off and shoot when I want to.
2. When you do get out to shoot, where are your favorite locations? How much time do you spend in the field in a year?
In Colorado, I would say the San Juan Mountains are a favorite along with the McClure and Kebler Pass areas. Some of my best work has been from McClure Pass. I usually go out to shoot 2-3 times a year for about 3-5 days at a time. I carefully calculate where I want to be and what time of year to be there, so that I’m very efficient with my time.
3. Has digital had a great impact on your work?
I would say so. From the capture end, now that I’m shooting with a digital camera, I find myself shooting images that I would never have with the 4×5 because of the amount of effort it takes to set up a shot and the cost to shoot. With 4×5, it costs about $6 each time I click the shutter, plus about $70 to scan each image. Although about 95% of my work at this time was shot with 4×5.
All my prints are a giclée. Which has opened up a whole world of opportunities. In the past I would have to make an inter-neg from a transparency. The color, contrast and print sharpness were never accurate which resulted in inferior prints. Now with giclée printing I can achieve much improved results.
4. Landscapes are your forte. What are other favorite subjects?
I recently started doing multiple exposure abstracts. It has been a lot of fun playing around with different images to create something entirely different.
5. How do you go about trying to guess what will sell so you don’t print images that don’t sell?
After being in the business for 30 years and owning a gallery where I have direct contact with the customer, I have a good grasp on the subjects that sell the best. I print on demand so I don’t have to print a lot of a new image until I know it will be successful.
6. How has online marketing impacted your sales?
I have definitely increased my sales through online marketing. Both through the websites and through my email contact list, but by far the majority of sales come from the gallery and my wholesale accounts.
7. Do you ever do workshops?
I’ve had a lot of requests to do workshops, someday I would like to, but at this time I’m just too busy to even think about doing workshops. What little I’ve done through my church has been very enjoyable. Watching young photographers grow in their craft and seeing their eyes light up is very rewarding.
8. What advice do you give to other artists trying to promote their work?
First, believe in what you are doing and don’t give up. Keep pounding on doors. Many of the galleries I sell my work in, took several years before they accepted my work. Also, be professional. Act like you know what you are doing. When someone approaches me and says they just starting in photography and want to show me some work, a red flag goes up, and then they pull out an envelope with 4×6 prints and don’t know how much they want to sell their work for or what size prints they offer, I tend to not be interested in representing them. Put together a good portfolio or website with a good representation of your work. Don’t show every image you ever took. It is better to show a handful of quality images than a large selection of mediocre work. Of course I’m giving you a gallery’s perspective. There are many other ways to promote your photography.