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Round Table - How Can Photographers Build Relationships with Galleries?

Updated: Oct 2, 2020



A great round table discussion featuring Sebastian Rypson, who runs Gallery WM in Amsterdam, which often features younger photographers; and Steve Smith, a former fashion photographer, who worked with Dave Sims in London, and now lectures in Photography at Nescol Aberdeen.


Useful for any photographer considering developing a career in fine art photography. The round table includes an extensive discussion and perspectives on the importance of story telling; how to approach and building relationships with galleries; how social media affects the art world; and the connections between commercial and fine art photography.





Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Let me start by welcoming Steve and Sebastian, I'm really glad you guys could find the time to connect to each other. I think you guys are a really good fit. Steve is a lecturer in photography at Aberdeen's leading photography College. Sebastian's runs a gallery with a focus on photography and in particular emerging photographers. The thing I love about both of you guys, is I think you've got the same passion, which is really for nurturing talent. So I just wanted to start with a really open ended question to both of you, which is why do you guys do what you do? And either of you can start with us.


Introducing Steve Smith - A Career Photographer


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Why do I do what I do? Well, this is my 14th year of teaching. I suppose if I was to give you a background, I moved home I teach in the in the city that I grew up in Aberdeen. I studied in Aberdeen, and then moved I think in 1992 to Liverpool, studied in Liverpool then moved from Liverpool to another course in Cheltenham, from Cheltenham to London, other successful assistant career assistant David Sims and fashion and we worked on high profile jobs. So we did Calvin Klein and Burberry and Jil Sander, and such like, and then I had a successful career as a photographer. So worked for many years as a photographer for magazines, i-D, Dazed, GQ, InStyle, and then I moved home 2007 and moved on to teach. I think for me, on a personal level, especially coming back to your hometown, I've had the most tremendous, most exciting journey in photography has offered me from leaving Aberdeen, and then just going on an adventure photographic adventure, meeting the most incredible people creatives and, you know, traveling traveling the world. And I didn't you know, I I never probably ever thought the opportunities presented themselves through photography would come my way as a young kid from Aberdeen. So to be back teaching in that city, to kids and and adults who've never used photography, for such an adventure, it's very easy to teach, I'm very thankful for photography has given me so it's very easy to encourage people to try to follow a similar pathway, meet some incredible people travel and use photography to discover who they are and how they fit into the world, but also to make sense of the crazy mad world that we belong to so and I genuinely still love it. I I'm very thankful I still get excited about finding new work I get excited about discovering how to present work. Identity means a lot to me in photography allows you to challenge that. So So that's kind of my background, I you know, I am passionate I still genuinely love the subject matter. And over the last number of years have got better I think it what I what I'm doing to try to instill good practice in others so that they can just go and have fun with it.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Could I ask you Do you still use to take photographs?


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Yeah, absolutely. I haven't got the pressure of paying a mortgage through my photographic practice. I work full time and to get a wage so I take photographs for myself. In the last few months, I've done a few little small commercial jobs for people, and that's good to challenges you. Well, one of the jobs challenged me with a particular demand in post production. So, it supports my teaching, I was thinking about this the other day, there's actually a new position opened up at the college that I'm considering might be something I want to go into still in a teaching capacity, but more management role. So I spent the last week kind of reflecting on the last number of years. And I was just thinking of this the other day, I don't think I've done a photographic job over the last number of years, where I haven't involved the students. So either as assistance or kind of production people or involved in post production, or if they haven't actually been on set, I've used the materials of which I've created within the classroom. I think it's a brilliant way to teach. So that's been good. So yeah, I still shoot, there's work on everythingislies.com, it's not always updated. As I say, I get I get salary for from a teaching role, so there's no pressure on me to kind of meet that commercial demands of presentation of your work and try and source payment for it. So I can enjoy a more fine art approach in many respects, other than commercial approach.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

And Sebastian, what about you? I've known you for, six, seven, years. I've seen you kind of go to hell and back for some of your artists. It's not a straightforward process, right?


Introducing Sebastian Rypson - Dedicated to Working With Photographers


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Yeah, I've had my moments. The way I got into photography was from childhood, my mom did a photography course at a Polytechnic in Auckland, in New Zealand, and I would have been around 12 years old, something like that. And she, as a student, she'd also involve me in many of her projects, usually shooting me and later on when we moved to Amsterdam. At one stage, she was already a professional photographer, and I must have been around 15 or 16 or something, and a car knocked her off her bike. So she didn't have any balance for many months. The balance in her ears was off.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

You knocked her off her bike?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

I did not, a car knocked her off. That was back in the day, when dark rooms were still very prevalent. So she couldn't stand in the dark processing the pictures, because she didn't have balance anymore. So I would do that for her. She'd be lying down and explained to me what I had to do. So slowly, but surely, I got into that world. She opened a gallery in Amsterdam, in 2000. And I was chatting to people, bringing out drinks for openings and giving drinks to people, cleaning up the gallery and stuff like that, and instead of getting a wage, I was allowed to organize one exhibition a year. So I was allowed to curate that. Let's say,


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Can I can I ask Sebastian, was the gallery opened to service her presentation of her work? Or was she was looking for external artists?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

This was a photographer's photography gallery. So it was on the one hand for her, yes, but also for her colleagues, professional friends, let's say the people she knew people who were of her generation, all of them photographers that back then in Amsterdam, there weren't that many photography galleries, hardly any actually. So she opened it up in order to showcase the work that these photographers did, autonomous work, so not the commercial work, that they wanted to present, the experimental photography that they thought was interesting. So that's what it was set up for, for photographers and also a public that was largely made up of photographers. And because we're Polish, a large Polish diaspora who came there for drinks. Along the way, I got good at it, organizing exhibitions, curating shows. And around, I think 2010, I took over the gallery, initially with a friend of mine, another anthropologist, because that's what I studied cultural anthropology. And our interest was photography that had something to do or have some kind of focus on social socio cultural issues, aspects questions. So that's how we started, it was literally 10 years ago. And then since 2015, I've been leading the gallery on my own, he's moved on to music management.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

That's the tough part of your profession, right? That kind of stuff you have to deliver. But then the stuff where you kind of go beyond the beyond, like, when you're dealing with, with artists, in the same way that you Steve deal with students, you're dealing with artists and helping support them, helping point them in the right direction, giving them advice, listening to them. That's a pastoral role.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

It is. Actually the other day, I was telling my wife, she's a psychotherapist, I often I feel like a psychologist for for my artists, because we sit down, they tell tell me their issues, their insecurities, their problems, and I engage, I do engage, because I really believe in that magical kernel of human creativity that each of us have have within us. But at the same, I take pictures too. But because I've worked with so many amazing artists, I literally just don't believe in my own work, because there's just so much great work out there. I do believe in nurturing that, I think that if I can be part of that journey in order to somehow open up this this kernel of creativity that nobody else has. I think that's a it's a very thankful job.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

How much of your time is actually looking and searching out new talent? Versus, I can only imagine the huge amount of proposals you get to the gallery? What's the kind of percentage? You know, I believe you've got many photographers kind of, within your, your kind of agency, if you can call the goal kind of agency, your representation. But is there opportunity for you to actually find work that you wish to promote? Or is it a constant stream, you know, such a democratic kind medium now, and so many photographers out there? Would it be wrong to say, well, you maybe don't need to work too hard to find people?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

I think that's an excellent question, because it really does touch the core of truth. Namely, that if if I have lazy weeks or months, let's say and it does happen. Yeah, I can sit back, I can absolutely sit back because they do come in proposals. And, obviously, not all of them in fact, the majority of them I am forced to reject. I think that's a bit of a harsh word, but, I just can't go on with them on that journey. Because it just doesn't fit our line. But basically, I'm never shy of having talent come in.


Impact of Social Media on Art


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Some of the questions I may pose to you might might seem quite brutal or quite harsh, you know, quite kind of put you on the spot in some sense. When deciding whether you can support a young artist? How much do you consider the wealth of followers that person may have? Maybe it's a naive question, but if they've got 10,000, followers on Instagram, and they've, you know, they've got that engagement, is that taken into consideration? Or do you do you purely from a kind of subjective, aesthetic kind of photographic sense? Just look at the work and go, this works beautiful, there must be a commercial pressure to think about how far that person's reached?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Sure, I take that into consideration. But, if I look back on the choices I've made, usually, that's one of the first thing that goes out of the window, because I'm easily influenced, to be honest, so if I see a body of work, or a series that somebody's showing me, and that person has hardly any social media presence, perhaps doesn't have the amount of social skills, you know, useful for, for a profession of this sort, to go out there to disseminate whatever it is that you make. Even if that's the case, if I do see work that I absolutely believe in, I think it's just absolutely, you know, beautiful, brilliant, fantastic, interesting, intriguing, whatever, fascinating, then I will go for it, that I will, and I'll try to help that person set up, you know, a couple of social media accounts, maybe, and so forth. But yeah, I, in the end, the work, the work will probably drag me over the line. And, and I'll think, yeah, now I just need to show this because that's what you know, in a certain sense, the gallery that I lead that I curate gallery, WM Gallery, it's a very traditional kind of space, it could be a gallery in the 70s, or 80s. We haven't really gone along with the times in in any really fundamental way. So in the end, it's still, I wouldn't say white cube, but there's several white cubes in the gallery.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

A simple, simple, pure engagement with the work, I guess.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Yeah. So so for example, to give you an example, this whole Corona covid situation has had a huge impact on on my gallery, we were closed for for for several months. Because, for us, it is important to have the photographer in the space, his or her work in the space, an opening where people come and interact and engage with the work and with each other. And that's it's incredible, important, incredibly important part of of the show, basically. And I've just recently had an opening. What was the last week? Our first exhibition since the whole Corona thing started and we necessarily had to stretch the opening out and put in time slots and more or less have kind of a Corona free type of environment as far as we could make it. And it was great. I mean, I felt wonderful, it was wonderful to see people again, and so forth, but basically we're like six to eight. Okay, sometimes there were 10 to 15 people in the space, which is a little bit iffy, but it It's incredibly important. It's that physical presence. It's incredibly important for us. So I don't know what what the question was that I'm answering, I guess. But


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

It was a good question. I just wanted to chime in with my perspective on what other galleries feel as well. And I think the key thing is that you're selling limited edition prints, right? So you're only selling? I don't know, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, maybe 100?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

30 Max?


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

30. max, right. So for each artwork, you only need to find 30 buyers. So what that means is just because someone has 10,000 followers, it doesn't mean those followers translate into people are willing to pay, I don't know, 1,000 2,000, whatever you're charging, per print. Right. A social media following doesn't necessarily tell you anything about the passion that the people who buy fine art photography will have for that person's product. It's not quite one on one.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I guess the relationship that can, you know, it can further enhance the profile of the gallery, or not so much the profile. But, you know, obviously, those followers and awareness of the space of the gallery can never be a bad thing, right? You need to cast the net wide to have as many people know about the wonderful service that you're excited.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

It's definitely not a bad thing. And it's something that I want to dig into further in other podcasts because having a good social media presence is vital. But it's only the part of the story. It's an important part of the story.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

It is important in terms of dissemination in terms of beefing up your own profile, the profile of the artist. It absolutely helps. And I am, whenever I do work with an artist for the first time, and that artist is very present on social media on the internet, and blogs is widely available somehow, if you just touch a couple of keys. It makes my work much easier. It's great to have it really is because, it does mean that there's a lot of exposure, which is which is basically what my business is.


How Galleries Build Relationships with Collectors


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Okay, let's jump right in there. And in terms of commercial practice, what's the what's the kind of percentage of sales in respect of people coming into this space? Do you have a larger proportion of sales from a kind of a client list? They engage with footfall to the gallery? Or, do you have a strong online commercial business with a gallery to people, do people buy through through the internet? Or is it are you selling to people from your location?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Very good question. We should actually have a much better presence on the internet, and especially commercially speaking, I do believe that Rahul is in fact, trying to help me out as much as you can. Poor guy, but um, no, our our sales are mostly, I would say in terms of percentage, maybe 5% is sold online, or via online somehow. Whereas 95% will be sold through the physical space. And in terms of our client list collectors, if you will, and just random public, I would say it's around 50/50. I think it should probably be skewed much more towards the client list, which would mean that I do my job better than I do. But I would say that we've got a few, a couple of collectors, a few who don't buy very expensive works. But they do buy moderately priced works on a regular basis. So that kind of makes up the 50% of our sales and then we've got random people coming in because our physical space is in a very good location in Amsterdam. It's a location with a lot of foot traffic, pedestrians, a lot of tourists. So I've also got tourists that come in and buy weird pieces of artwork which is also great.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Brilliant.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

When you use the word sale you make it sounds so much simpler than it always is, because sometimes I hear conversations with you about what you have to go through to, to deliver the product that the collector wants.


I have to think of this this one time that rich lady who was living in Amsterdam, she has an apartment probably for a couple of months a year in Amsterdam and she was very interested in this piece of work and it was it was a fair price, so I was very interested in selling it. But in order to do so I had to jump through hoops. I had to go over to her house with a hammer and nails of a bore, rearrange her other artworks that I've not sold her but she she had from wall to wall in order to get the best position for the artwork that she bought. I think I went back like three times because she just kept on calling me. I was kind of on call to to do manual labor? It was it was fun. I had a lot of fun doing it, because you can get into houses that you'd never get in if you didn't, but, I do have a lot of work to sell a piece. Usually it's people that are very finicky about all kinds of things. Yeah, but one that boundless?


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I'm guessing that a lot of that is to convince the buyer of the profile of the artist would that be the case, to really sell the work, you really have to sell the artist first?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Yeah. Definitely! Whenever I'm talking with an artist about about selling work, obviously, that question comes up every time every every exhibition, and some artists have professional and settled careers. And basically, they're, they're in a good place. So, they don't need that much support, and they know how it works. But one of the things I talked about with artists that are perhaps a bit more insecure about selling and pricing and stuff like that, is that it is the piece that actually should do the work. In fact, we're just kind of window dressing, you make it I I try to exhibit it, I curate it, I try to sell it. But the work itself should actually speak. But that being said, People love a story. People love a story, when they have a cocktail hour or whatever at their house. And there's an artwork hanging on their wall, they want to be able to talk about it. They want the other cocktail drinker to say, Hey, what's that? Where did you get that? They want to be able to tell the story. So basically, it is about telling stories, and even even with the buying and the selling, they love to be able to tell a story how they got it, you know, was whether it's a tourist, for example, I was walking through Amsterdam, we then got into small gallery, met this guy, and blah, blah, told me a story about the artist. And exactly, you do sell the artist as well.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

That's a beautiful setup. Such a beautiful analogy, really. You know, because we work in the kind of visual narrative anyway, so that I like, because, commerce is often seen as kind of a brutal, hard, cold sale. So it gives me a little bit of faith. somewhere that the work takes a new meaning and, and a new narrative in terms of the presentation to the collector or the buyer. And I like the fact that it's a vehicle for for for more engagement. And yeah, like that. That sounds really nice.


Impact of Story Telling on Careers


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Especially given that some of the tools and photography have become more mainstream, like when you started out 20 years ago, remember, it was pretty basic, right? We're using film you're using film not digital.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

In some sense. I wouldn't say that was basic. You can tell you've never been a photographer.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

It's true. It's true. It's true.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Judging, if you're judging a reverse clip, test full transparency film with a lightbox give me a workout. If you're pushing and pulling the film a quarter of a stone,


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Give me a chance to get it out of my mouth. It was the question that you putting to Sebastian about? What does it take? What does it take to get noticed by a gallery right? And it kind of ties in to what you said, which is that you have a lot of people who may have the technical talent, they may be able to compose a picture. But what I find about the artist in your gallery is that they have really loud voices. They have really strong stories to tell. One of the piece that I remember from your gallery that really still haunts me was, she was a photographer, and she photographed a brick? And she photographed each side of the brick? And then she printed it out at one to one scale. And so and then framed it but in such a way that you could fold it and then recreate the brick. But the brick was from Auschwitz and her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. So then when you're looking at it, it is incredibly haunting, because normally when you see a photograph of a brick it means nothing. For her it means everything! The way you tell your story about coming back to Aberdeen after all your journeys, that's that that has real meaning to you.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Yes. It's the larger percentage of our job over the last number of years to actually try to get learners to engage with why are they taking pictures, and what are they pointing the camera at? Content is key, but again, it's, it's nice to talk about story and narrative and context, because photography is, in a sense, so easy, we have to consider that everyone takes pictures, we create billions, trillions of photographs a day. Technology's allowed the platforms for everyone to engage without whether it's Facebook, Deviant, Art, Instagram, the statistics, and the figures are massive. So, it's all about context. It's all about, fairly young students coming into the college framework, I think often have never really answered that question. And they need to know about aperture and shutter speed and the mechanics and that's fine. It's part of our role, we have to give them the tools to allow them a voice, and even when they've got a strong voice. I've had conversations with yourself Rahul before, but how do you then put that in the words, how do you translate into a different language, into the written text? To really, I suppose underpin and support for what you want to see with a visual narrative. And then how do you present that to the galleries? It's not necessarily an easy process.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

It's interesting what you say because that's one of the things that I do a lot. I fashion out texts for artists so either for their artist statements or press releases, It can be a very, very tough frustrating process. Some people are, gifted linguistically, they compose good pieces of writing. That being said, I think many many visual artists didn't become visual artists for nothing and many of them do have a problem with with language with literally how to express. They do that very well through through visual means but I've had incredibly tough sessions with artists that I have been basically interviewing trying to figure out okay, what is that red thread? What is the consistency of your message? How do you present in a different language other than visual? Usually it's very fulfilling because I like writing a lot. So when I come out with a text that I'm happy with and the artist is happy with, that's a beautiful thing. Then I can pour my creativity into that. But I've also had situations, not many, where it's been so difficult to try and express what that artists wants to say, I wouldn't say come to blows, but to a situation where I had to make the decision. Listen, I don't think we can go, I don't think we can move forward, because I like what you do, visually speaking, but if our communication is so incredibly difficult, if whatever I write, you can't get behind, you can't understand, or limited differently. If whatever I write doesn't meet your expectations of what you want to express. And we've tried it once, twice, three times, 10 times, then it's not going to work between us. Because somehow our language just does not fit we do not understand each other. We do not see eye to eye. I've had that I think twice in quite a long career. But it was it was a tough pill to, to swallow, to be honest. Because it's like failure in a certain sense. I thought it was really interesting, how you pose a question about these two different forms of language.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

We get a lot of students that come into photography, that maybe have under achieved in academia, let's say, the science subjects, and also in terms of English and Maths and, and it's quite daunting, they only need to look at Susan Sontag, and John Burger and Wells and the language is beyond them, in a sense, and they go to galleries, and unless it's very easily understood the text, it feels like they're entering a different world in terms of the representation of art. And it can be some of the great visual practitioners that we've had throughout the college, but it's daunting for them. And sometimes it's off putting, and they feel that they can't necessarily engage, or almost in some sense, they can't defend their work. And it seems a shame that that's the starting point, they feel like they're having to defend and kind of justify the strength of the work. And they're not, they're not in a position to let the work speaks for itself.


And we've got to try and break that down.


I think there's battles between colleges and universities, where universities, often, and not all universities, depending on the structure of them. But often, the students will learn more about the contextualization of the work, and little about the practical skills, so it's just a really fine balance. I'm very much aware of the two different languages. And I think the art gallery represents that meeting point where it's it as we discussed, it's necessary to, for the audience to have both of both of those languages meeting together. It's a shame when students or any young practitioner feels that they're having to defend what they've taken a lot of pride and they spent a lot of time on but the other side of that is it's really interesting to find that that's a supportive role that the gallery can help with


We touched very briefly on the sales process, my thought was around fine art prints and limited edition prints, if a young vida young student or a young artist wanted to not so much be represented by a gallery, but put on a show, would you expect that person to to know about limited edition prints to know about certificates of authenticity, to know about the number of runs and artists proofs? Or do you have artists and young artists, they come in who know nothing, and you have to educate them? And you have to work with them through that sales process?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

And do I do I have that more often than a than you'd expect? Honestly, I've been working so long in this in this field that I expect it nowadays, but I have older artists to mid career artists that I need to talk to about editions, about certificates about productif, things that you would expect people, definitely mid career to know.


I just want to get back to that language thing again, the way that you said, it was for a lot of young visual practitioners, quite daunting to read texts, and to see the texts that come up on the walls and press releases and statements. To be honest, I find it daunting as well, I work with language for many years now and I still find it daunting. In fact, sometimes I got really upset when I look at a wall where there's a text on it. It's about the show. And I'm reading this thing without having seen the show before. And I'm thinking what on earth is this? Why does it always have to be about time and space and the way that we're, you know, compacted into a little kernel of something. So what I try to do in my texts, and the way that I try to talk to the artists that I have to write something about or that we write something together, that happens a lot too, is just write what you know, just write what makes sense to you, if your childhood cultural reference is Star Wars, use Star Wars, if you don't understand Susan Sontag don't mention her or, if you really want her in the text, Susan Sontag said this, I don't understand it. But you know, I do understand that. So I always try to, together with the artist, try to come back to that gut feeling that visceral type of emotion that's attached to their work that they attach to their own work and see if we can fashion out words that make sense for them. And and very often, that works well. So I don't know if that makes my texts any better, but at least it I think most of my public understand that I try to askew the intellectual references that I do not understand. I don't go for that.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Well, it helps if they're authentic. Sometimes you walk in and you just feel like it's been written by Google Scholar or something.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Oh, absolutely. I have an artist that that I've worked with several times, a Polish artist, and he's incredibly intelligent, like, genius, intelligent, and the way that he writes and he writes, I mean, I've written texts for for him, usually with him. But he's amazing in terms of language. He writes in Polish and Spanish and in English. He can make references to the most obscure intellectual pieces of writing from the 19th century to, you know, porn. I mean, he will reference anything and it makes sense it really it really does.


Connection Between Fashion Photography, Commercial Photography and Fine Art Photography


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

I've got a question for both of you. Photographers, you do portraiture, there's product placement, there's fashion, there's a broad remit of things that photographers do. And my question is, how does that feed into fine art? Does it make it harder and more difficult and the reason. And there's also photojournalism and things like that, right? But the reason I'm asking that question is very often as a photographer, you're telling someone else's story, maybe through your perspective? But if you're a painter or a sculptor, you're always kind of more or less telling your own story.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

I don't know if I would agree with that.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I don't think I agree with that either. There's a separation in terms of if you're delivering photography for a client's need, in a commercial sense. And then yeah, of course, it's not your story, you're you're making a an aspirational image for a commercial market, but then, the photographer will still have his style, he will still have, he'll still have his reference point, if he brings an edge to the work, that's how people get reputations within the industry in terms of their visual style. And that's why they'll get recruited, that's how they'll pick up an agent. But I think it's definitely wrong, in any respect to say that the photography is not inherently the voice of the artist.


I did some portraits of friends of mine that stay not far from here, Brian Gorman, fantastic painter, who stays just down the road. I've been taking pictures for 30 years, and I took a photograph of Brian, maybe eight months, nine months ago, there was a lot of kind of turmoil in my family life, lots of pressures on the family and the emotional pressures. And I found that I was overwhelmed when I when I printed the image. And I kind of couldn't initially grasp why I held it up as a kind of revelation, having taken portraits for years and celebrity portraiture and such like. Now I having reflected back on that period in my family life, the portrait is me, i'm presented with myself, there is direction within the portrait. And then within the time that I photographed Brian's portrait, I didn't so much direct him, or conduct him, specifically, but I moulded that portrait and I carried emotional baggage with me that set the scene and the tone and the ambience and the mood which allowed the particular image to happen. And I look at it and I look at it almost as a slightly somber, slightly sad, emotional portrait of myself because I have the context of what was going on in my life and the type. So I think that blows your argument out of the water Rahul.


It's only one example. But the thing I suppose that I would tag on to the end of that kind of analogy, is that is a it's a really, really powerful sort of connection that you have when that happens. And that doesn't happen a lot. And I guess for many people, it takes time and experience and photographic or visual understanding to to be able to engage with that emotional connection. And it's marvelous when that happens, you know.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Maybe your question relates to the, to the technical aspect of what you have in this medium of what photography is, as a painter, or as an illustrator, the connection is very direct kind of form of expression. It's your hand with a little tool, doing something. Sculptures the same way.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

It's a blank canvas, you start with a blank canvas.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

But also, I think, the energy that gets channeled through your arm onto that Canvas, it's a very direct form. We've all as kids drawn, colored within or without the lines or outside. So we all understand that it's kind of a signature, it's easier to see a signature within work like sculpture, like painting, like drawing, for example. Photography is mediated obviously, through a lot of technical aspects. So it's much more difficult in a way to create your own signature. You need to either go to college, to Aberdeen or do this for a very long time and somehow fashion out a signature style. But in the end, it's still the same as looking outside at the world. If you look outside of your head through your eyes, that's how we perceive the world. That's basically that's photography, it's still you looking out.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

What drove the question was really, the sequencing. So with a painting, you create it, and then you exhibit it, and then you kind of get paid for it. Whereas if you're doing a fashion shoot, for example, you'll get a brief. And of course, you breathe life into that brief, when someone is telling you what to do, and that, you know, you're more or less gonna get paid for it, then you deliver what you've been kind of asked to do with your own style.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I guess the question relates to the difference between fashion, advertising versus editorial fashion for magazines where you've got ultimate creative control. You could kind of hit your argument out of the park, if you were to interviewed Tim Walker, or David Sims or Glenn Latchford, in some sense, are you trying to work an argument that you, you're diminishing the fine art potential within someone working in that industry? Well, you know, in fashion, it's changed over the years, you know, we had 100 years of Vogue magazine, at the National Portrait Gallery, we've had Tim Walker at Somerset House, we've had, you know, it's celebrated in the fine art values of that medium are celebrated now, 50 years ago, they weren't so much, you know, documentary photography was seen as being a medium that was more truthful. And we talk about kind of social, and cultural issues in society and see much more serious, but we celebrate the creative arts now. And thankfully, that's a fantastic thing. I've been to some of these great shows and seeing the creative energy that these artists take to particular mediums, whether it's fashion or high end advertising, the work is sublime, and we celebrate that creativity, it's not diminished by the any more in respect of what discipline that they're working in. Yeah, it


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Yeah, it wasn't so much that it was diminished. I was wondering whether there was a, there was a different process, or a different mindset, that you have to shift gears, if you're going from one to the other.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Well, certainly from a from a teaching aspect two of the things that I guess students don't realize as much that they're learning as they develop. And two of the strongest things they need to develop is the strength of communication under the creative problem solving. You know, you walk into any environment, whether it's a portrait of a celebrity or not, you still have to look around that location, you have to make choices, you have to try and use any kind of verbal communicative tools to make that person relaxed or make them angry, so it's creative. Like I said earlier, photography is a democratic kind of medium is becoming easier and easier. So, if you have strength and communication and you can creatively problem solve, then you can flourish as an artist, you can have infinite possibilities and choices within a location, wherea someone not as skilled within that creative problem solving sees potentially one background. I'll have to work here that's where the light is. Someone with strengthened creative problem solving can look around at that same room and go, this is fantastic, this is a playground of visual, creative playgrounds that I can have fun in and produce a wealth of solutions to that one creative problem with the same brief.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Well put well put, yeah, absolutely. So brief is also of course, just a set of limitations in a certain sense, right? You have to do this. I liked what you said about creative problem solving, it is very much about that. And we always have limitations, even a blank canvas is in way, there are limitations there.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

There's still a part of me that wants my images to be seen, there's still a part of me that wants people to recognize strength within the work. But one of the problems is the fact that I get paid a salary to do what I do, so that creativity lends itself to me. One day, I'll be doing portraiture and the next day, I'll be doing still life, and the next day, I'll be experimenting with film and the next day, I want to do a 3d model of something the next day, and it's very hard to focus down in one area and attack it.


I need as an educator, to nurture careers that pay the salary for what they do. I have to try and encourage people to distill their practice, possibly into sort of singular areas so that they can approach galleries and the gallery will understand who they are, and what voice they have. Does that make sense? And stop them from kind of tearing things up and trying this and trying that?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

I think that makes a lot of sense, the art world has become more complex, since I imagine you entered it, definitely since I also entered it, it's become more and more complicated, more and more layered. And you need to kind of give them the tools to literally carve out a niche, and hopefully, for some of them they can carve out a big piece of the pie, but it's still carving out a niche. There's nothing as sad, I've come across people that they've done an art study or photography study, you know, and have come upon a point where they decided it's just, it's not going to work. And, careers can work in myriad ways. I mean, there's thousands, millions of ways that what you studied, you can incorporate into a new new journey a new way, but I have come across people that have come away very disappointed and I've seen their work and, it's good, and it just didn't work out for them. I don't know why I was all of a sudden got onto the sad topic, but Okay,


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

My influence?


Tips on Developing Relationships with Galleries


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Let's lift it up, let's turn that around back then. So if the artists that do approach you successfully, what do they do right? We've discussed narrative and having a strong story that makes sense to me. But what else is it? Is it necessarily about the way they approach you? Do they knock on the door in the gallery? Do they give you a phone call? Do they give you an email? They meet you at part?


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Also, is it belief? Is it the strength of conviction behind the work? Is it purely on presentation of self?


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

And is it one meeting? Or is it a series of meetings over a period of weeks or months or years that get you to the point where you go, yes, I want to get behind you and push you. Because it's almost like a marriage, right from some of these artists.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

It's a relationship.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

It's a strong relationship?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

That's quite a few questions in one. But I'd say, the last question. Usually, it develops over time, although, any meeting with another person, within the first two seconds, you probably somehow, you know,


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

You got a sense of whether or not this is..


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

You know, some way, maybe you don't know it cognitively, but somewhere viscerally you know, that this is going to be a relationship that this is going to be a friendship or, you know, a meaningful relationship somehow. But I hardly ever, meet somebody the first time and I say, yes, you're it, we're doing it. Generally I like to develop the relationship first, because we have to have a working relationship. And I need to be able to work with somebody. And if after the third meeting, it turns out that I'm starting to feel, ooh, this might be going towards a direction that I'm not, you know, keen on, then I have enough time to put on the brakes.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

When you establish that relationship and you work with artists? Am I right in thinking the gallery then will hold that artist and represent that artist over time? Do you do you have you have a list of artists you represent that will be offered shows?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

When the gallery was set up, back in 2000. The idea was to represent artists. I don't think that went very well. So we kind of got off that tack. And we we basically did one off shows, what I basically say to everybody, is we don't represent we will not represent artists,


But we do represent artists, if they're from Brazil, Poland these days is not that necessary, but from far off, where they don't have any representation in Europe or in Western Europe, or in the Benelux or, in this corner of the world, then we'll have kind of a gentlemen's agreement that we represent them because they like us, we like them, we're friends. Because very often it does develop into a friendship.


At the same time, we also have artists here that we don't represent, but that do come back to the gallery, every couple of years, we will organize an exhibition sometimes or organize a group exhibition, invite those same artists back to take part in that group. because we have a relationship. We don't want to commit ourselves to guaranteeing a show every two years and a group show every year and going to art fairs. It just doesn't work very well within our business model. There's there's pros and cons to that, you know, a con, is an artist can go off anywhere he wants and exhibit anywhere that person wants. If another gallery does represent, for example, and rightly so, well, then obviously, they are representing that artist that we've had in our gallery.


But the satisfying thing is, especially with younger artists, we function, kind of as a portal, very often they'll have their first solo show at our gallery, because we do take risks, we were in a position of comfort in a certain sense, because we don't pay rent, the building is owned by my family. And that makes all the difference. So I can take risks, I can do things that other galleries would have to really think twice, three times, four times about because they need to generate income. So do I, but just less. So what we have been for many, many young photographers and young artists, it has become this kind of nurturing pool of, a first step on their professional journey.


They learn a lot from that experience. Expectations, which is a big one, you know, some of them expect nothing to happen. Some of them expect the world to come and buy up their whole stock and but you know, Pricing editions? What is an opening? What is a finissage? Can we do events? How to generate more interest? How to have a more consistent narrative towards the outside? How to deepen that narrative? How to complexify it? How to simplify it? So that that is a very satisfying part of our model. I have a lot of shows, a lot of different artists, not the same kind of roster of photographers. And some of them have gone on to bigger and better things and I still have a relationships with them. If they are represented by another gallery, they'll make very clear to that new gallery. So if Sebastian wants to do a project and include me, and usually that works well.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Okay.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

That's a long winded answer to a very simple question.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Not. It's interesting.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

There's a lot of grey areas and lots of handshakes and gentlemen's agreements in art. So the answer is as long as it needed to be. And the other question, especially with social distancing, how do people approach you? Because previously, you could knock on the door? Right? And they did, and they and they kind of come in? I mean, I've not been able to visit the UK now for ages because we're not in the travel window, I have to quarantine for two weeks, I just can't visit my friends. So, with people not being able to move across borders, what's the best way to reach you?


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Can I throw second question, which is related directly to the first engagement. I often find the galleries are booked up for the next year and a half normally. You might get a little spin off, like one small room at the back of the gallery for student work. From the photographer's point of view they have to be prepared to look at the long term schedule and the galleries already Got the space is full?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

It's a good question. I've had situations where, I hadn't planned ahead longer than three months. Which on the one hand, was awful, because you just basically running after your own indecisions. But on the other hand, it does afford you the possibility to relatively quickly organize and curate an exhibition that that just came across your path a few months ago.


I've had to streamline that. And generally speaking about one and a half year in advance, And I see this work, and I'm thinking oh, my god, yes, yes, I love it. Yeah, we're gonna do it. And, you know, one and a half years, that's, it's, that's tough. There's no need to be, you know, excited about you exhibitions that are coming.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I guess the difficulty from an artists' perspective, there's a lot of work happens in a year and a half, right, that artists already moved on to the next series and the next series.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

So these days, with, with all this distancing going on, I mean, the, I can only talk about the way that I like to receive proposals, I'd like to have an email, somebody introducing themselves explaining how they came across us. Very often they've met us or been to an opening, or I've just seen us on internet somewhere, explaining who they are, how they came across us, and what they would like to do, and then have literally a, you know, small series in a PDF form or whatever form, but something that I can actually literally open up and I have a feeling, aha, I can actually save this, put it into my computer and go back to it and think about it. When somebody sends me a mails like, Hey, listen, I'm a photographer, click on the link to see if we can do something together. Yeah. Then I should click on the link, because very possibly, it might be great, great work. But yeah.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Make it easy for you.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

And actually, it ties into that physicality again, although it's, you know, it's all digital. Still, I want to have the feeling that somebody is coming in and opening up their portfolio.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

A presentation. Absolutely, a professional presentation of the work. Yeah, for sure.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

You know, they've put in the effort.


And what I look for in a way is a very realistic, reality based presentation. So if it's a young artist, and that artist is insecure about his work, or the way that he presented, or with the text, or whatever, that that person actually presents themselves as such and not overcompensates that somehow by being arrogant,, because that creates a disconnect between what I see what I feel and what that person is trying to convey. So that's what I look for. So like, for example, in terms of message or narrative, I look for consistency there, I look for somebody that's really thought about what it is that person is doing. If, for example, somebody comes in and they say, listen, I have no idea what I've done, I've just done this, and it grabs me and I look at it, and I think, shit, yeah, yeah, grabs me as well. It's, you know, somehow really visceral, then I'll go for that. But it's also because that that person has presented it as such.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

It's an honest representation of where they are, either with the confidence in their work or in respect of where they are in their career.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

So if you have a really confident person that is very confident about their work. And I look at the work, and I look at the way they present it, and I look at them. And I think Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It works. It's consistent. It makes sense. You know, what you're doing, you know, what you want? Fine, but it's honest, it makes it easy to work with.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I suppose for the benefit of the younger students, or students coming through the program, because it's starting to become clear to me, there's lots of information, which is very useful for them. We don't teach a particular unit or project on fine art photography. Is the standard practice in terms of the number of edition prints that an artist will sell? Or is that just depend on the artist? The gallery have a say in that in terms of the commercial revenue they need to gain from, you know, do you only allow work that can be one of 50? Or do you do the gallery have a say in terms of the size of the artwork in terms of how it's then presented. So it can have a great impact in terms of sales. You know, if an artist wants to put on a show, and every picture is the size of a postage stamp I imagine that would be a very niche market, and you'd be less likely to want to take that on irrespective of the quality of the concept behind them.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

No I would probably definitely go for it, I love the idea. I think, let's do it, let's do it. I would go for that. I do actually like, bizarre, strange and creative ways of presentation. Especially if it ties well into and is consistent with the concept. So I would definitely go for that. I'm not a shark. I'm not a hard edged businessman, I genuinely want to develop the work of the artists as much as I can help, promote it, help disseminate it, and help ripen. So if an artist says, I have an edition of 50 for this particular work, or I have an edition of 150. And it's been like that forever. I have an idea why then, okay, I'll go. I'll do it. I won't have any problem with that. But if an artist a younger artist asks me, so yeah, I don't know about the editions. What do you think? Then generally, I will start off with a max of 30. That includes artists proofs because, one of the major markets close to us is France, and they have a maximum of 30. Beyond 30, it becomes a commercial product and you also pay the tax for commercial products. And, you know, underneath 30, that includes everything. it's considered fine art. So if we go to an art fair there, we can't honestly literally can't show work that has an edition of more than 30 in total really.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Interesting. I've never considered never thought of that. I've never heard of that. It's really interesting. Do you tend to have a book produced for the exhibitions or again, is that just whether that's just the choice of the artist.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Honestly, we don't have a budget that's large enough to take on that. Also, many of our artists are starting artists, and they just literally don't have enough strong work to actually create a book with. But, for example, now, I'm planning an exhibition in October, by a young, French Hong Kong Chinese photographer. And it's his first solo show. And he's planning a book. So, I wrote a text for for his introduction. But in terms of financing, I put it squarely on his shoulders. Listen, I can't take that on, and he can, so that's the way that we did it. But no, to get to the nuts and bolts, we offer space, we offer opening hours, obviously, we offer a vernissage, finissage events, if the exhibition or the theme merit it, like screenings or films or, you know, panel discussion or whatever. That's what we offer. We offer advice. And sometimes I offer, applying together for funding, or helping the artist apply for funding on their own name, but I'll help. But that's as far as we go. Or, you know, if an artist comes from far, then they can stay at our house and I'll cook.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Oh, yeah, love it!


Thriving in a Socially Distanced World


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Well, we're heading towards the end of this and it feels like we've covered a lot of ground. But one of the things I want you to both reflect on is the future. Right? We're kind of heading into a world where we've got social distancing, where more and more interactions are going online. And I've seen some of the galleries put up events on Eventbrite, so they create this really tight funnel, people are seeing things one at a time. And obviously, in the last four or five years, I've seen a lot of galleries getting pushed out of the center of Amsterdam, because of the higher rents, and that may actually reverse so that that that may be a positive. Right. So I just wanted your thoughts on what the opportunities, what the threats, what strategies might be, as we move forward in 2020, 2021?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

I'm actually interested in hearing what you were you think, Steve


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I guess my perspective, I've looked in the last number of months at online 3d Gallery spaces as presentations of my work because a good company in Berlin, I think I paid 10 pounds a month for that privilege. But as an investigation, I've looked at different website builders, different templates. Obviously, we have the social media channels, there's never been a greater time as in any respect than ours to showcase the work to present themselves. And that there's an education behind that in terms of successful presentation hashtags, building up a brand, a profile, so that's really interesting.


But, for me, we need people in our life, we need to congregate. I went back teaching this week for the first time since March. So this is our first week back. Well, I've been in the building, we've built new studios, new classrooms, that's fine. The social distancing is in place. And I was really pleased when I when I came home after the first day of teaching, I realized how much on a personal level I enjoy that interaction. In photography, for me has always involved social engagement. Now again, we're not necessarily specific to the fine arts but just in anything that I did when I worked in the studios, when I was doing portraiture, when I was working with location scouts, or casting guys, or casting models or any of the personal work I'm out and about, in my environment, looking and engaging, that's that physical, tactile relationship with the world and with people is ultimately of most importance to, to me, whether I ever take a picture again or not. So I don't know if that particularly touches on what is relevant as an answer. But, I don't think I could engage or get the same enjoyment of the discipline of photography, if I became purely a techno junkie, and I spent all my time online.


I did that for March up until this week, there was new skills that I developed, there was new software that I linked up for presentation of the work, I looked at software and different ways of working, to manage the COVID condition. I've been doing a similar thing to this. I've been interviewing photographers I've never met before, I did an interview with a photographer last week in Singapore, I gave her a student brief and said, Look, what would you do with this, and I've got another interview with a photographer I've never met before, I contacted them through social media, still life photographer next Thursday, and he's getting a look at the brief the students will get and tell me how he would approach it. So maybe I'm going off tangent, but there's a lot of positives about the current situation and how we can develop our communicative tools and reach out to new people and Sebastian, I've never met you before. And I've had a very enjoyable morning, I'm sure we'll chat again. But in terms of the gallery spaces, I would hope and pray that we can we can continue to sustain as a society, the smaller gallery spaces so we can discover new art, we can meet people, like minded souls, we can share ideas, and we can enjoy a social drink. And we can come over and you'll cook for us Sebastian, you know, there's so you know, the big galleries, Aberdeen Art Gallery got a full makeover. We spent a lot of money last year and it's looking fantastic. The gallery is now open, social distancing measures in place. But we need we need more spaces like that here. So I can't answer the question in terms of the logistics and how difficult it will be for galleries over the next coming year. But as a practitioner, as someone who enjoys and engages in fine arts. Oh, my God, I hope. I hope the spaces that I can go and meet like minded souls, you know?


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Yeah, I completely subscribe to that. We had an opening last week on? Yeah, last week, Friday. I was the first one since since, well, actually, since March. But I'd been off traveling since November. So it was nearly a year. And I came back so energized, I saw people and it's not that I don't see people on a daily basis. Of course I do. But oh my god, how wonderful it was to see, you know, some of the same faces as well, and just see them with a glass in their hand and shooting the shit I mean, it was great. It was really lovely. And yeah, it just makes me think of how important for us, as human beings it is to have that that social aspect. It's incredibly important and physical proximity.


The situation of the last few months has forced us in in various ways to connect with others through alternative media alternative ways. And it it has brought up opportunities as well. We do get to meet people that we would never meet before because we're forced to somehow and that's a great thing that really gives a lot of opportunity to expand your your your horizon. But at the same time, just physical proximity to people is fundamental, I think it's existential to our feeling of well being I think. So I don't know if that answered the question. I just thought that was an important one.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

It's an important one, I would I would concur. For sure.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

These are problems that all of us are struggling with. No one really knows the answer to yet. The whole planets dealing with it, right. It's not just the three of us. But we need to we need to figure out a way forwards


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I think I think Sebastian's going to need a bigger oven. Bigger stove.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

I'm working on that. I ordered one online.


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

Sebastian's soup kitchen. Bring it on. Feed the world


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

Okay, well, I do do either of you have any more questions or anything else to talk about?


Steve Smith - Photography Lecturer - Aberdeen NESCOL

I would say no. But it's been a great morning, it's really fruitful. I know that the friends and students and learners that I'll make this successful to or at least make them aware of will benefit greatly from the the conversation and the and the honesty, which I compliment you on Sebastian as well. The honesty that you bring to to that topic. And like I touched on very briefly, I suppose I've got the realization that there's a lot of this subject matter that we don't have within the current curriculum that I teach. And it's, it's been good for me because it allows me to, to sit on that and think about that and think, In what capacity will I now bring this whole conversation of representation of gallery, representation of branding of artists, into the curriculum to make it fruitful for them as they move forward in the, in their journey. So it's been brilliant, thank you Rahul for facilitate and this and Sebastian for, it's been great. Great to meet you.


Sebastian Rypson, Curator, Gallery WM Amsterdam

Likewise. I mean, the pleasure has been mine completely so thank you very much. It's been great talking to you. You obviously are, you know, very confident in your knowledge, which I greatly admire. And,, you're a really friendly guy as well. So that's nice. Nice to meet you.


Rahul - ALH & vPatina

I knew both you'd get along. And the thing I liked about both us. You're both guys have huge amounts of integrity. So thank you.



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