LensWork Announces My New Book!

I want to thank LensWork Publishing for announcing my new book, My Colombia: The First Seven Years, in their alumni news. The book  contains a collection of photographs I have taken during my travels throughout Colombia. Preview and purchase My Colombia: The First Seven Years at Blurb.

Black and white photo of tall palm trees in front of a mountain.
My Colombia: The First Seven Years book

 

In 2006, LensWork honored my Whispers project with a feature spread in its #65 issue. The project explored architectural survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. You can purchase prints from the Whispers collection directly from this website.

Whispers Series - Architectural survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Whispers Series - Architectural survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Whispers Series - Architectural survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Whispers Series - Architectural survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

SALE! Limited Time Promotion Ends September 24

Each week I offer up to three Limited Time Promotions, which run for just five days. This week’s Limited Time Promotions include a trio of abstract floral designs. Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, so you won’t miss announcements about these special deals. This week’s promotions end September 24.

Limited Time Promotion

This week’s first Limited Time Promotion is an 16×20-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of The Valley of Shadows. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on an 16x20x1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $180
SALE price $89

This promotion ends on September 24. Click for details.

Valley of shadows promotion

 

Limited Time Promotion

The second Limited Time Promotion is an 16×20-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Elephant Ear Plant. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on an 16×20-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $180
SALE price $89

This promotion ends on September 24. Click for details.

Elephant ear plant promo

 

Limited Time Promotion

Last, but not least, is an 24×36-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Shadowland Tetra. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 24×36-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $358
SALE price $179

This promotion ends on September 24. Click for details.

Shadowland tetra promo

If these photos don’t suit your fancy, you’ll find a variety of others in my print shop. I’ll offer new Limited Time Promotions next week, so subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, to receive the announcement.

 

The Will, Part II: An Unending Sense of Loss

Author’s Note: The following article is part two of a two-part series. In part one, The Will, Part I: Let Him Eat Cake, I provided a narrative of my inheritance experience, and in this installment, The Will, Part II: An Unending Sense of Loss, I talk about emotional harm and the impact the estate struggle has had on grieving my mother’s death. I also offer advice for people facing similar inheritance complications. Click here if you have not read part one, The Will, Part I: Let Him Eat Cake.

I have changed the names of two people in the story; I refer to my sister as “Louise” and I call my sister’s lawyer “Ms. Dean”. I use the real name of Ms. Dean’s law firm, Winburn, Mano, Schrader & Shram, PLLC, of Little Rock, Arkansas.

This is a true story

 

I do not have anything that belonged to my parents. Nothing. Louise, my sister, cleared out my mother’s house without telling me in advance and without giving me a chance to claim anything. I sent Ms. Dean, Louise’s lawyer, a list of eight things I wanted, which included my father’s Army medals and a small sculpture I gave to my mother. She claimed that the most important items were not found and could not confirm the existence of the others. So, I am left with nothing.

But that is not all I lost. Some of my childhood belongings never left my parents’ home. I lost all my school yearbooks and my high school diploma. I do not know the whereabouts of paintings, drawings, and pottery I made in high school. I do not know what happened to my childhood teddy bear or locks of my hair that my mother saved when I was a child. I have no photos to attach to the family genealogy I started after my mother died. I do not know what happened to my collection of sentimental items that belonged to my grandparents. I do not know what happened to the collection of letters my parents wrote to each other when my father served in the Korean War, or the 48-star flag that draped my grandfather’s coffin.

In the months following my mother’s death, I spoke only with Ms. Dean, as Louise requested. After the estate settlement, Louise sent me a scathing email. Although she was the executor of the estate, she considered my questions and my insistence on the truth as an attack on her and her family. She said I was toxic, an unfit person for her and her family to have a relationship with, and accused me of abusing my mother, a claim she had never made before.

More than a year passed before we communicated further, again through email. Once again she accused me of multiple instances of unspecified abuse against my mother; her accusations were evolving. She claimed a psychiatrist once treated me for anger issues, which was a lie. She said she was praying for me and that I needed to see a priest. It sounded as though she was suggesting I needed an exorcism.

My normal grief process took an unfamiliar route, which I knew related to the unresolved estate issues. Emotionally, I sometimes felt stuck at Boardwalk, unable to pass Go. I still miss talking with my mother several times a week. I miss receiving her call on my birthday. I grieve the time I lost with her before she fell ill, time that was fruitful for our relationship when I lived in Arkansas. I wish she had lived longer to meet my spouse and my South American family. I wish she was here today to meet my cat, Cyndi Lou, who came into my life shortly after my mother died, and whom my mother would undoubtedly call “fuzzy britches” as I often do.

I sometimes ponder Ms. Dean’s role in the estate battle and the duality of her professional conduct. I question the ethics of her working on behalf of my mother’s estate when she was alive, and then working on behalf of Louise’s personal interests in the estate after my mother died. When I perused her firm’s website, I found a library of articles that warned clients of the types of pitfalls that undermined my inheritance. In spite of that, Ms. Dean helped Louise exploit the shortcomings of my mother’s estate plan. For me, the estate experience felt like a sadistic scavenger hunt, rather than the respectful sharing of assets that my mother deserved and expected.

Nevertheless, I persist.

In hindsight, I see a multitude of red flags that I did not respond to in time. I am not a lawyer or an estate specialist, and the homegrown suggestions I offer here are not comprehensive. These suggestions reflect my personal experience, which I hope will help other beneficiaries avoid the problems I encountered.

Demand inclusion in end-of-life duties. Offering to help a caregiver will relieve their burden, but it also ensures that you are kept abreast of health and financial details. If a caregiver refuses your help, they might later use your lack of participation to bolster a claim that they are entitled to part or all of your share of the estate.

Document everything. Document everything that crosses your path, if you suspect self-dealing by an executor or caregiver. If the wrongdoer makes contradictory statements, consider recording your phone calls with them. Call recording laws vary by state, so you should make sure your actions are legal.

Save all emails and text messages and made backup PDF copies. Pay attention to the social media pages of the offender. As time passes, people get sloppy and may post messages or photos that reveal property they have taken.

People who take more than their fair share sometimes make incriminating statements along the way. Documentation can prove critical if an estate battle goes to court.

Do not hide abuse. If someone has stolen part or all of your inheritance, talk about the theft with people close to your family. By speaking up you increase your chances of recovering what is rightfully yours. For instance, if someone has taken property from an estate of which you a beneficiary, post pictures of the property on your social media page and ask friends and family members to help you locate it.

Seek legal help early. The earlier you seek legal help, the more likely you can prevent depletion of the estate or outright theft. Depletion of an estate can begin long before a loved one dies, or even before they become incapacitated. Examples of estate depletion or theft include misappropriating funds in a joint checking account, fraudulent real estate deals, or taking the belongings of an incapacitated person. It is common and normal to feel hesitant about bringing legal action against someone you love, but if you do not, you stand to lose.

Guilt and gaslighting. Do not let guilt stop you from taking a demanding stance about an estate from which you stand to inherit. You have the right to ask questions about the estate’s assets and to expect thorough, truthful answers.

If you confront someone who has overreached, expect negative blowback. Gaslighting is a common response from someone guilty of wrongdoing. The purpose of gaslighting it to make you the guilty party. In many cases, the gaslighter will try to blame you for their actions. Gaslighting is manipulation, do not fall for it.

Forgive. First, you must forgive yourself for suffering a loss. My inaction resulted in the loss of money and property. This series of articles is one way I am forgiving myself, because in sharing my story, I hope to help other people avoid the problems I have faced.

Forgive the deceased loved one whose inaction or inadequate planning caused you to suffer a loss. Such failures are water under the bridge once the person becomes incapacitated or dies.

Consider forgiving the person who wronged you. Forgiving them must depend on factors such as the quality of the relationship before the offense happened. Forgiveness does not require you to continue a relationship with that person. You should avoid forgiving them before they admit their wrongdoing, make amends by repaying you, and ask you for forgiveness.
I informed Ms. Dean and Louise that I was writing and planning to publish these articles. I gave them plenty of time to correct, change, or clarify the statements they have made about my mother’s estate, but they never responded.

Further reading:

Ethics

Fraud Law and Legal Definition

“Houston, We Have a Problem”: Clients Who Engage in Unlawful Conduct During Your Representation

Rule 1.2: Scope of Representation & Allocation of Authority Between Client & Lawyer

ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct

Ethics in Estate Planning and Elder Law: The Hard Ones

Ethical Considerations in Serving as or Representing Executors, Trustees, and other Fiduciaries

Executor-Punishment for Breach of Duties

Failure to Execute Fiduciary Responsibilities as an Executor of a Will

Rule 1.7. Conflict Of Interest: Current Clients

Exploitation

What is Financial Exploitation?

Elder Financial Exploitation

Inheritance Issues

Theft by Deception Law and Legal Definition

Stealing Inheritances: What to Do if a Family Member is Acting Wrongly

Stolen Inheritance?

Is My Brother Stealing Our Inheritance?

Joint Banking Accounts

Risks of joint bank accounts

What Happens to Bank Accounts at Your Death

Estate Planning with Joint Bank Accounts — Beware!

Estate planning must dos

5 Reasons Joint Accounts May Be a Poor Estate Plan

Problems Using Joint and POD/ITF Bank Accounts to Avoid Probate

The Will, Part I: Let Him Eat Cake

Author’s Note: This is the true story of my inheritance experience. In The Will, Part I: Let Him Eat Cake, I offer a narrative of events, and in The Will, Part II: An Unending Sense of Loss, I talk about emotional challenges and material loss, and offer tips that might help other people avoid losing their inheritances.

I have changed the names of two people in the story: I refer to my sister as “Louise” and I call my sister’s lawyer “Ms. Dean”. I use the real name of Ms. Dean’s law firm, Winburn, Mano, Schrader & Shram, PLLC, of Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

When I visited my parents in the latter years of their lives, they always pulled out their financial documents to discuss the fine details with me. They lived in Southaven, Mississippi—a bedroom community of Memphis, Tennessee—and I lived in California. My mother typed financial statements for me on an old IBM Selectric, and always wrote notes in the margins to explain matters she forgot to type. Sometimes she would get ahead of herself and make notes in shorthand, which she would have to decipher for me.

During those sessions, we would sit in the kitchen, with financial documents spread all over the table. There were certificates of deposit, checking and savings accounts, a house, and personal possessions. Compared to some people, my parents’ assets were modest, but I was proud of what they had accomplished. Before they retired, my father headed the maintenance division of a school district and my mother worked as an executive secretary. They worked hard and struggled financially throughout my childhood, but by the end of their lives, they had paid off their credit cards and personal loans, and enjoyed a financially secure retirement.

My parents always said that I would inherit half of their estate, and in one of our conversations my father talked about the importance of inheritance. He said mine would probably come when I was in my 40s or 50s and would be a financial push to send me into the second half of my life. Another time, he pulled out his calculator to estimate the value of what he thought I would inherit. From the time my sister Louise and I were born, our parents planned for what they would leave behind for us when they died.

Late in their lives, my parents expressed regrets for not participating much in my adult life. My mother once said she had neglected me, and my father said they had shortchanged me. My father thought of giving in monetary terms, while my mother considered time and attention most important. My mother’s view most closely matched mine, because I often felt sad about their absence in my life. They always cited the demands of Louise and her family for what my father referred to as an imbalance in their contributions. Louise, who lived in Memphis, had children and regularly called on our parents for help with babysitting, collecting the kids from school, or running errands that she could not accomplish on her own. On the other hand, I do not have children and have always lived a more independent life.

After our father died in 2003, Louise and I encouraged our mother to get her legal house in order. She made a last will and testament and living will, and assigned power of attorney. My mother’s will reflected the simplicity of her affairs—directing an equal division of her assets to Louise and me—and assigned Louise as her primary personal representative (executor) and me her secondary representative.

My parents were married for more than 50 years, but after my father died, my mother adapted well to independence and began to thrive. She talked of spending the rest of her healthy years traveling to places she had only dreamed about before. She took a senior’s trip to New England and later talked about going on an Alaskan cruise, to Europe, and the Holy Land.

Two years after my father died, Louise and her family sold their Memphis house and moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where they lived in a huge lakefront dwelling, with an estimated market value of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. When a lifestyle magazine published a story about Louise and her home, she bragged to the writer about her art collections, frequent trips to the Caribbean, and hosting gatherings for 100 or more guests on her terraced patios.

Louise urged our mother to move to Arkansas, too, saying her and her husband were winding down their businesses for early retirement, and that they needed to live close to each other in case our mother’s health declined. Three years after my father died, my mother sold her house in Southaven and moved to Hot Springs, where she rented a condominium owned by Louise and her husband.

A few weeks after my mother moved, she called me complaining that she suspected Louise and her husband were overcharging her on the rent. She had been asking people all over town what their landlords charged and found that they paid substantially less than she did for comparable homes. When I researched the Hot Springs market online, I came to the same conclusion. She was paying around 166% of market value; an 80% increase in her base housing cost, compared to the house she had owned in Southaven.

When my mother questioned the high rent, Louise said that her rent payment did not even cover the mortgage. Shortly before she had the stroke, my mother ask me to research the financial details of the condominium through public records. I found the mortgage documents and discovered that her rent payment actually was enough to cover the mortgage payment, the association fee, insurance, and taxes, and appeared to leave Louise and her husband with a small monthly profit.

A few weeks after my mother moved to Hot Springs, Louise and her husband bought a condominium back in Memphis, and Louise began saying she did not like Hot Springs. Citing business concerns, Louise and her husband spent alternating weeks in Memphis. At times, both of them were in Memphis at the same time, leaving my mother alone in Hot Springs with Louise’s teenage daughter.

A year after my mother moved to Arkansas, I packed up my life in San Francisco—where I had lived for more than 10 years—and moved to Hot Springs, too. My mother liked Hot Springs, but I could tell she was lonely and missed her old life. She often traveled to Southaven to visit with friends, see her doctors, and attend her church, where she had been a member for more than 50 years. From the time I arrived in Hot Springs, I played an increasingly active role in my mother’s life—cleaning her house, washing clothes, cooking, running errands, maintaining her car, and chauffeuring her around town.

A few months after I moved to Hot Springs, Louise asked me to come to her house for a talk. Without warning, Louise told me to leave town. She claimed that my presence was causing our mother to become depressed, which Louise said was interfering with her own life. The message felt like a punch in the stomach—I was speechless. Louise began crying, telling me about the difficulties of her life. The moment seemed surreal; first, she dropped a bombshell that would upend my life, and then she wanted me to console her. Within weeks I landed a contract job in another state and left Arkansas.

In the years that followed, my mother talked openly with me about issues she had not revealed to me before. She was concerned about a joint checking account she opened with Louise after our father died. Louise had insisted on the account, my mother explained, saying it would be easier for her to handle my mother’s affairs if she fell ill. She was not able to articulate specific fears, and at the time I did not understand the dangers of joint checking accounts.

She also worried about her estate documents. She originally wanted a lawyer from her church to write her will, but Louise insisted that our mother use her lawyer. She feared Louise was monitoring how she spent her money and that after she died Louise would find a way to take her entire estate and leave me with nothing. I had experience in other financial areas, but knew nothing about estate planning, so I was not able to advise her.

She complained that the high rent made it impossible for her to save money and travel. She even talked about getting a part-time job, because the rent payment devoured nearly one-third of her income. I often talked to her about getting out of the condominium. She wanted to go back to Southaven, where she still had a large support network, but that move seemed daunting to her. She settled on the idea of moving into an independent living facility in Hot Springs. Unfortunately, that plan never became a reality.

In 2012, my mother had a stroke that left her unable to speak or walk. After a hospital stay, Louise moved her to a nursing home, where she would receive physical and speech therapy in hopes of recovering her motor skills. She made minimal progress in therapy, which she eventually discontinued.

By that time, I was living in South America, where I had married, was working as a writer and was setting up a travel business. My mother’s care fell entirely upon Louise’s shoulders, so the day of the stroke I suggested that I would deal with any issue I could handle over the phone or online such as health insurance, pension, social security benefits, and Medicare matters. Louise declined that offer and all subsequent offers of help.

Early in our mother’s illness, Louise said that her pension and social security income covered most of her nursing home and medical expenses, and she qualified for a Veterans Affairs benefit that likely would cover the balance. Before the stroke, my mother had $35,000 in investments and a five-figure sum in her bank account, so I felt certain she could retain most of her assets. Louise expressed the same confidence.

Days after my mother’s stroke, Louise told me that she and her husband wanted to give our mother’s car to their adult son. I objected, and within a few weeks Louise said that her husband’s employer wanted to buy the car. Months later, Louise told me that she was selling our mother’s household possessions with the condominium my mother rented from her and her husband. She had never asked me about property I wanted to keep after our mother died, and it was the first time she had mentioned selling the belongings. It was one day before the closing, so it was pointless for me to try to stop the sale.

In January 2014, Louise abruptly moved our mother to a new nursing home. I spoke with Louise weekly, but she had never mentioned the impending move. In fact, she notified me by voice mail after the move happened. A few months before, my mother had developed a bedsore that escalated into a near-fatal infection, which Louise blamed on the nursing home staff. She even accused them of falsifying my mother’s medical records. Even so, at the time of the move, my mother was recovering and seemed happy in her environment. Louise told me that she moved our mother in order to file a lawsuit against the first nursing home. But, she insisted, making money was not her main objective. She had already filed two complaints against the nursing home with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, which they ruled were unfounded.

My mother died in 2015. The day after her burial, Louise and I visited the cemetery, where she briefly mentioned distribution of the estate. She said our mother’s money had dwindled to almost nothing, but we would receive money from two life insurance policies. After I returned to South America, I sent an email to Louise asking her three questions:

  1. How much money did she raise by selling our mother’s household possessions with her condominium, and what happened to that money?
  2. What happened to our mother’s car?
  3. Did she use any of our mother’s money to pay condominium expenses after our mother fell ill and before she and her husband sold the property?

“I have NO time for your nitpicking,” she wrote back. I reminded her that I was an equal beneficiary in the estate and I had a right to ask questions of the executor—her. I suggested that, if she was unwilling to answer my questions, she should hire a lawyer to handle the estate distribution.

Months before my mother passed away, I sought legal referrals in case I ran into estate problems after she died. I chose a Little Rock lawyer with a prestigious background that included stints as the editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Law Review and president of the American Bar Association. After reviewing my mother’s legal documents, he noticed potential problems if we had to go to court, because my mother’s will was 10 years old. I feared costly litigation, which I could not afford, so I did not retain his services.

Louise hired a lawyer, Ms. Dean, not to represent our mother’s estate, but to represent her interests. Ms. Dean identified herself to me as an elder law attorney with the Little Rock firm Winburn, Mano, Schrader & Shram, PLLC, which markets itself as an estate-planning firm. According to Louise, Ms. Dean already had been working on my mother’s estate issues for two years. Foolishly, since she had already dealt with my mother’s affairs, I believed Ms. Dean would serve as a fair intermediary and that she would respond to my questions truthfully and thoroughly.

Ms. Dean began her conversation with me by saying she had advised Louise that, because of the right of survivorship, Louise owned all of the money in the joint checking account and did not have to share any of it with me. But, Ms. Dean said, Louise had graciously decided to give me a portion of the money anyway. I felt stunned, because I realized the account probably held a wealth of secrets I would never be able to uncover.

Ms. Dean said she would have answers to my three questions by the end of the week; she finally responded by letter six weeks later. She did not answer my question about Louise using our mother’s money to pay Louise’s condominium expenses. She said an unnamed person or company bought my mother’s car and paid for it in three installments. She claimed that a used furniture store appraised my mother’s home furnishings and made a low offer; it would have cost more money than the offer to transport the furniture to the store—located four miles away—so Louise sold our mother’s belongings with the condominium. The furnishings did not increase the sale price of the condominium, Ms. Dean claimed. Essentially, Louise gave away all of our mother’s home furnishings to a stranger, according to Ms. Dean.

Ms. Dean’s greatest revelation involved the joint checking account, as I had feared. She said Louise deposited funds from the car sale and all of our mother’s $35,000 in investments into the joint checking account, of which she was the sole co-owner, rather than open a living trust designated for our mother’s needs.

Ms. Dean provided monthly average costs of my mother’s nursing home expenses, but her figures did not account for the use or whereabouts of more than 50% of my mother’s money. She refused to answer my follow-up questions about the missing money, or anything else, and eventually told me I would have to hire a lawyer to continue dealing with her. She and Louise never provided any billing or financial statements and refused to give me copies of other documents, including the bill of sale for the car and my mother’s last tax return. The information in Ms. Dean’s two-page letter was all they would give me.

One year after the supposed sale of the car, Louise’s son posted videos on his social media page of himself driving what appeared to be my mother’s car. When I contacted the real estate agent that sold the condominium and the owner of the used furniture store, I learned that Ms. Dean’s story about my mother’s home furnishings was untrue. The furniture storeowner never appraised the items and the real estate agent did not sell the condominium furnished. I still do not know what happened to my mother’s household effects, which were part of the estate. I confronted Louise and Ms. Dean about the discrepancies, but they did not respond.

In the end, I received $1,000 from one life insurance company and a little less than $4,000 from the checking account. Repeatedly, I asked Ms. Dean about my portion of the second life insurance policy, which had a substantially larger benefit than the other one, but she never responded. When I contacted the insurance company about the second policy, I learned that my mother listed Louise as the primary beneficiary and me as the secondary. From our conversations and the financial statements she made for me, I knew my mother expected Louise and me to equally divide all of her assets, including the two life insurance policies. Instead, Louise kept all the money from the largest policy for herself.

Months before I published this article, I told Louise and Ms. Dean that I was writing it, and gave them ample opportunity to clarify or change statements they had made about my mother’s estate. They never responded.

Continue to The Will, Part II: An Unending Sense of Loss.

Further reading:

Ethics

Fraud Law and Legal Definition

“Houston, We Have a Problem”: Clients Who Engage in Unlawful Conduct During Your Representation

Rule 1.2: Scope of Representation & Allocation of Authority Between Client & Lawyer

ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct

Ethics in Estate Planning and Elder Law: The Hard Ones

Ethical Considerations in Serving as or Representing Executors, Trustees, and other Fiduciaries

Executor-Punishment for Breach of Duties

Failure to Execute Fiduciary Responsibilities as an Executor of a Will

Rule 1.7. Conflict Of Interest: Current Clients

Exploitation

What is Financial Exploitation?

Elder Financial Exploitation

Inheritance Issues

Theft by Deception Law and Legal Definition

Stealing Inheritances: What to Do if a Family Member is Acting Wrongly

Stolen Inheritance?

Is My Brother Stealing Our Inheritance?

Joint Banking Accounts

Risks of joint bank accounts

What Happens to Bank Accounts at Your Death

Estate Planning with Joint Bank Accounts — Beware!

Estate planning must dos

5 Reasons Joint Accounts May Be a Poor Estate Plan

Problems Using Joint and POD/ITF Bank Accounts to Avoid Probate

SALE! Limited Time Promotion Ends July 31

Each week I offer up to three Limited Time Promotions, which run for just five days. This week’s Limited Time Promotions include a trio of photos from the streets of San Francisco. Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, so you won’t miss announcements about these special deals. This week’s promotions end July 31.

Limited Time Promotion

This week’s first Limited Time Promotion is an 11×14-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Marian And Vivian Brown. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on an 11x14x1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $131
SALE price $59

This promotion ends on July 31. Click for details.

Black and white photo of the famous Brown twins in San Francisco.

 

Limited Time Promotion

The second Limited Time Promotion is an 11×14-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Big Hair. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on an 11×14-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $131
SALE price $59

This promotion ends on July 31. Click for details.

Black and white photo of a female impersonator with huge blonde hair and a diamond necklace.

 

Limited Time Promotion

Last, but not least, is an 11×14-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Butterfly. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 11×14-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $131
SALE price $59

This promotion ends on July 31. Click for details.

Black and white photo of a shirtless man wearing butterfly wings.

If these photos don’t suit your fancy, you’ll find a variety of others in my print shop. I’ll offer new Limited Time Promotions next week, so subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, to receive the announcement.

 

New wholesale product line!

I’m excited to announce a new wholesale product line, which includes press-printed greeting cards, photo cards, and wall art.

This isn’t my first venture into the greeting card business. In the early 2000s, I sold a line of cards and gifts under the business name Trailer Park Creations. The line of humorous political merchandise proved successful, and sold in stores at New York City’s Times Square, along San Francisco’s Castro Street, in the Newbury Comics chain, and in a variety of middle-America card and novelty shops.

Colombia Art

Nature Art

Architecture Art

The new product line focuses on my photography. Since I live in Colombia, and just two blocks from the nearest coffee plantation, I’ve put together a collection of Colombia- and coffee-themed products for cafes and restaurants. But that’s not all. You can find cards and artwork from my Urban Abstract and Material World collections, as well as of architectural, nature, and street photography scenes.

Street Musicians, Salento, Colombia

Traditional Colombian Dresses

Farmer with Poncho, Libano, Colombia

Greeting cards start at $21 for a pack of 25 cards and envelopes, and wall art ranges in price from $40-160. All products are manufactured in and shipped from the United States. I charge just $7 per order for ground shipping.

Until July 31, you can receive a 10% discount by entering coupon code FIRSTORDER at checkout.

Please stop by the Design Store and take a look around. And if you know an interior designer or a gift shop, cafe, or novelty shop owner, please pass along this message to them.

https://www.d76.us/wholesale

 

 

The City Paper Bogotá – July 2017

Big Picture from Colombia: A meeting of mules in Tolima

By The City Paper Staff

Big Picture from Colombia: A meeting of mules in Tolima

Photographer Michael Evans has explored the mist-covered towns of Tolima for seven years since taking a bold decision to settle in this department nestled between the the Magdalena River and coffee growing region of the Central Cordillera. While on one of many trips to the most rugged regions of the altiplano Tolimense, Evans came across Murillo, a town founded in 1872 that preserves a rustic Republican heritage.

As the last municipality before entering the Parque Nacional de los Nevados and craggy folds of the Nevado del Ruíz volcano, Murillo is a small farming community dedicated to cultivating potatoes and tree tomatoes, with no shortage of friendly mules to greet you as you wander this town’s half empty streets… continue reading at The City Paper Bogotá

Let’s talk about prints

I often miss the almost Zen-like atmosphere of the darkroom—the sound of running water, the dim amber glow of the safelight, the ticking of the enlarger timer, the feel of wet photo paper in my hand, even the burning sensation of acetic acid in my nostrils. Most of all, I miss hunching over a tray and marveling at the slow motion appearance of an image, the birth of a photograph.

One of my college photography teachers used to say I snuck up on my prints, meaning I took tiny steps in making my photos. It was true. I’d often end up with a dozen or more prints of the same image, with only slight variations in exposure or contrast. I snuck up on digital photography, too. Skeptical about the technology and unsure if I could produce the same quality of print from a digital original, I first bought a negative scanner and started post-producing everything in Photoshop. Later, I downloaded high-resolution digital photos from the internet and re-edited them in Photoshop. I realized I could match, and in many cases surpass, the quality of image I could produce in a darkroom.

I applied the same scrutiny to my digital printing, seeking out processes and substrates that would mirror black and white silver gelatin prints and offer the highest-quality archival results in both black and white and color images. Since the beginning of my digital career, I’ve outsourced my printing, primarily because it’s not feasible to maintain expensive printing equipment, especially in a technological environment in which hardware advances so quickly. Moving abroad has reinforced that decision.

Nonetheless, I offer two types of open edition prints.

Traditional Prints

Traditional prints involve precut photo paper and a chemical process. I’ve partnered with one of America’s best professional photo labs—a company I’ve used for gallery prints for nearly 12 years—to offer archival traditional prints directly from this website. When ordering traditional prints, you can choose between lustre, deep matte, and metallic finishes, in most cases.

Lustre paper (Kodak Endura Professional) has a smooth surface and a semi-gloss finish. It produces accurate skin tones, vibrant colors, and when used for black and white images simulates the look of silver gelatin paper. If you’re unsure about what type of paper to select, you can’t go wrong by choosing the lustre option.

Deep matte paper (Fuji Crystal Archive Professional) renders beautiful skin tones, produces a soft look in black and white images, and has a smooth surface and non-reflective finish. Deep matte is an excellent choice for color images with medium to low contrast and black and white photos with wide tonal ranges. I particularly like the look of black and white landscape and architectural photos printed on deep matte paper.

Metallic paper (Kodak Endura Professional) produces shiny silver and white tones in black and white images, and an almost reflective appearance to light tones in color photos. I don’t offer metallic paper for all images and it’s a choice you should select carefully, based on the overall look of the photo.

I trust Kodak and Fuji products. All of these papers meet archival standards and produce prints you can display for 100 years or more, when matted with acid-free materials, or place in dark storage for 200 years or more without loss of quality.

When looking at images in the print galleries, you can click the shopping cart or “Buy Photo” icons to launch the ordering module, which will display sizes and papers offered. If you click on the type of paper, a dialogue box will open to display information about the product.

I also offer metal prints. This modern printing method prints the photo directly on a sheet of aluminum. Metal prints come with a ¾-inch deep hanging system that gives the print the appearance of floating from off the wall.

When ordering lustre, deep matte, and metallic prints, you also have the option to mount the print on 3mm styrene or order a standout display. Styrene is an archival plastic material that adds a rigid backing to prints you plan to frame. Styrene mounting protects the print from bending or creasing and provides a permanently attached backing board for matting. Standout prints provide an all-in-one solution that does not require matting or framing. After printing the image, the lab mounts the print to a piece of ¾-inch deep foam and attaches a black plastic border. These lightweight and reasonably priced displays arrive ready to hang.

Black and white photo of a palm tree covered with parasitic plants.
Standout print

In the print galleries, you’ll notice two options with each image, borderless and with a white border. Borderless prints offer edge-to-edge coverage. If you order a 12×18-inch print, the image will take up the entire space. Borders reduce the actual image size by a few inches. For instance, a 12×18-inch print might have a 9×15-inch image printed in the center of the paper. Prints with borders are easier to mat and offer a classic look for standout prints.

Color photo of a green plant with a colorful butterfly on one of its leaves.

Prints ship directly from the U.S. lab, which charges a flat rate $7.25 fee (trackable, 5-10 day service) to ship an unlimited number of prints. You can also choose three- or two-day shipping for an additional fee. Shipping costs for metal prints range from $15-30 each. International shipping rates vary, depending on the destination.

In most cases, all sales are final when you order traditional prints from this website. If your print arrives damaged, please contact me immediately to arrange for a replacement.

Shop for traditional prints.

Giclée Prints

Currently, I offer giclée prints through Fine Art America, which has 14 fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Giclée is a French word that means to spurt or spray and refers to an inkjet printing process. But Fine Art America doesn’t use office variety inkjet machines. They use large industrial models that produce museum-quality prints, using archival inks and substrates. These machines print on large rolls of paper several feet/meters wide. Rather than trying to fit a photo onto a standard-sized paper, such as an 11×14-inch, Fine Art America always prints images full frame and adds a 1-inch white border. The border makes it easier for a professional framer to mat and frame the image, but makes it a little more difficult to shop for a premade frame in a standard size.

Fine Art America claims their prints last up to 75 years, with proper care. It’s a standard claim, and one I have no reason to doubt. However, keep in mind that the giclée process has only existed since the 1990s, so we don’t have 75-year-old prints to prove the claim.

In my Fine Art America store, you can choose prints on standard paper, metal, acrylic, and wood. You also have the option of museum- and gallery-wrapped canvas prints, which are printed full frame. That means you won’t lose any of the image in the wrapping process. You can choose black or white borders, or a mirrored look, which copies the edge of the image and repeats it on the canvas border. All canvas prints include hanging wires or brackets and arrive ready to hang on your wall.

Color photo of red and gold marquee at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas advertising Donny and Marie Osmond show.
Canvas print

Fine Art America also offers custom matting and framing options. The website interface allows you to choose from a wide variety of framing and matting materials and shows you how the final product will look. This is a great option if you don’t have a preferred framer in your area.

Shipping charges vary and range from $6.25 for a single 8×5-inch print, to $26.95 for a 40×26-inch metal print, or $56.95 for a 40×26-inch canvas print shipped to U.S. destinations. I’ve noticed slightly higher shipping costs for Limited Time Promotion prints and multiple-print orders.

I’m not directly involved with orders placed through Fine Art America. If you experience a shipping or printing problem, you must contact Fine Art America directly. They offer a 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee, which you can read about here: https://8-michael-evans.pixels.com/moneybackguaranteeartistwebsites.html

Shop for giclée prints.

Limited Edition Prints

When I lived in San Francisco, I only offered limited edition prints. Since moving abroad, offering limited edition prints has presented a few logistical problems. Currently, I still use photo labs in the United States. That means the lab must ship prints to me in Colombia, where I sign and number them, before shipping them to the buyer. Prints usually arrive 6-8 weeks after you make a purchase. The process will become faster when I find comparable Colombian labs to print my work. Subscribe to this blog to receive announcements about limited edition print offers.

Contact Me

Contact me if you have questions about prints, or have specific print needs not found on this website.

Further Reading

Care, Handling, and Storage of Photographs: http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/photo.html

Giclee Printing Process – What Artists Need to Know: http://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2016/07/07/giclee-printing-process-what-artists-need-to-know/

Kodak Endura Professional Paper: http://imaging.kodakalaris.com/product/kodak-professional-endura-premier-paper

Fujicolor Crystal Archive Deep Matte Paper: http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/photofinishing/paper_lab_products/color_papers_printing_materials/deep_matte/

 

SALE! Limited Time Promotion Ends July 2

Each week I offer up to three Limited Time Promotions, which run for just five days. This week’s Limited Time Promotions include a trio of tropical images to celebrate summer’s arrival. Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, so you won’t miss announcements about these special deals. This week’s promotions end July 2.

Limited Time Promotion

This week’s first Limited Time Promotion is a 16×20-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Tree of Life, version 2. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 16×20-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $180
SALE price $89

This promotion ends on July 2. Click for details.

Black and white photo of a palm tree, with it trunk covered with parasitic plants.
Regular price $180, sale price $89. Promotion ends July 2.

 

Limited Time Promotion

The second Limited Time Promotion is an 30×40-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Two Palms. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 30×40-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $417
SALE price $219

This promotion ends on July 2. Click for details.

Color photograph of two silvery palm trees set against a beautifully weathered mustard yellow stucco wall.
Regular price $417, sale price $219. Promotion ends July 2.

 

Limited Time Promotion

Last, but not least, is a 36×24-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Tulum Mayan Ruins. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. Fine Art America has fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 36×24-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $359
SALE price $179

This promotion ends on July 2. Click for details.

Color photograph of a beach scene at the Tulum, Mexico ruins site, with a blue sky, blue ocean, and white sand beach.
Regular price $359, sale price $179. Promotion ends July 2.

 

If these photos don’t suit your fancy, you’ll find a variety of others in my print shop. I’ll offer new Limited Time Promotions next week, so subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, to receive the announcement.

 

SALE! Limited Time Promotion Ends June 18

Each week I offer up to three Limited Time Promotions, which run for just five days. Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, so you won’t miss announcements about these special deals. This week’s promotions end June 18.

Limited Time Promotion

This week’s first Limited Time Promotion is a 16×20-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of He’s Got Dalai Lama Eyes. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 16×20-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $123
SALE price $89

This promotion ends on June 18. Click for details.

Black and white photo of the eyes of the Dalai Lama on a billboard.
Promotion ends June 18

 

Limited Time Promotion

The second Limited Time Promotion is an 11×14-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Intersection. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 11×14-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $87
SALE price $59

This promotion ends on June 18. Click for details.

Black and white photo irst photo is of mannequins in a store window.
Promotion ends June 18

 

Limited Time Promotion

Last, but not least, is a 36×24-inch gallery-wrapped canvas print of Street Musicians in Salento, Colombia. I’m offering this canvas print through Fine Art America, a company renown for their museum-quality prints. The image is printed on canvas and mounted on a 36×24-1.5-inch stretcher frame–ready to hang on your wall. With proper care this canvas print should retain its beautiful appearance for at least 75 years.

Regular price $252
SALE price $179

This promotion ends on June 18. Click for details.

Color photo of Colombian street musicians in front of a colonial house.
Promotion ends June 18

 

If these photos don’t suit your fancy, you’ll find a variety of others in my print shop. I’ll offer new Limited Time Promotions next week, so subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page, or on the Contact page, to receive the announcement.