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This just in: Starting an art collection of photography

The lithograph print I ordered by Vincent Laforet

The lithograph print I ordered by Vincent Laforet

On Saturday night, I stopped by to hear a FotoWeek DC panel discussion about the future of photography. To be honest, the panel was much less insightful than I had hoped it would be. However, one quote that inspired and resonated with me came from George Hemphill, the owner of Hemphill Fine Arts, a commercial art gallery here in D.C. He encouraged people to get started collecting by saying, “As a collector you can’t make any mistakes. Just collect what you love.”

In the past few months, I’ve started to dip my toe into the world of art collecting. The genre that’s recently resonated the most with me is photography. My friends, Kriti and Allie, went to Pancakes and Booze this summer and I met CJ Bown, a Philadelphia-based photographer. I fell in love with his work and the process he uses to produce canvases of his photos. (Each one takes about 2 weeks to complete.) I snapped up two of his pieces – one of the stairs to Bethesda Fountain in New York City’s Central Park and another of Boathouse Row in Philadelphia.

On Sunday, I learned about the intensely physical work of aerial photographer Vincent Laforet. “You have to try to take photos that no one else has taken. In 2015, that’s a tall order so I have to come up here.” By “up here”, he means in a helicopter as it whirls around while he attempts to capture stunning nighttime photos of cities. The fruits of his labors are stunning. They are living, breathing artifacts of how a city moves. I couldn’t stop looking at the galleries on his website so I bought a limited-edition lithograph of one of his New York City shots.

Are you a seasoned collector? Have you also started to collect art? Have You been thinking about starting a collection? I’d love to hear any tips, ideas, and perspectives. Let’s learn together.


About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


2 thoughts on “This just in: Starting an art collection of photography

  1. I find that the art I bring into my home carries influence when chosen with heart — whether methodically or spontaneously. It reflects my goals, evokes a smile or memory, can stir contemplation, and inspire me to new ideals. My favorite right now is an enlargement of the Mother of the World by Nicholas Rorick. Happy collecting Christa; it sounds like your’re on an exciting journey.


    Posted by Jan Schaper | November 9, 2015, 8:41 pm

I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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To be a writer is to first be a listener and observer. I often go somewhere—a coffeeshop, a museum, a store—and just tune into the conversations of others. I don’t take out my phone or notebook. I don’t have any purpose other than to listen to what people say, how they say it, and then how people respond to them.

I tried this experiment recently at the @metmuseum. I went to their Astor Chinese Garden Court and sat there for a while as people wandered in and out. It’s a bright and peaceful place in the museum. Good for clearing the mind and opening up the ears.

It was fascinating to see such a diverse set of people come into the space and have a similar experience, of peace and contentment and happiness. It reminded me how hurried and cluttered our lives can become. And it made me more conscious of the power of places that give us time to just be. The expression of “wow” on everyone’s face when they entered the garden made me smile.

As we edge toward 2018 and the cold weather takes us indoors for a few months, I’m looking forward to more of these listening and observing activities. We have so much to learn from each other.

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