Worth a thousand words — Tom Durkin to host an artist’s reception of his photography at Cooper’s in Nevada City | TheUnion.com

Worth a thousand words — Tom Durkin to host an artist’s reception of his photography at Cooper’s in Nevada City

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Tom Durkin's art will be on display from 2-4 p.m. this Sunday at Cooper's in Nevada City along with enetertainment from his friend and guitar teacher Kelly Flemming.
Photo by Tom Durkin |

“A picture is truly worth a thousand words,” said local freelance writer and photographer Tom Durkin. “Over the years, I’ve learned my articles get better placement in a publication if I have compelling photographs to complement the story.”

Although he still considers himself primarily a career writer and editor, Durkin’s lifelong interest in photography has grown into a secondary career.

This Sunday, from 2 to 4 p.m., he will host an artist’s reception for his photography at Cooper’s, 225 Commercial St., Nevada City. His friend and guitar teacher Kelly Fleming will provide entertainment.

“Money has karma. If someone gives you money for a specific purpose, you must use the money for that purpose,” Durkin said.

Last year, Patti Foster of Nevada City gave him $300 for the express purpose of getting his photographs printed at gallery quality.

“I did not ask for the money. She just gave it to me,” Durkin said. “I don’t know if she blessed me or doomed me, but I took the money, so I had to do a show.”

Matching Foster’s investment, Durkin built a “body of work” of 13 (“for luck”) of his favorite pictures. He chose to have his images printed on metal by a company in China called Zno.

The prints range in size from 8×10 inches to 2×3 feet.

“Whether you like my work or not, photographs printed on metal are impressive. And expensive,” Durkin said. “Printing on metal is a serious commitment to a photograph.”

Out of the thousands and thousands of pictures he’s shot professionally, Durkin curated his “Eclectic” show with two criteria in mind: Will the pictures sell? And if they don’t, would he be proud to hang them in his home?

“I’m calling the show ‘Eclectic’ … because it is,” he said. “I’ve always hated being typecast into one genre as a writer or a photographer, and ‘Eclectic’ defies ‘genre-fication.’”

Defying genres and conventions has always been Durkin’s trademark, so, “Yeah, it’s in a dimly lit bar, but this is my first show. It’s Cooper’s first show too, and I’m very grateful to them for sharing a wall. Everybody’s got to start somewhere.”

Prices range from $120 to $225, plus tax, he said.

“Technically, nothing on the wall is for sale,” he said. “Those are my prints — but I’m selling exact copies shipped directly to your door.”

Some prints can be ordered in different sizes. Others, “not so much,” he added.

“People are telling me my prices are too low,” Durkin said, “but as Utah Phillips said, ‘I’m not trying to make a killing. I’m just trying to make a living.’ Besides, it’s not like I’m famous or anything.”

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