Saturday, September 27, 2014

Showrights and Stuff

After work on Friday I drove right past the one hobby shop that I knew had the Sahran and Night Mare in stock. I had been feeling off most of the week, but when I realized what I had done, I went right back to bed once I was home. I knew I had to be sick, because the change of seasons wouldn’t be messing with my head that much!

Anyway, here is another photo from the batch of ephemera I recently picked up:

This picture excited me because I own the Sorrel one on the right. It’s not a look-a-like or one of a small batch: it’s the exact same one, because the back of the photo tells me so!

I bought the Pony directly from Linda at BreyerFest in 2012. She already had a pretty fabulous provenance as it was, but having this photo makes it even better, now.

The "NOT FOR SHOWING" written on the back of the photo is in reference to photo showing and showrights, because photo showing was IT back then. If you were lucky you’d make it to one or two live shows in a year - if they even had one in your area - but the average model horse newsletter would have at least a dozen or more photo shows in a month.

The best way to describe showrights would be photo showing by proxy, mostly. You’d buy the rights to show a set of photos  - either as that specific show horse, or as a completely different horse, depending on the seller of the showrights.

Sounds weird, I know, but it made complete sense back then. Hobbyists who didn’t have the time or money to show their models as much as they wanted still managed to get their models out to shows via people who could. Others saw it as a way of showing without having to invest in camera equipment, film processing, or tack and props.

There’d be disputes, naturally, over what kind of showrights were sold, over the ownership of the compensation you might receive from a show, whether the purchaser of the showrights was living up to the agreement, etc. In other words, it could get real messy, real fast.

Photo showing is much less of a thing than it used to be, and cost is less of an issue now with digital cameras and online photo showing. Showrights are not extinct, but a much reduced aspect of the hobby; I’ve met some younger hobbyists who scoff at the notion we ever did such a thing.

But let’s get back to the ephemera.

Because photo showing was a much bigger deal back then, everyone who was in the model horse hobby had a lot of photos, and photo albums. Most were for showing, but some were for reference: we didn’t have a lot of written reference material to go by then, either. Photos were often the only evidence we had that anything existed at all. I was in the hobby for seven years before I ever saw a Decorator in person!

I have no idea how many albums or photos Marney had; I know there are other albums in the possession of others. My most recent batch came from a mostly-retired hobbyist who knew Marney and assisted her family with the dispensation of her estate.

Will there be more to come? Maybe. I have enough to keep me occupied for a while yet, and I understand how hard it is for some people to give up their ephemera. You start sifting through the old fliers, newsletters and photographs, and suddenly a whole afternoon has vanished…

As I mentioned last time, I did digitize one album already, in its entirety. It’s the one I think would be of most interest and value to other hobbyists: it’s primarily Test Colors and Oddities, some of which have since been tracked down and identified. I’ll release this as a CD at some point. (If anyone can give me pointers on how to go about that, it’d be much appreciated.)

What I’ll digitize from the rest, I do not know. The other albums and photos are a mix of everything: photos of bog-standard Original Finish models, Live Show photos, Test Colors, Customs, and (in this most recent pile of stuff) factory photos from ca. 1985/6.

Some of it will be of major interest to hobbyists, and some of it will not: they’ll need more careful editing and curation, at the very least. Like some of my other materials that I’d like to make available to the public, there may be some "showrights" issues that need to be worked out in advance.

It’s getting late, and the weather will be perfect for flea marketing Sunday, so more on this topic next time.


RowanMorgaine said...

I've digitized a bunch of magazines and other things through the years. Are you just looking for software to burn to CD? I use the free burnaware, but there are lots out there. Windows Media Player will also burn (but I've found it a little finicky at times).

Or are you wondering about format to use? PDF is pretty standard. I've got access to the full version of Adobe Acrobat, which is great, but expensive. But just putting the jpgs on a cd would be cool too.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd like it better as a PDF book format. I could print it out or just print the pages that I like.

And in PDF, you could have the photo and the info on the same page.

Corky said...

I've been collecting since I was 4, and I never even saw a Woodgrain until I was 17. At the time, having not heard of them, I thought it was fake, thought there was no way it could be a real Breyer--even though it had the leg stamps and everything!