ASK the question, "What do you sell?" of a hundred photographers and ninety-nine of them will answer "Photographs."

This is the answer given by the hundredth man:

"I sell sentiment," he stated, "I sell an idea, a hope, a vision, a comfort; I sell beauty, longing, love and friendship: I sell tenderness and sympathy and human relations.

"The most successful clothing salesman does not attempt to sell a man a palm beach suit. He sells him coolness and comfort for the hot days which are to come.

"The most successful optometrist does not attempt to sell a man a pair of spectacles. No man ever wanted a pair of spectacles. He sells him good vision, freedom from headaches.

'The most successful shoe salesman does not try to sell a man shoes. He sells him foot comfort, freedom from aching arches, burning bunions or painful corns.

"It is not the article that the most successful merchant stresses; it is the happiness which will arise from the possession of it.

"So I do not sell pictures. Of course, pictures are what I deliver, and money what I take in exchange for them, but my effort is not to sell the tiling, but that for which the thing stands, that which comes from the possession of it.

"In my advertising I direct my appeal, not to the cupidity of those who might be interested in getting the greatest amount of surface of photograph and mount for the least number of dollars. Nor yet do I appeal to the human desire to get something for nothing, by attempting to persuade a prospect that in my studio and mine alone can she get the greatest amount of art for the least amount of money.

"Instead, I stress the advantages of having a photograph taken. To those who have parents I address my talk along familiar but no less potent lines of filial love. We all love our fathers and mothers. We all hope to keep them with us for many, many years. When they have gone the final step of the journey we look back upon the days when they were ours. If we have a fine picture of 'Dad' as he was when he was healthy and happy, or 'Mom as she was when we were just grow ing up, we get a great deal of real joy in just looking at them.

"I inherited my business from my father. In my reception room is a life-size, oil tinted photograph of the founder of my business. I honestly find his pictured face an inspiration, and I see to it that my customers never forget that the name over the door is two generations old and that the influence of the first of us still holds sway. And many and many are the fathers and mothers that younger sitters have brought to me, influenced, I verily believe, by nothing more difficult for me to put into their minds than my own joy in this faithful representation of the 'Dad' I loved.

"Mothers can be sold things for their children that they won't buy for themselves. 'Keep your babies always with you, even while they grow up' is a far more potent sales argument for baby pictures than mere pride in baby's pulchritude. Selling a mother a group of herself and her children to send to Grandma and Grandpa for the old home is forty times easier than selling her a photograph of a group to have around the house.

" 'Keep her with you in the graduation dress - keep him with you in his cadet uniform' is a more powerful appeal to a father than advertising 'good photographs of your girl and boy, so and so many dollars per dozen.' Father isn't interested in photographs. He is interested in his young hopeful. Sell the sentiment, not the thing; it's easier and far more profitable.

"When people get married about the first thing they think of is a picture. Why? Because they visualize a long life together and want to look back and see themselves as they were the day they began it. Brides, perhaps have feminine pride in their beauty in the wedding gown, or the style of the gown, but there is usually that sentiment of wishing to preserve for their later years their appearance on what they regard as their happiest day. All photographers know this, yet comparatively few realize that what is true then is true on anniversaries of a wedding. To send a letter to a couple married ten years ago, who were photographed in my studio, is easy. To talk in that letter about the photograph I want to make, its style, price, artistry, is foolish. I direct such a letter wholly to sentiment: I ask them to remember, not the picture I made, but the picture for which they sat ten years ago. And I suggest a new one on this tenth anniversary; I talk about their interest in comparing the pictures, and I let price and style severely alone. In other words, I sell them sentimental values in a new photograph; they sell themselves style and prices when they come down to be pictured.

"A most profitable department of my business is the making of photographic miniatures. I get fifty dollars each for them, and they are real works of art. But I never sell them as such. I get a great many orders regardless of the high price, simply on the sentimental value of the little colored photograph.

"Sentiment - it is one of the great moving springs of humanity. The photographer who does not realize that in its power of appeal lies his greatest sales argument, is overlooking a great deal of business. I am well aware that many photographers follow the well-beaten path of trade and direct all their advertising, both printed and verbal, to quality, to artistry, to convenience of location, ease and speed of making the picture, promptness of delivery and so on. They are competing in the open market with silk and jewelry, talking machine records and gloves, motor cars and toilet preparations, all sold by the same methods. That they succeed is true; but how much of the success is in spite of, rather than because of, their methods I could not say. I do say, however, and most emphatically that the most lasting, the most growing and the most profitable success is founded upon selling, not the photograph, but the sentiment for which it stands, the love which it evokes, the pleasant memory which it recalls."

Portrait Film Negative, Vitava Print From the Kansas City National Convention Exhibit.

Portrait Film Negative, Vitava Print From the Kansas City National Convention Exhibit.

Portrait Film Negative, Vitava Print From the Kansas City National Convention Exhibit.

Portrait Film Negative, Vitava Print From the Kansas City National Convention Exhibit.

This was the answer of the hundredth man. Are you such, or is your number somewhere from one to ninety-nine?