Selling online can be a colorful business, but one online seller sees the world in black and white. Richard Gulezian, a fine art photographer, runs New Hampshire Collectibles, an eBay Store that deals in sports memorabilia and photographic art.
His listings range from a few dollars to around $100. Baseball autographs and Strat-O-Matic game cards make up the bulk of his listings, but Gulezian's primary focus is using eBay as a venue for sharing his black and white photography.
I've never been much into photographing color, even when I was in school. I want to pursue that… push it as far as I can go
He also runs Richard Gulezian Fine Art Photography, a personal website, where he offers 8.5-by-11-inch prints of his work. Each picture is part of a limited run of 49 prints. He signs, dates and numbers each one. For the last few years, he has expanded these offerings to his eBay Store.
In contrast with other photographers, Gulezian likes to shoot almost entirely in black and white.
"I've never been much into photographing color, even when I was in school," Gulezian says. "I'm more interested by black and white. And I want to pursue that… push it as far as I can go."
Going behind the camera
Gulezian's passion for photography goes back to the 1970s, when he attended the New England School of Photography. The works of Andre Kertesz, Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan inspired him, leading him to pursue a fine arts degree. After graduating in 1984, Gulezian worked for years as a commercial, portrait and professional wedding photographer.
He found his calling after experimenting with different styles, he recalls. Now Gulezian enjoys going to places that "captivate and intrigue me." He is attracted to form, shapes and contrast. So while he will occasionally take pictures of people or locales, he likes to avoid preconceived ideas of what a photo should look like. Instead, Gulezian captures whatever excites his imagination.
Some examples of his work included currents converging at the Merrimack River and a view from the stands at a baseball game in Fenway Park.
Asked what his photos mean to him, Gulezian says "Photography to me is like therapy. It more or less makes everyday life more bearable."
Photography to me is like therapy. It more or less makes everyday life more bearable
Access to the world
Selling on eBay has been a mixed bag for Gulezian, he says. But he enjoys being able to market his products to people all around the world, and eBay seems to be the best venue for his business.
"Before you would just take out an ad in a newspaper or a magazine," he notes. "But now with computers and the Internet, you have access, literally, to the entire world. It's impressive to be able to reach that many people."
Gulezian has a long history with eBay. He's been on the site since 1999 and, as of this writing, has a 100 percent positive feedback rating. Only one neutral feedback has been recorded in the last year, according to his eBay profile page.
Working to stay on top
Like other sellers, Gulezian says that keeping his feedback rating high can be challenging.
He's dealt with buyers who told him tall tales or complained they "got what was expected," which Gulezian found odd. Others challenged the authenticity of cards he sold. Some of these issues dragged on for weeks, he explains.
I think some people out there look (at eBay) like 'Oh, I'm gonna make a lot of money if I sell that'
"There are people who enjoy knocking down somebody who's got 100 percent feedback. That's sort of like 'OK, now you're not perfect,'" he says. "And to me it's petty and it's childish, but unfortunately there are people like that."
Despite problems with certain buyers, Gulezian says he plans to keep selling on eBay and hopes people will connect with his art.
Sharing your passions
At the end of the day, maintaining an eBay Store has its ups and downs, he advises. Aside from the holiday season, when sales peak, there is little consistency in how business goes. Sometimes Gulezian will sell a few dozen items in two to three weeks, while other times he'll be lucky to sell any in that time.
Prospective eBay sellers may decide to try their hand with the site thinking they'll get rich overnight, but this rarely happens, Gulezian points out. Instead, sellers should strive to find their passion because that's what will make them the happiest, regardless of how well their items sell.
"I think some people out there look (at eBay) like 'Oh, I'm gonna make a lot of money if I sell that. I can make a chunk of money and take it easy for the rest of my life,'" he says. "That's the wrong way to look at it. Find something you like and share it with other people."
Visit New Hampshire Collectibles.