An interesting Phone call

I just sold my sister-in-law’s camera on EBay yesterday, and today I got an interesting phone call about it.

Since I am a photographer, my sister-in-law figured I would be able to describe the camera and answer questions better, and hence sell it for more. If you have sold stuff on the that auction site, you know it is fairly anonymous, and can be a little less than up-and-up at times. People are trying to scam each other all the time, and con artists contact sellers outside the framework of the website to try to pull one over on anyone who isn’t careful.

So, as the process of EBay dictates, I printed up a label and packed up the camera this morning. Around 1pm, I got a call from a 540 area code number, but missed it. I get calls like this all the time from all over the country, because my number is listed for my business. What I usually don’t get is a voicemail. Most solicitors don’t bother leaving a message. This call resulted in two voicemails, somehow. I listened to them.

The first one was the voice of a man talking very slowly, rambling on a bit. He never quite came to the point, except that he was the one that had purchased the camera and wanted to ask me a question about it. His message ran over time, and cut off before there was any more info. The second voice message was clear, though. His name was Jim Crable, and he wanted me to call him back. He sounded fairly old, so something told me to call back, even though I had no idea how he got my number. The whole time I was dialing I was thinking how strange it was to ask questions about an EBay transaction after the purchase, and over the phone.

A few rings passed, and I started to really wonder why I was doing this. Before making the call, I was about to leave with my son to the Tech Museum, so it made even less sense to call when I did. When he picked up, clearly he was happy I had called back. He told me he couldn’t find the info about the camera on EBay anymore, and that he “wasn’t too good at this computer stuff.” He wanted to know what type of lenses came with it, and if I thought they might work for his project.

It turns out James, “Jim” Crable is an award winning artist in Virginia who is in his 70’s, and who has taught and had shows all over the country and world. He gave me the whole history of how he had been a painter, and gone to some great art schools, but it wasn’t until the 80’s that he discovered the power of photography in his work. He’s had solo shows, and received major awards from museums stretching as far afield as the San Jose Museum of Art to the Virginia Museum of art, and in galleries form Southern California to New York.

He gave me his website address (,) I mentioned I was a photographer who just got an MFA, so he asked me if I had a website. I gave him my web address.

Twenty minutes later, it felt like we had networked pretty well, understanding where each artist came from and what we were interested in, and what our work was about. We both shared an interest in building images and piecing together composites. I mentioned my GigaTimo Project to him, and he liked that I was doing original work.

Sometimes life gives us weird situations like this, where we just have to play it out. I listened to my gut and called back, and in return I got a fascinating conversation with a stranger about something I love, and that was exactly what I needed. Thanks universe for that one. Jim Crable is a neat guy, and I am glad I got a chance to talk to him.






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