If you’ve ever wandered north along Connecticut Avenue NW from Dupont Circle, you may have noticed a little shop selling framed travel photographs. The storefront is painted TARDIS-blue, which is the perfect choice of color because there’s a lot more on the inside than you would think possible. Claude Taylor has been selling his work there since 1998. We asked him to shed some light on his business:
Were you selling your photographs anywhere else before you opened the store?
I began selling my photographs at art shows and street festivals in 1997.
How did you get into photography?
From 1993 to 1996 I worked as a White House staffer during the first Clinton Administration. I had the opportunity to begin traveling to a number of countries as part of my job, so I began taking a lot of photographs to document my experiences.
I opened the store in ’98 because I wanted to see if it would work as a business. I am unaware of any other photographers in D.C. who have a store, but that’s probably because they are smarter than I am.
In the beginning I didn’t have enough trips/photos to fill out the entire store, so I sold products based on European comic characters like Tintin. They sold ok but could be hard to get and were too expensive, so after a couple years, when I had enough photos, I discontinued the Euro stuff.
I sell each Saturday at Eastern Market.
Are photo sales your only source of income or do you have other gigs?
I’m an international arms dealer. The photography is just an elaborate cover I’ve maintained for fifteen years.
I am simply more comfortable with film. I like having a physical negative. I’m also a Luddite and generally a dinosaur, so the fact is it’s becoming more and more expensive and a pain in the arse.
Every year is different. I do try to visit new countries but I am always wanting to go back for repeated trips to Paris, London, and generally anywhere in Western Europe.
Los Angeles – right now I’m trying to up the number of US cities I have, which is currently ten.
What’s your favorite memory from your travels?
Waking up to the sound of morning prayer in Istanbul. I’m not religious but it really transports you.