I first remember getting mega excited about photographing sand on a beach c.1981: Blackpool, a college coach trip organised by the graphics department; they offered spare tickets to the photography department and a couple of us went along for the day out. I shot several rolls of black and white film with growing fervour, thinking this was the best thing I'd ever done. I didn't even mind the fact that after a '15 minutes, guys' stopover at a motorway cafe on the way back they promptly drove off after two minutes and left us behind which meant us having to hitch back to Nottingham.
I can't remember if that would have been before or after setting up the camera for the zone system but probably before as I found I couldn't print the negatives to give the tonalities I thought I'd got. It was all rubbish. Over the subsequent decades there have been several more 'sand on the beach' attempts with that first disappointment always tainting the thrill of trying…
"In May 1971, Artforum, bastion of late modernism, featured the work of a photographer for the very first time. On its cover and in a six-page spread, it published selections from Diane Arbus's portfolio, A box of ten photographs. In the words of the magazine’s editor and photography skeptic, Philip Leider, “The portfolio changed everything . . . one could no longer deny [photography’s] status as art.” At the time of Arbus’s death, two months later, only four of the intended edition of fifty had been sold. Two had been purchased from Arbus by Richard Avedon (the first for himself, the second as a gift for his friend Mike Nichols); another was purchased by Jasper Johns; and a fourth by Bea Feitler, art director at Harper’s Bazaar."
Presumably Arbus had no gallery representation (did any photographer back then?) and the flyer for the portfolio refer potential purchasers (who had a $1000) to call at her home at 463 West Street, NY.