Any advice for 1st exhibition?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by jason j, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Hello. I have been given the opportunity to exhibit some of my photographs in
    the atrium of a heavily trafficked building at a small college (along with
    other employees).

    This is my first public exhibition, so any advice would be most welcome.
    Including advice on what type of photos to show, how many, what size to make
    them, and how to work with printer to ensure optimal quality and matting. Am I
    even asking the right kinds of questions?

    I use a 6mp Nikon D70s, so I guess the maximum print size is 13x19 inches. If
    you see any shots in my portfolio that you think I should post, please let me
    know. Thanks.
  2. Typically the venue has standards for what the maximum size of the artwork should be, so I would check with them to see what they will accept. The same goes for the number of submissions - there is typically a set number of pieces that they will accept, so pick your best work and be prepared to choose from that a handful of selections.

    As to mats, I would go to the site and see what color the walls are and what the lighting looks like. There may be restrictions on mat color, or there may not be. If you get to choose, you will want to know the wall color so that you can consider that when selecting mat colors and you will want to know what the lighting is like so that if you choose a color mat you will have an idea of how the lighting will alter its appearance. If you choose white mats, be aware that certain lighting conditions will make the white appear warmer of cooler. You can always take a mat to the site and see what the lighting will do to it if you want to be sure.

    It is a good idea to keep the size the same for all your submissions. A show of many different sized prints is not as attractive as a show featuring the same size print for all work, generally speaking. Again, they may have sizes already in mind so ask first before spending money on prints, mats, frames, etc. If you get to choose, it is a good idea to know how big the space is so that you can print a size that will look appropriate. All the frames should be the same for consistency.

    Lastly, equipment has nothing to do with art, so focus solely on the work itself. You want to pick images that work well together and that are appropriate for the venue. Certain subjects are not appropriate for display in public locations where people may be offended by content. Remember that your work will be viewed as a whole, so choose carefully work that all works well rather than a selection of random styles.

    Just my 2 cents worth of free advice...

    - Randy
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    You have to first decide what you want to accomplish. Do you want to just show your work or are you trying to sell it also? This will make a big difference.

    Regarding choice of material, either pick photographs that work well together thematically, or work well together visually. A hodgepodge can work, but only in the right environment and it takes a while to figure out how to make it work. For a college, I would recommend the more edgy stuff, if you have it.

    Sizing is a personal question, but is related to the available space. How large are the walls, how high are the ceilings? These are things to think about. Same applies to number of prints you will show.

    I would recommend not paying a shop for matting and framing. There are numerous sources for low-cost archival custom-cut mats online, and they can be cheaper than home-cut mats. It's pretty simple to attach the prints using corners or cloth tape. Frames are very simple to assemble if you buy kits. If you are using glass, find a local frame shop that will sell you a box of glass. You can either cut it yourself or pay a local glass shop to cut it. If you use plexi, there are plenty of online sources for art-quality plexi that is cut to order.

    You can find sources for materials online. Avoid Light Impressions - they are priced way over most good suppliers.

    The first show is always the hardest, but it pays to learn how to put it together yourself. You might try finding a local exhibiting photographer who can help.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    A couple of recommendations for materials sources I have used:
  5. I know nothing technical, but your dog in the sun and the wall with frying pans are most attractive to me. I'd hang them anywhere and be proud of them.
  6. Thanks Randall, Jeff, and Bill. These responses are very helpful. My photos will be hung in atrium in the Fine Arts building on campus, so there will be white walls, tracklighting, and lots of natural light.

    This is a very informal show, but I will try to get more details from the organizer. I think that 7 is the limit. As for the audience, thanks for making me think more about that. It will consist of students, coworkers, and a few local elites. The photos will be for sale, but I really want to enhance my reputation as a photographer, so that I can gain even better access to photogenic people and events.

    Right now I will probably exhibit the 3 photos that recieved the most positive responses from people in general and 4 photos that best show life in the community(to attract the interest of this local audience).

    Thanks again, the matting advice was especially helpful. By the way, this exhibit opens on my 44th birthday, which I hope is a good omen.

  7. FWIW, I like your nature and shadow photos.
  8. I really like the the girl in the graveyard, I think that is really getting somewhere. I also like the trophy picture and the one of the dog in the light. Those are my favorites.
  9. Thanks Wendy and Kelly. I will consider putting those in the exhibition.

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