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Author Topic: Your first show  (Read 1844 times)
Justan
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« on: April 14, 2009, 11:09:36 PM »
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Provide some wisdom and experience. Share a story about how you came to have your first show. How did it come about? How did it turn out? What are the key things you learned?

Thanks!!
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 11:53:17 PM »
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I was a senior studying photography at the University of New Mexico. It was like 1971. There was a nationally respected off campus gallery named Quivira. With much trepidation I approached them for a show and they gave it to me with another fellow named Gary Hallman (later a professor in the midwest). I worked my tail off producing the best 20 prints I ever produced for the show. Many friends, family, professors and students showed up at the opening and gave me great feedback. It was also reviewed favorably in the Albuquerque Journal. That experience hooked me for life. About 4 years ago I had a show at a friends gallery in Louisville. He was a student at the same time as I was at UNM. He told me he had acquired the guestbook from the Quivera Gallery from the period of my show from the family of the original owner who had passed away. After too many glasses of wine we went through it. In it I saw that people like my ex-fiance and even Ansel Adams (a frequent visitor to the UNM photo dept. in those days because of Beaumont Newhall) had visited my show! I've always wondered what he thought........

Advice......take every show very seriously. You never know who will show up.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 11:55:25 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Josh-H
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 01:02:34 AM »
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Had my first solo exhibition of landscape work earlier this year over a period of 6 weeks at Montsalvat in Melbourne - Rock, snow and water - Australian landscapes.

What I learnt..

1. It is a lot more work than I ever thought it would be to prepare all the photographs, promote, arrange and co-ordinate - and I only exhibited a total of 24 works.
2. It costs a lot - even when you print yourself and frame yourself.
3. You cant rely on others to arrange and co-ordinate - you need to do it yourself.
4. Have a good solid portfolio from which to choose your works.
5. There are unforseen costs - like opening night drinks, nibbles, invitations etc.
6. Gallery commission is steep - in the order of 33% [thats what I paid anyway]
7. Its extremely gratifying to see your work on public display

It was and is extremely satisfying to sell fine art prints - it strokes the ego and makes you feel your work is valued and appreciated. Selling my first fine art landscape was a thrill and infinitely more satisfying than selling kids portrait prints - which is my bread and butter.

At the end of the day - its a lot of work - but worth it for the love of the craft.
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bill t.
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2009, 12:41:54 AM »
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The progression of my earliest professional shows was somewhat in reverse of the norm.  My first three shows were at the Paris Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the British Museum.  But subsequent shows were in considerably lesser venues.

Of course in those first three shows my landscape and architectural photos were exhibited as part of an overall American Bicentenntial Exhibit put together by the Office Of Charles and Ray Eames, possibly the most prestigious designers of the 20th century.  And the shows were heavily promoted by the US State Department and Diplomatic Corps.

Returning to shows after a 28 year hiatus, my last significant show was at a minor community center, but hey I sold darn near 30 pictures!

What I learned is, it helps to know people in high places.  Or at least be chummy with the directors of your local community centers and galleries.  And don't faint or use expletives when the gallery asks for 50%.
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Justan
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 12:06:18 PM »
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Thanks for the replies! Keep em coming!!
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jule
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 06:18:06 PM »
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Four years ago, I threw out the window all professional protocols and naively plopped myself on the doorstep of our State Photgraphic Centre.

After a period of 3 years with a debilitating illness I saw the light. (yes...pun intended   ) It was time for me to stop worrying about what others thought about my photographs, and just share and offer what I love.

One morning I printed out 10 images - my 'Transience' series Transience images which I had been working with during my recovery, and put them in a folder in the car and drove to Brisbane to find somewhere I could exhibit them. The place I thought of first, upon inspection wasn't too good, so I phoned my Mum and asked her to look up where the Queensland Centre of Photography was.

I landed on their doorstep without an appointment, without a professional submission proposal, without one item I could put on my CV, without any knowing of where or how I was going to print them for an exhibition, without any knowing of what was even involved in exhibiting. In 10 minutes a spot was made for me in their exhibition programme...and I haven't looked back. Julie's exhibitions

The sample prints I had printed myself using a small Canon desktop photo printer, so I needed to find out firstly how to use Photoshop to get the best out of my images, learn about Colour Management, ... all to get the prints to match my output from my little Canon Pixma.

Now I have a reasonable understanding of how to process images adequately, but so much is still beyond my understanding. I also print my own work, which is not only personally satisfying, but helps when planning an exhibition because all the responsibility is then up to myself and there is no-one else to rely on or to blame if things go wrong.

I consider it not only fulfilling being able to exhibit and share my work, but a responsibility as well, and not to be taken lightly. My work is conceptually based, so I feel it is important to develop it as thoroughly as I can, then just totally let it go when it is in the gallery.

40 - 50% commission is the standard here in Australia.

I have also found it has been important for me give an artist talk for those who are interested in my work. That has been very rewarding, and the questions that I am asked more often than not help me to understand and look at my own work in different ways.

Julie
« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 06:19:52 PM by jule » Logged

mike.online
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2009, 08:49:49 PM »
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I'm at the stage of the Original Poster, I've approached a few fine dining locations, and a few galleries which all seem interested in my work. However, I need to have full size prints to show them before I go ahead actually try to get the gigs. Printing at high quality is pretty expensive so I'll need to find a way to offset costs to print a number of them at 11'x17". In due time I hope to get some of my work in fancy places. I don't have to sell much to feel like I've accomplished something (but that would be nice too =) )
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