Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Totally clueless, good intentions  (Read 3389 times)
EKinevel
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« on: August 13, 2010, 03:33:23 PM »
ReplyReply

Hello everyone.  Before anything, I just want to say that I apologize if this is the wrong area or forum for this message.  Total newbie here.

I am in need of help - not a little help, either - and I'm hoping someone here might be able to assist.

My wife is an amateur photographer.  Her work is amazing.  That is not the husband in me talking, the same has been said by just about everyone who has seen her shots.  I am trying to put together a small collection of her better shots - a portfolio, basically - that I can then submit to local galleries in the hopes she can get a small showing.  Even one quality print shown under her name would be fantastic.  I have taken this up as a project of mine because she would never do this on her own; she has that beginner's lack of confidence.  But I am absolutely sure if her work gets seen, she can get a showing.

The problem is I am CLUELESS.  I have no idea how to put a portfolio together that a gallery might be interested in, what materials I would need, how to do x, y, or z. 

Then, assuming I can actually accomplish the above task, I also have no idea what the process of submitting the portfolio entails.  Is there a right or wrong way to present a portfolio?  Are there things to say or not to say? 

Yes.  You're getting it now, I am in fact that far without a clue.  Remember, I'm not the photographer, I'm just trying to do a nice thing for one.

I can't really expect that any of you would want to offer this degree of help, because let's face it, I'm asking a lot.  Hand-holding and all that.  But it's the internet, and the price is right, and as such it can't hurt to ask.

But if any of you have some of these answers or even some experienced advice, I'd appreciate it greatly.  And you'd be doing a nice thing yourself.

Thanks.  Really, thanks.

PG

Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6416



WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 05:06:32 PM »
ReplyReply

PG, Since you didn't fill out your profile or explain what kind of work your wife does it's a bit hard to know where to begin. An awful lot depends on where you are and what your wife photographs. Does she do landscape? Street? Architecture? Archaeology? Abstraction? Surrealism?

If you're in New York City, San Francisco, or Santa Fe, the approach might be a bit different from the approach you'd use in, say, East Podunk, but you always start by going through the galleries and seeing what they're showing. The thing you have to remember about a gallery is that it's in business to make money, and if the gallery's been around for a while you can be pretty sure the stuff it's carrying is what sells in that area, and therefore, what the gallery's willing to accept to hang on the expensive space on its walls. If the kind of work your wife does isn't the kind of work the gallery hangs, the fact that her work is amazing won't cut it. Look for another gallery.

Once you find a gallery that carries the kind of work your wife does, the next thing is to find out who the gallery's decision-maker is. You'll probably be spinning your wheels if you simply bring in a portfolio and plop it down in front of a clerk. On the other hand, unless you're in the art district of a large city that probably won't be a problem because in a smaller town the gallery owner usually will be the person on duty. But it's not only intelligent, it's polite to begin by finding out whom to talk to.

There are many ways to make up a portfolio, and how you do that will depend a lot on what kind of work your wife does and what kind of gallery you're approaching. 13 x 19 inch prints in a leather-covered presentation case can be effective. Even more effective might be a few appropriately sized prints mounted, matted, and inside clear bags. I say "appropriately sized" because what's appropriate depends on the subject matter. If your wife's doing landscape you probably want large, very sharp prints -- at least 13 x 19 in 20 x 26 mats. If she's doing street, 8 x 10s in 11 x 14 mats probably will do the job. One thing that a few precious galleries seem to indulge in is the tiny print in a huge mat: say, a 2 x 3 print in a 16 x 20 mat. But that kind of matting requires a particular kind of print and a peculiar attitude toward what constitutes art.

It's extremely unlikely that a gallery will buy your wife's prints outright, so if a gallery accepts her work they're going to accept it on consignment. A consignment contract will require you to deliver a finished product: either mounted, matted, and bagged prints or framed prints, or both. A top-of-the-line gallery will insist on conservation (archival) framing. If the prints are mounted, matted and bagged the mounting and matting should be done with archival materials. Since, at this point, your wife is an unknown with an unknown sales potential the gallery will require at least a 50% commission, possibly more.

I could go on and on, but to get an accurate picture of the pond you're about to jump into pick up a copy of Brooks Jensen's book, "Letting Go of the Camera" and read it. You didn't give us an idea of the background of the people included in "everyone who has seen her shots," but you have to understand that when you consider the average quality level of photographs in general "amazing" is a common response to a fairly good photograph.

I don't mean to sound too discouraging. I can guarantee that a successful gallery is always looking for inventory that will sell, and if your wife's photographs fit that category for the gallery, they'll snap them up. On the other hand, since you mention a "showing," rather than gallery representation, have you considered other ways to present her pictures? You might look for local art shows, art shows at county fairs, hangings on library walls, etc., venues that might get her work before the public. That kind of thing is a lot less steep hill to climb.

In any case, good luck. You might want to put one or two of her pictures on LuLa so we can see what you're talking about.

Logged

EKinevel
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 09:16:44 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the thorough, concise response, regardless of how much information I inadvertently left out (again - clueless).  I really wasn't expecting so much information, all of it very helpful.  I do live in NYC, so I suppose it would do me good to spend an afternoon downtown and actually take a look at the marketplace I'm trying to break into.

Most of her stuff is urban-landscape, around-the-city type street photography.  She just has a great knack for composition and creating remarkable photographs from seemingly unremarkable subject matter.

At this point I'm not so much interested in selling anything as much as I am just getting it shown - I'm trying to create a confidence builder.  Your suggestions are extremely useful.  Thank you again.

Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2010, 12:29:58 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the thorough, concise response, regardless of how much information I inadvertently left out (again - clueless).  I really wasn't expecting so much information, all of it very helpful.  I do live in NYC, so I suppose it would do me good to spend an afternoon downtown and actually take a look at the marketplace I'm trying to break into.

Most of her stuff is urban-landscape, around-the-city type street photography.  She just has a great knack for composition and creating remarkable photographs from seemingly unremarkable subject matter.

At this point I'm not so much interested in selling anything as much as I am just getting it shown - I'm trying to create a confidence builder.  Your suggestions are extremely useful.  Thank you again.



One thing I'd say: be careful not to fall into the trap of spending money on promises; make sure that offers are written ones before you go to any expense with frames etc.

Hell's bloody bells: I'm back to typing blind again! Mr Admin, this had been resolved earlier on but it's back to make life impossible!

Rob C

Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6416



WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 12:53:43 PM »
ReplyReply

Rob, First, I heartily endorse the advice you gave. I know too many artists who got caught in that trap.

And, yes, the reply capability on this version of the software has a serious bug. I've taken to using Word for composition and then just copying and pasting. Evidently the problem wasn't really fixed.
Logged

seamus finn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 839


« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2010, 02:00:13 PM »
ReplyReply


My hat goes off to you, Russ, for such a comprehensive reply. Not too many in the business would go to the trouble.

Seeing that Mrs.Kineval is getting such a good reaction to her street photography, I'd love to see a few here?  How about it, Ma'am?
Logged

EKinevel
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2010, 02:42:38 PM »
ReplyReply

If you actually read the original post, you would see that I am not the 'Mrs.'  I am not comfortable posting any of her photos without her consent. 

I do agree that Mr. Lewis' comments are extremely valuable and that his taking the time to respond in such detail is very admirable.  I do appreciate his 'going to the trouble'.



Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6416



WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2010, 03:22:41 PM »
ReplyReply

Seamus, Thanks for the hats off salute. Actually, I'm happy I had a chance to do that. My wife started what turned out to be a quite successful gallery back in the mid seventies and continued with it for ten years -- until the dailyness of it got to her and she shut it down. I've seen a lot of worthy artists of various kinds have trouble getting their work before the public, and I've seen a lot of people who wanted to be considered artists but either didn't have the ability to produce art or didn't want to go to the trouble of producing art. I'm convinced that the ability to produce art is inborn, but it still takes a lot of very hard, sometimes very discouraging work.

PG's entry was a chance to explain to any worthy beginners on here what they're up against. There are millions of photographers out there who believe their work is exceptional, and a very few of them are right. I'd like to see those folks fight the system and beat it. But I'd also like to see them go at it with open eyes so they don't get too discouraged too soon. The bottom line is that any good gallery has a hard time finding enough top-of-the-line work, so if someone has something really exceptional he'll probably get it into a gallery eventually. But it has to be the kind of thing that particular gallery can sell. Most gallery owners can't afford to be philanthropists. The other problem for gallery owners is pseudo-artists. They're often time-consuming, and sometimes can't be let down without hard feelings -- on both sides.
Logged

peterurban
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 32


Be kind.


WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2010, 06:27:52 PM »
ReplyReply

I would also strongly suggest a properly designed website. In combination with god social networking, blogging etc it can lead to 'miracles'. We for instance do the majority of the research for our Fine Art Photography Weekly show online. If we like the Artist's work and their story, more often then not we contact them about being on our show...
Logged

Peter Urban
Courteous Explorer | Photographer | Dog Lover - Passionate about nature, people, technology and design.
seamus finn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 839


« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2010, 02:00:56 AM »
ReplyReply


EKinevel, I did read the original post - very carefully. I know you are not the photographer, your wife is. I strongly suggest you get her consent or work hard to persuade her to post a few of her best shots here.That way, Russ et al would be in a far better position to advise on the best way forward. To have this level of expertise and experience available and not use it would be a mistake, in my view. In any event, good luck.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 03:03:13 AM by seamus finn » Logged

jule
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 738


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2010, 05:11:51 PM »
ReplyReply

PG, I think you have beautiful intentions, but to be brutally honest, I think that you may end up doing more harm than good trying to get a portfolio together for your wife and arrange an exhibition of her work - regardless of how amazing it is.

You mention that your wife 'would never do it on her own' ...so why would you make her by organising it? If she has 'beginners lack of confidence', why would you not let her develop her own confidence?

Exhibiting and sharing one's work is a process and not just about showing the work in a gallery space. It is about acknowledging for oneself that it is ok to expose oneself to being vulnerable and to be able to withstand everyone's opinions and still feeling ok about oneself regardless of those opinions. If your wife has not gone through the process herself of coming to a space where she is ready to stand beside her work with confidence, you are not only denying her of coming to a place where she is confident within herself and choosing to exhibit on her own terms, but throwing her to the wolves.

Julie (fellow one time lack of confidence photographic artist  Smiley )  
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 05:45:08 PM by jule » Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6416



WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2010, 05:41:18 PM »
ReplyReply

Well said, Jule.
Logged

HiltonP
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 136


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2010, 05:30:41 AM »
ReplyReply

PG . . . the phrase "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink" springs to mind here.

You need to have your wife "on side" before investing time, money, and effort into developing her portfolio, otherwise it is all a pointless exercise.

If it is any consolation I share your predicament. I too have a wife who appears to have a natural eye for a good photograph. I too believe, with some effort, that she could take her photography to a new level, and possibly even derive an income from it. But right now her photography is a past-time, for pleasure only, free of any pressure or responsibility, and I have come to respect that. 
Logged

Regards, HILTON
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6416



WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2010, 01:05:14 PM »
ReplyReply

If you actually read the original post, you would see that I am not the 'Mrs.'  I am not comfortable posting any of her photos without her consent. 

PG, I let this thread go by for some time, then came back and read it. If you're "not comfortable" posting any of your wife's photographs without her consent how is it that you're comfortable posting them in a gallery where the criticism is going to be a lot more intense and probably a lot less kind? Your approach seems a dichotomy.
Logged

Richowens
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 844



« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2010, 04:55:59 PM »
ReplyReply

PG,

 May I offer a little advice also. I agree with what others have said, particularly Jule. Do not push her into anything, just continue to admire her talent and work and provide any support she may ask of you.
 When she is ready to go "public" she will let you know.

 I am going to take you to task a bit here. This sounds like more of an ego trip for you than something to benefit your wife. Allow her to be her, not what you want her to be to make you look good.

Rich
Logged

Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad