Monday, October 20, 2008

Choosing Photographs for an Exhibition

My second photography exhibition, this year, will run for a week in the Library, Newcastle West, County Limerick, Ireland - from Wednesday October 29th 2008. I will be showing 20 framed prints, of varying sizes - and my friend and fellow John Meighan, from the pretty village of Adare, County Limerick, will be showing a similar number.

I see the whole process of exhibiting quite daunting. How many prints should I show? What size(s) should they be? Who do I invite to the opening night? How do I publicize it? Will anyone turn up? And, most daunting of all - out of the many thousands of digital images on my computer hard drives, which 20 should I show? I suppose that these are all questions that the serious exhibitionist (I chose that word very carefully) should ask.

But, I think that there is another, and probably more important question: " Why I am exhibiting my work at all?" Answering that question, first, may make it easier to answer all (or most of) the others.

In my case I am exhibiting my photography in order in increase my workload. Simply put, to get more work. So, that goes someway to answering the who to invite? Question. Anyone I see as a potential buyer of my work - and in this case I mean anyone who will commission the work that I want to do. In my case, I want to work, primarily, as an editorial and PR photographer, so the guest list should include editors, publishers, PR agents, captains of industry etc. How many is easy - at least 50% more than I expect to turn up.

Publicizing the exhibition is limited by my budget. So, I have used my contacts in the local press to arrange articles that will work as free publicity, I went on local radio, sent text messages to all my friends, colleagues and photography class students, and handed out special 8x6 comp cards, advertising the event to a chosen 50 or so.

Which images to choose for the show remains a dilemma. I have about half of the collection from the last exhibition still framed, so they will go up, with another 10 or so new prints. But Which ones?

A wise photographer with a business head once said (referring to selecting images for a portfolio) show the work that you want to do. So, if you want to be a wedding photographer, show your wedding work, or if you want to be a food photographer, show only food shots. So, because I am an editorial photographer, specialising in travel, environmental portraiture and music all I have to do now is choose another 10 shots from the images of those subjects on my hard drive - which, basically, is all of them!

Oh. For a minute or two there - I thought I was getting close to a decision!

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