Not Really a Blog

Rewards of Exhibiting

Money can be nice, but sometimes there are better rewards when exhibiting photographs at a public showing.
Several of the photographs I exhibited at a recent show elicited an interesting array of responses.

The process of exhibiting photos that are not quite “in the mainstream” can be daunting. It’s a risk, but in this case it was a rewarding risk.

Ten photographs (these ones) were on display in small frames, each printed on paper-size high-quality metallic paper.

Reactions to the images included a few by-passes (where people had a quick glance at the display, and then moved on). More often than that, though, people stopped and looked at the images. The ability of the images to attract attention was, on its own, an index of success: one of my goals in photography is to communicate, so those expressions of interest assured me that the images were communicating something to those who stopped to look at them.

Having reached that goal of communicating to others, I was then able to experience some feedback from those who did take the time to have a second (or third or fourth) look at the images. Here are some of the comments (paraphrased) I received from viewers of the prints:
  • “... that disturbs me ...”
  • “... it looks like a scene that is about to be bombed ...”
  • “... kind of post-apocalyptic ...”
  • “... distinction between nature and progress...”
  • “... what technology is doing to our lives...”
  • “... reminds me of Burtynsky...”
  • “... most creative pictures I’ve seen in a while...”
  • “... can mean so many things and be interpreted so many ways ...”

All in all, I was pleased to learn that my photographs spoke to the people who looked at them.

The icing on the cake:

By the time the exhibit was almost concluded, I had not sold any of the prints. That was a minor disappointment, but not too surprising. I had achieved my primary goal of extending beyond my own boundaries, and I had explored the territory outside of my comfort zone. I had learned more about my photographic craft, and I had tried to make a creative expression.

But then...

Someone bought one of those prints! And, to make that “icing” even tastier, it was sold to a photographer whose works I have admired for several years. He has been a model for me: not only in the skills he brings to his own photographic art, but also in his selfless and patient contributions to the local photography community. When he told me he wanted to buy one of the prints, I told him I was honoured. I was, and I am.