My first ever exhibition is over and, contrary to my misgivings at the start of the module, it seemed to go very well. The feedback was, in my view at least, excellent but, more importantly, I actually enjoyed it – something that I would have found inconceivable a few months back.
There’s really not much to add to the previous post that described the installation and the early days but one problem did arise. Some of the images, particularly those in the bar area, tended to warp slightly. Most people wouldn’t have noticed but, to my eyes, it was a disaster!
The temporary remedy was quick and simple. I just needed to take the image off the cables and it lie flat on a table for 3 or 4 minutes then put them back – that’s all it took, but it was still annoying as I had to do that two or three times for the affected images. I think that it was caused by the temperature since the affected images were the closest to the heaters.
Obviously, if I’d framed the images behind glass this wouldn’t have happened but I’m still of the opinion that the images, or at least the theme, worked better without these artificial “boundaries”.
On a couple of images I tried putting vertical battens on the back which worked well. The battens were invisible, added a little extra stiffness but were unobtrusive.
In hindsight I think that I should have gone with the 5mm Foamex instead of the 3mm that I originally selected. It would have supplied that little bit of extra rigidity and the extra depth of the blackness on the side view might have enhanced the floating impression but that’s a minor improvement.
I was “in attendance” on most days even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time and found it fascinating to watch people as they moved around the rooms. Sometimes I’d just listen as they talked to other visitors, on other occasions I’d introduce myself and chat about the images and the theme in general. People were universally friendly when I took this approach and were happy to comment or criticise constructively. It was interesting to listen to other peoples’ interpretations of the images, sometimes very different to mine or just surprising.
Back in the days of the Documentary module I wrote an essay about the “Reflexive View”, discussing how a person’s experiences or cultures led them to perceive things differently, whether as a photographer or as a viewer. The different interpretations that I heard would have been excellent examples to use in that essay.
Due to commercial regulations associated with photography on Crown property I wasn’t allowed to sell my images at the exhibition or, more accurately, I hadn’t applied for permission to do so, mainly because there was a licence fee to be paid and I didn’t want the distraction of commercial licencing during the preparation for the exhibition. Instead, after the exhibition, I simply offered the mounted images to friends who’d visited the exhibition and all of them were snapped up quickly. Some of them have been framed behind glass and I have to admit that they look good in that form. However, they definitely do create a boundary which is totally acceptable for individual images (because the theme has been removed) but I still don’t think that frames would have worked when all of the images were being displayed together. When together the theme was apparent and the images worked well together, frames on all the images would have separated them, creating boundaries between them, instead of being able to view them as a consistent and integrated whole.
In summary, I had a great time, I really (unexpectedly) enjoyed putting on the exhibition and felt that it was well appreciated, both by the Centre and by the visitors. Indeed, the director of the Old Court has already asked me to produce another exhibition due to the success of this one – I don’t think that I can get a much better endorsement.