It is a year and 5 exhibitions since I decided to shift the focus of my photography towards the fine art side of things. This time last year I was exhibiting a series of Surrey landscapes in a joint exhibition with my shooting buddy, Jenifer Bunnett, at The Lightbox in Woking. Then, in March, we showed some of the images from that exhibition alongside new local landscapes in ‘A Certain Slant of Light’ at the Guildford Institute. In August, I hung a panel in ‘Light on the Land’ at the Mall Galleries, and in September, five black and white pictures in ‘Mistresses of Light’ at the Oxo Tower. It was a lot of work, and the learning curve was steep, but it was also great fun. However, the climax of all this has to be my first solo exhibition, ‘Focused Moments’, currently showing at Arté Gallery in Weybridge.
I needed a lot of images for this exhibition and I wanted to make sure I could offer something for all budgets and also remain true to my own style. I must have spent a small fortune (I daren’t add it up!) trying different papers and framing options. In the end, I went with three fine art papers in simple black frames and a few prints on aluminium. I also decided to have two special books made for visitors to browse. On the advice of the gallery owners, I have made these available as limited editions, and they seem to be going down well.
There is something really rewarding about filling a gallery. I have hung 60 images of which most are new pictures, taken in the last year, but there are some going back as far as 2009. When planning the hanging in this intriguing space with several different surfaces, it helped to create groups of images that worked together and then it was relatively easy to decide the order of the groups so that the exhibition flowed. I say easy – it still took us two full days to finish hanging the show!
Of course, there had to be a party. Many thanks to local lettings agents, Martin & Wheatley for sponsoring the opening. In a bout of last-minute nerves, I worried that no-one would come, but I needn’t have fretted. In the end, the event was buzzing, and we sold seven prints and two of my limited edition books during the course of the evening. Phew!
I think it’s important to be present at an exhibition as much as possible; people like to be able to talk to the exhibitor. I have had many interesting conversations at the gallery this week, some with old friends and some with new. And today I got to show my Dad around, which was really special.
If you have ever thought of trying something like this, I heartily recommend it. The experience has been amazing – exhausting, but amazing. It’s nice to sell, but even if I had sold nothing, it would still have been worth it. Many thanks to Mike and Sally at Arté Gallery for allowing me to bring my work into their lovely space, to my friend, Sam, for all the fetching, carrying and coffee and to my daughter, Maggie, for her excellent work as server and photographer at the private view. I couldn’t have done it without you!