In April this year, here in Canberra, I’ll be holding an exhibition. The opening night is Thursday 15th April, 6-8pm. It will be at The Front Cafe and Gallery in Lyneham. It’s going to be a collection of images of People and Places. They’re images from all over the world, mostly from the trip I took last year but also some others from the previous patch in which I was away from 2006-08.
I’d thought from time to time I’d share a few stories with you about preparing for an exhibition. I haven’t put one together since I was in my final year studying Commerical Art Photography at the prestigious RMIT University. Back then, in the final months of my course, I had produced a series of toy camera images that my lecturer described as ‘exquisite’ (shucks, I thought, that’s a rarity). He suggested I put together a show, with three other students, this wasn’t part of the curriculum. I said, I wouldn’t know what to do, he said, go out and learn. Smart chappy, thanks John Storey. The event was a raging success and it was so lovely to put my creativity up on the wall for people to experience, and to share that event with my colleague and guests.
So before I headed off last year in May it came to me all of a sudden epiphany-style that I should hold an exhibition. I’ve been doing all this travelling and shooting from the heart so there must be something worth showing, right?
The first part was to think of a venue. Fringe or high brow? A curated space or somewhere in which I do it all myself? I thought for my first show in really a long time, in which people do not yet know me, I should err to the side of caution, go small and have full control of the process. Then The Front came to mind because its gallery is an extension to the cafe, so I thought that would be a good choice as the exhibition would be right there for passing traffic. Also it’s in the arts district of Canberra, with the popular Tilley’s around the corner and the regular neighbourhood shops around as well. It’s not too far from the city so that works for anyone thinking of taking a dedicated trip to see the show.
The second part to think of was what would I show? Well the obvious answer was something to do with the imagery I had created overseas, and maybe bringing some of my people work into it as well…how about comparing how and why different people live in their different places? So I gathered relevant images that I had at the time, and put together a powerpoint slideshow for my proposal. I felt it was important that the gallery didn’t have to do anything, just have the idea presented to them, for them to say yes, or no to. I included the images you see here, and text written by Emma (in 2008 we were both living in London and I regularly documented her time there) and Trish with her family that live here in Canberra.
The idea was accepted, sweet. I paid a deposit to secure the space for a solo exhibition for the second two weeks of April 2010. I could get on the plane a week later knowing I had a show to work towards and put on in 12 months time.
So now fast forward, the 2009 trip is complete, I’ve gathered all my material…now, what to actually show? This been a tough part of the process, it’s a small space, but I have so many images, of both People and Places, so something’s gotta give. I don’t want to show work for the sake of it, I must have something interesting to say, and to show it in an interesting way. I’ve consulted with an artist I met through friends, a highly respected photographer in town (thanks David Paterson), the The Front Gallery staff and my beautiful framers at Framing Matters, and come to the conclusion that for the size of the venue, less prints, but made bigger, larger than life will work best.
Over the coming days I need to capture the essence of the exhibition in just a few ideas and words, some of this work has already been done with fabulous Trish of eat.shoot.blog fame (thanks Trish). On Monday I have a meeting with Art Direction who I’m excited to say will be kindly supporting the event by providing the invitation design. I’m excited to say that Canberra’s favourite Latin band Los Chavos will be playing a gig straight afterwards from 8pm, so it’s going to make for a great night.
I’m also busily working out the ideas for the opening night and working with Clint at Three Sides to get the word out. Presently we’re discussing who to get to open the event, and finding sponsorship for the alcohol.
What would you like to see or experience at the opening night? What would make it worth your while to come, and who would you suggest to open it? Do you have ideas about companies and buinesses that would be interested in sponsoring?
Feel free to leave a comment here I’d love to hear from you.