A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.
As mentioned in a previous posting, I’ve never been good at tooting my own horn. But, since several of you have asked…I thought I’d not only share my images that were chosen for a juried exhibition, but also my experiences as well. But let’s back up. After I knew that I would be spending more time in New York City and my love of photography continued to grow, I decided to join a photography club. So I did the research and found a group of women photographers. Their meeting location was within walking distance of the apartment and with the group being female…well my thinking was they’d be welcoming and more willing to share their knowledge. (I know…we’ll get to that in a minute. Just call me naive.)
My first year I submitted four images for the club’s annual exhibit and had one of them chosen. Of course I was thrilled and excited and all those emotions that one can expect when you’re just beginning the photography journey. The first call for submissions was in 2011 and honestly I can’t recall who juried the show. The theme was abstract and my image “Jacaranda” was chosen. The exhibition was held at a Manhattan camera store (Calamet) that had an amazing exhibition area, but unfortunately is no longer in business. Wow…my first involvement in an exhibition and in New York City…
The following year the theme was around abandonment and was juried by the prominent photographer, Amy Arbus and daughter of Diane Arbus. I adore her work and her thoughts about photography in general…“I became a photographer to have an interesting life; I had a really romantic view of what my mother’s life was but, once I started getting involved and trying to make a living as a photographer I realised how freaking difficult it was. But it was not dull. And I went off to places that I would never have thought to go and met these people I would never have met. There’s a lot of non-verbal communication, chemistry, it’s a lot about making snap decisions of how somebody needs to be treated or wants to be treated and I find that really interesting. I mean, 30 years later I’m still not remotely bored of it. I’m intrigued.” The exhibition was at the Powerhouse Arena in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn. This is an incredible space for exhibitions and events…and home to the world-renowned art book publisher Powerhouse Books…so of course a great book store too! (An area and store one should visit whenever you’re in the city!) Anyway, of course I was thrilled beyond words…and even more thrilled that not just one…but three of my four images were chosen! And once again, an exhibition in New York City!
Image 1: My Daddy Has Alzheimer’s
Image 3: Moroccan Man (from one of my visits to Morocco)
So what did I learn from all of this? Well first of all submitting and then preparing for an exhibit requires not only a lot of time, but expense as well. In both exhibits there were specific size and framing requirements which meant higher costs. It only took those two times for me to ask myself…why am I doing this? But more important…remember that photography group that I was searching for that would be nurturing and welcoming and willing to share? Yep, didn’t happen. This group was the most closed off group of women I’ve ever been associated with. Rarely would anyone even speak to me at the monthly meetings and after years of networking in my career…it was not on my priority list to begin all of that again. On top of that…the club was controlled by a small group of women…and when you aren’t in the club…well you know how that goes. Since life is way too short…I quit the club as well as submitting for juried shows. No doubt it was a learning experience and I think every photographer who is serious about their work should do it at least once! I know many people thrive on it…it just didn’t do it for me. I will also note that as I’ve attended more gallery shows and visited artists studios in the city, I have found it to be the MEN who are more willing to share! So there you have it…lessons learned.