The question comes up a lot-how do I tell if I'm ready to show my wok? So, as part of this ongoing series, I thought I would offer up some advice.
I think there are ready to start entering juried shows/showing your work more if:
- You have been shooting for more than 1 year. You feel you have or can prepare a "body" of work (more than 1 image) on a similar theme. Maybe you have pulled together a small folio or essay on a related topic, but you feel comfortable working with more than one image and moving beyond the single shot.
- You feel comfortable in printing your work. You can prepare archival quality prints suitable for display-either by using a lab or by doing it yourself. If you are doing it yourself, you should be comfortable and setup with your printer, your paper, your inkset, and you should be able to look at your work and have some sort of idea how you would print it. If you are outsourcing printings tasks, that is, going to a lab, you should feel comfortable with the lab and have found a lab that offers you quality printing at a price you can afford.
- You feel comfortable in matting, framing, and presenting your work. Again, you can "outsource" this task but you should have it covered, that is, you should know the turn-around time for your work and the approximate price of things before sending your work off to a multitude of shows.
There are no hard and fast rules here. For example, I toss out the "1 year" mark as a good starting point but some photographers are ready much sooner than that while others do their first show after years behind a camera. The idea here is not that you are ready on day 365, rather it takes about a year to feel comfortable with getting the exposures right with your camera. That is to say, the average person, after about a year of shooting, will be able to produce consistently correct exposures, your actual results may vary (as they always say.)
Today we also send a big hello out to the folks at Wallspace Gallery in Seattle, who were kind enough to mention the upcoming "Plastic Fantastic" show in their blog, The Flat File. The show opens this weekend in Johnson City, Texas and features the work of 45 artists (myself included in the bunch.) I hope you can check it out (it's available on-line here as well.)
Until next time...