Preparing For An Art Exhibit



What size print, what price, what frame, what type of mat.  Will these decisions make a difference between my photograph simply hanging on the wall to be admired and talked about or will my work go home with someone?  Will it be accepted into a juried exhibit, will the jurors like it at all?

I want to save some money because I have very little to spend, but I want my photograph as large as possible, making the statement they require, maybe on canvas, but I know this will be simply beautiful on metal.  Yes metal!  So many factors come into play as I prepare for an exhibit.  So many emotions happily invade my thoughts.

I am across the street looking through the window, watching as the van backs into my driveway.  I can imagine the sound of the rocks beneath his feet as he walks towards my front porch.  He approaches the door and knocks.  There is no answer, I am across the street watching.  He taps his little machine and carefully places the flat 9 x 11 package against my door.  I watch him re-adjust it so it is just right, placing it first on the threshold, finally settling it on the first step, it rests against the door.  I am grateful to see him take such care of my things, I can tell he likes his job.  I whisper an unheard thank you to him as he climbs back in his van and drives away.

I am excited, but I let the package sit for awhile, I always do.  Just letting it be as it lays on the back rest of my couch.  I don’t know what I will find.  I pinch a corner of the plastic wrapping and poke a hole in it with a steak knife, slipping the tip of the blade inside and slicing across the top, taking care to cut as little as possible, preserving this very moment.  Always in the end I grab the wrapping and rip it off, my excitement I can contain no longer.

I pull my photographs out examining each one.  “Too blurry” “it looked good on the screen”  “oh this one has a particle of dirt on it’s petal, I can’t use that”.

“Will they like it?”  I am my worse critic, or best!

I hold it up, angling it to see how the light catches it, is it crisp enough?  Are the edges soft enough in just the right areas, what is out of focus, and should it be?  Where does my eye travel first?

When I get to the last photograph, I have to sit down.  This is why I do what I do, this is why I love photography.  I am in love with this photograph and I nearly cry.

Because I did that!

I walk through my home looking at the frames I have available, taking some of them off the wall and laying my photograph on the glass to see how it looks.  Back and forth between frames, finally walking away, I need a break.

I have made a decision, yet here it is a few short hours until the submission deadline, and I haven’t placed the photograph in the frame yet.

My stomach churns, because this is so important to me.  My photographs reflect on me.  My style.  They are intimate and special.  Each and every one of them, and I wonder will you see what I see?

It is time to make the final preparations.  Cleaning the glass and frame, matting the photograph, signing and placing it within it’s frame.  I must attach wire to the back so it can easily be hung.  There is a unique way to do this.  A very special person had taught me how, neither one of us knowing it would play an important roll in my life.

Completing the paperwork and the delivery is always exciting and a little nerve wracking!  Possibly getting to see other submissions before they are judged and hung on the wall.  I will usually talk a little with the curator and be on my way, entrusting my work to them.

Being accepted into an exhibit is an honor and a lot of work.  It all starts when something catches your eye and everything else disappears.

All photos copyright Sandy Harris/Sandra Lynn Photography
(good luck in the show! –ed.)

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