The Fleeting Moment Exhibition, what a wonderful experience.
Updated: May 6, 2022
It has been a week since the closing of my 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 exhibition. As many of my online followers are photographers themselves, I wanted to share my experience. Hopefully it will help you make an informed decision whether you want to go through the same process yourselves.
To start with, I had never thought of doing my own exhibition.
I started photography about 4 years ago. Having lost my job and being unable to find another I needed a way to keep my sanity, to give me motivation to get up in the morning. For me it was photography.
It did not take long to fall in love with the art. I did architecture, street, sports and martial arts photography, but I have always fallen back to bird and animal photography. It combined my love for birds and my new hobby. I did it only for myself, with no intention whatsoever to publish or exhibit.
Shortly after, however, I discovered that my photos helped people find the nature around them, in their gardens, the park, and the street so I started to actively promote the local nature on social media.
That was until about two years ago, when I first met Melony the owner of Gallery 11:11 Studio & Art Space. I happened to visit one of her painting exhibitions, and we started talking. I kept visiting her following exhibitions, and we kept talking. Gradually we both felt that I have interesting material to exhibit at her gallery.
It took us some time to decide on the theme: 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡𝐲 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐬𝐭𝐲𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐉𝐚𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠. We decided on this style as it was on the line between photography and painting, different to ‘standard’ photography. Then we agreed on a date. It should have been about a year later.
The hard part only started. It was 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐬. I had to choose the photos, and when I did not have them to take new ones.
As much as I tried, I could not visualise how they would fit together on the wall. I could imagine each of the photos, but not the combined composition. This was where Melony’s help was invaluable. Eventually we ended up choosing eleven photos.
Then came the next part. 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠.
My photography until that point had been viewed mostly on screen. When someone ordered a print, I would use a standard printer service and a standard paper. I had never really bothered with it, nor had my clients. But for an exhibition I quickly realised that I needed to understand printing. Each printer, each type of paper produced a completely different feel.
Luckily, Melony introduced me to Rebecca of Rathenart Designs - Rebecca Anne Brady. As an artist herself Rebecca understood what I was trying to achieve. Together we tried different printers and different paper. We tried everything from 𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐩𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐜𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐧 𝐫𝐚𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐫. After all, each photo was different and needed individual approach and treatment. This was an amazing learning experience. It was fun, but it also took time.
Especially that due to COVID I could not sit with Rebecca next to the printers and try. Instead, we were forced to work by phone, then by sending digital photos of the prints, and then by mail. After all, no image on the screen can convey the image reliably.
This also was quite an expensive process. And the cost of experimental printing, including the delivery, ended up as the main cost component of the exhibition.
Then came the 𝐟𝐫𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠. As I had had no previous experience, Melony took me to her printer Pete of Framing Life, and together (with Melony's help) we chose the frames, their colours, and the type of glass – we chose 𝐧𝐨𝐧-𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐠𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐬. It was more expensive but the difference in the final product was significant.
Due to COVID lockdown we had to delay the exhibition. Instead of the planned 12 months, it took nearly 18 months from start until we were ready for the opening.
It was time and work consuming and an expensive endeavour, but the opening and the following week was worth it all. It was nothing short of wonderful. I made a point to be there when visitors were due. Over 150 people came. The feedback was amazing, and so was the support. I discovered people who had been following my work for over a year, I discovered people who loved the local nature and wanted to know more about it, and other who liked photography and art. It was an intense eight days, but nothing short of amazing experience. I even sold some photos. In the end, I even managed to breakeven financially.
All in all, it was an 18-month journey that taught me a great deal. It took my art to a new level and made me think differently about my photographic journey. It was so good that I am now thinking about another exhibition, probably next year or the one after.
So if you are a photographer willing to put the effort, this is no doubt something worth considering. But be aware of the investment of both time and money required. It is a lot of work.
I want to thank everyone who helped me, and everyone who came to view and support. I could not have done it without you all. Thank you so much
See youtube video below