Fine Art Photography
I love exhibiting my work. I love having a project or a theme and building a body of work within that theme with the end result of a show! The first time I exhibited my work was in 1993 and I’ve been passionate to continue with exhibitions since.
I’ve done 5 exhibitions total. My first was a solo show in Los Angeles with the then unknown 16 year old
My second and third show were both in Sydney. I did a series of street people in Sydney, black and white and very photo-documentary style. The third show was an expose of my commercial fashion work. These two shows were highly unsuccessful, earning no money and getting zero press!
In 2005, I had my fourth show. Living back in my home town of Los Angeles, I exhibited a series of young, hot rock and roll boys, the show aptly naming itself
I choose to have a side project going on now because my fine art often times “saves” me from the day to day struggles that accompany commercial fashion photography. I don’t choose a subject or a theme that I hope will be accepted by the norm out there. I don’t care how the work is going to be perceived. In other words, I shoot what I want with my fine art. I mean, isn’t that the point? Yes, I grow tired of being told what or how to shoot. When the client is paying me, though, I am happy to do as I’m told. But indeed I have a side that needs to be expressed too and my fine art photography allows me to do this!
If you think you’d like to exhibit your photography, you might want to stick to this strategy:
1. Find a subject matter that you want to shoot and stick to that theme. Whether it’s Wildlife or Art Nudes, pick a theme and stick with it.
2. Figure out how many pieces you want to show in your exhibit and start shooting to build a body of work.
3. Give yourself a “due date”. When do you want to be exhibiting by? Give yourself a schedule and try to complete your work within that time frame.
4. Start looking at galleries that you’d like to exhibit in. Or maybe you’d rather do a one night launch party at a local club or coffeehouse. Find your market and your niche and start researching the venues you think would be appropriate to show your work.
5. As you build your body of work, start showing the pieces to your friends. Get feedback. Start editing the body of work down so your best pieces are the only ones left.
6. Figure out how you’re going to print and frame your photographs. I researched paper stock for a month before settling on a brand of paper. And then start talking to framers and getting estimates on how much it is going to cost you to frame your photographs. Of course, this task includes figuring out what size you want to enlarge your photographs.
7. Look into getting a small PR firm to help you market your show. It costs a few bucks, but it is so worth it. Your PR firm can get you interviewed by local papers, get email blasts out, get influential people invited to your show. They can even help get sponsors who will put a little money into the event.
8. Keep your expectations of fame and fortune tuned low and try to enjoy the process of building the body of work. When I look back over the exhibits I’ve done, it wasn’t the opening night or the actual show that I remember most. It was the experiences I had shooting for it. The attention and money you can potentially receive from doing a show should be the icing on the cake.
9. I am currently putting together a show of images that depict a passage in my past that wasn’t too pleasant. In fact, it was pretty dark. The show is going to be fairly controversial, but you remember what I said about that. A thick skin is very helpful, with both commercial AND fine art photography. Not everyone is going to “get” your work or love your work. Get over it! Do what you love. The rest will come!