Exhibition Scams

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Oct 9, 2010
    35mm RF
    I believe there are some photographic calls for entry exhibitions/competitions that are merely scams to extract money from photographic artists. Perhaps APUG members could list any they think are in this category on this thread.
  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

    Feb 2, 2010
    Montreal, Canada
    4x5 Format
    Glad you mentioned this, cliveh. I thought about starting this very thread a few months back but didn't get around to it. Not necessarily outright scams, but even legit/semi-legit organizations trolling other competitions and auto-mailing/mass-mailing participants. This happened to me and legit or not it pissed me off.

    Long story short, I entered a print in B&W Magazine's single image contest. (sidebar: I hate the idea of competitions and have never entered one before but figured having a deadline would help me get organized a little since everything's kind of a mess right now). Anyway I didn't win but apparently B&W posts the images, presumably with contact info/email, of EVERYONE who participates. I never bothered to check and see if my image was there, but I guess it was. Relatively soon thereafter I received an email from some people claiming they thought my image "xxxx" (the email referenced the title of the image) was of high quality, and the kind of work they are interested in. Keep reading bla bla bla juried competition, etc etc etc $30 entry fee. The email appears below.

    North Valley Art League <nvalphotoshow@sbcglobal.net> Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM
    Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Delete | Show original

    Hi Michael,
    My husband and I are chairing the NVAL 2012 International Juried Photography Show in Redding, California. We saw your image "Staircase" on the B & W Magazine website. Your work is of a very high quality--the kind that we would like to see hanging in the NVAL gallery. We are hoping that you will accept our invitation to enter our competition. Below is a synopsis of the show information.

    Charlotte Bryson
    530-221-1993 or email nvalphotoshow@sbcglobal.net


    $1750 IN PRIZE MONEY

    Best of Show is $1000. The show will be exhibited May 1-June 2 at the North Valley Art League's Carter House Gallery in Redding, California. Accepted works will be also be displayed in our online gallery. The gallery is adjacent to the Sacramento River and major recreation areas attracting both local and tourist traffic. The show is open to all photographers and all forms of photographic expression are encouraged.

    We have an outstanding juror, Jennifer L. Daly, MFA with Distinction-Photography, who has exhibited all over the country. Her juror statement reads: "Photography has always been a diverse art form with evolving and emerging technologies, ideas, and styles. As a juror, I look forward to seeing the breadth of the medium from 'straight' photography to photo-manipulation, digital, traditional and alternative process and everything in between in order to facilitate an exhibition of interpretation of photography today."

    All entries will be online and are currently being accepted. The prospectus and entry information are on our website or click the following link: http://nval.org/Photography_Show.html

    Deadline: 03-24-2012
    North Valley Art League
    Redding, CA

    Contact: Charlotte Bryson
    email: nvalphotoshow@sbcglobal.net
    Phone: 530.221.1993
    Website: www.nval.org
  3. amsp

    amsp Member

    Jan 13, 2012
    Medium Format
    Seems nowadays everyone is trying to make a quick buck holding competitions. I get hounded with "invitations" on a regular basis and I ignore them all. I'm sure it's good business for them though, usually the prices they give out are only a fraction of what they are making with all those entry fees. The example above was particularly laughable though.
  4. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

    Jul 24, 2005
    Northern Vir
    Multi Format
    Some are, some aren't... If you want to reach a wider audience with your work (i.e. better galleries/publications/etc.), you need to develop a good CV. One way to do so is to enter, and be accepted, to competitions. In order to pre-qualify entrants, they usually have a fee. Sometimes part of the fee will go to an accomplished juror, in an attempt to add cachet to the competition. If there is a physical show involved, some of the money may go to the expenses of the staff needed to hang the show, as well as publicity, and whatever refreshments are offered at the opening. Remember, though, if you are accepted, you'll need to pay to ship your work both ways (unless, of course, it sells), so a $30 entry fee can end up costing quite a bit more.
    I can't speak to "on-line" competitions, as they seem a bit shady to me...

    Michael- the competition you posted seems legit, to me. As a member of a few Art Leagues, I have witnessed the effort put in to their competitions. This one has a physical show, cash awards, and contact information. Whether the manner in which they contacted you was ethical, I have no idea. But, Art League competitions are a very good way to dip your toes into the jury process.

    A few years ago I was given some good advice about entering competitions:
    1- Call and ask how many entries they had the prior year. If they won't tell you, be wary.
    2- Research the juror(s). See if your work falls into their area of interest/style. It will improve your chances of acceptance.
    3- Enter large pieces in local (drop-off) competitions. Smaller pieces in competitions which require shipping.
  5. John Austin

    John Austin Member

    Oct 2, 2010
    Southern For
    Large Format
    This seems like one as well, but as part of a very expensive book - But I don't know, anyway the cost of a single page = a lot of travel and film

    "Dear John

    I visited your online portfolio, and I liked your work. I would like to invite you to submit work for inclusion in "International Masters of Photography”, a juried annual art photography publication presenting noteworthy photographers from all over the world.

    Please note that this is not a free inclusion. If you are interested, I will send you more information or you can visit: http://wwab.us/index.php/Photography-Application/

    To get an idea of the quality of our publications, you can view other books of ours on the same site.

    We organize a large group exhibition for the photographers appearing in this book, at the Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Arts, which is located in Las Vegas. Contact us for more information.

    Best regards,
    Ornella Martin - Assistant Curator
    World Wide Art Books,INC
    1907 State Street
    93101 Santa Barbara CA
    Tel / fax +1 805 845 3869

  6. amsp

    amsp Member

    Jan 13, 2012
    Medium Format
    Those kind of books are the same deal really, only packaged differently. They massage your ego, make you feel special and then they make a killing from the fees.
  7. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

    Dec 31, 2006
    Medium Format
    Plus, presumably, sales of the book to the people included. These sorts of vanity projects occur in the literary world, too. Especially in poetry, since the ratio of wannabe poets to real markets for poetry is pretty high.