First Solo Show

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by tylershumway, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. tylershumway

    tylershumway Member

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    Hello, new guy here. Love this site. Anyways, I'm looking for some advice in regards to setting up a solo show this summer. I understand there are a number of challenges involved in this, so anyone who can share some experience with this would be greatly appreciated.

    I've worked very hard on putting together a portfolio of images over the last year and half. It mostly consists of landscapes and nature photography in the area. I think this might work in my favor because I live in Northern Michigan in an area where theres is a lot of art exposure and galleries. Being that I grew up in there area, I would like to generate some exposure to get my name out there. I want to establish a reputation as an artist in the area because I know there are some great resources.

    I'm pretty young, I graduated high school two years ago, so I understand I'm not approaching anyone with a mature artist's portfolio. However, I don't think this should stop me from gaining some recognition for my work. I work very hard and I'm serious about pursuing photography as a career. As far as gallery space, I thought it would be a good option to try contacting the public library and probably some of the local art galleries. I'm a little lost at how I should approach them though. Should I send them a letter? Or try to set up an appointment? Feel free to take a look at my work and let me know if you think its ready. Thanks so much!
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Public libraries can be a great place for shows. Some libraries that have dedicated gallery space will have their policies about their gallery on the website. It's always a good idea to do a little homework before approaching a library of gallery, and if you can find a submission policy, use those as a guide.

    I pulled together a show for my local library, and it has led to other shows in other venues... especially since it's a completed body of work, and framed, ready for presentation.

    Those costs, by the way, can be considerable, but once invested, subsequent shows won't cost as much.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    There should be several opportunities for exhibiting in your area: libraries, restaurants, art & craft shows, University exhibits, camera clubs, etc. Shops that cater to tourists may be interested. Perhaps your chamber of commerce can help. The cost of exhibiting varies widely. In many venues the work should be matted and framed. Doing this work yourself can save much. The University may have mat cutters available. I print in only a few sizes, which makes buying pre-cut mats less expensive. At the local arts & crafts show about half of my sales are mounted and matted, but unframed. At this show there is sometimes useful feedback from potential customers, especially when it is solicited. By starting young you have plenty of time to establish a reputation. The more exposure you have in the public eye the faster this may go. Hard work at this time of your life should be a great investment.
     
  4. tylershumway

    tylershumway Member

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    Thank you for your comments and advice. I'll keep you updated.
     
  5. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    Tyler, you have some good stuff and you appear to be off to a good start. As Jim mentioned, keep your display simple and consistent. Simple black frames with white mats work just about everywhere and if you keep your sizes consistent you get volume discounts. If you use archival mounting such as t-hinging you can change out your photo’s for different events and displays. You will also want to have a portable portfolio for showing gallery and restaurant owners. Contests such as a local photo club, especially if they offer live critique can be a great way to get technical feedback. Keep in mind that something that does not win in a photo club contest may sell very well in an art show since most of the buying public is looking for an emotional connection not technical finesse.

    I can tell from your work, that you have good connection with yourself and with nature. You will want to keep deepening that connection because that will help your work connect with the public. You will also want to learn about the segment of the public that you do connect with. Marketing is critical for financial success as a professional photographer or fine art photographer and you will need to learn how to get your work in front of the type of people that are interested in it.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  6. msdemanche

    msdemanche Member

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    I agree with all the other suggestions. I might add, if there is any non-profit arts organizations in your area you contact them about their suggestions, or find out if they sponsor exhibitions. Here on the lower eastern shore, we are only two hours away from large art markets, but most always start very locally with the arts councils or camera clubs to get a small body out there and then approach larger venues. Do not rule out any small competitions with these organizations, you can get exposure and critical feeback all in one exhibit. Your work is on it's way and best of luck. Michel
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2009