I read through the whole thread and first want to thank everyone who gave some very good reasons to submit to portfolio reviews. It seems that there is a disconnect between the first of this thread and the last. Comercial gallery shows are vastly different than competitions or exhibitions with academic institutions or non-profits. I can not possibly see how a gallery could exhibit work and charge admission unless it was a one night performance type of event. I think everyone should look at the exhibition of their work as just that, exhibition and an opportunity for others to see your vision.
Selling the work is another thing, I know gallery owners and to sell requires planning, marketing, lots of things I do not wish to do as the artist.
The only galleries I have every run into that require payment for exhbition are vanity galleries.
I'm the original poster, and thought I'd summarize what I've learned since I started talking to people about this subject. I've been getting lots of different responses to my posts/email, ranging from total dismissal of reviews/juried shows to total support of what they do. I guess my conclusion from what I've learned so far is that these places (for the most part) aren't making a buck off photographers, and that they couldn't do what they do if they didn't charge enough for it (I read for instance Laura Moya's detailed description of how critical mass works over at "a photo editor"). Moreover, if one were actually to try and get meetings w all the people who see one's work in these venues, one would probably end up paying quite a bit more, if it were even possible.
On the other hand, there are certainly many photographers (some of whom wrote to tell me)who have either severely curtailed their participation in such events, or ended it completely primarily for financial reasons, so there are definitely people not being seen solely on the basis of money. Moreover, there's an overarching sense of the unfairness of the system (justified or not) on the part of most people I was in touch with, a perception that should at least be addressed openly by the people running these events.
What I'd conclude from all this is that there's definitely a need for a low-cost alternative to the current options, ideally funded by government or non-profit supporters of the arts, to cover the needs of those left out for financial reasons. Whether photographers alone, working in cooperatives or as a non-profit port. review can achieve this is something I'm unsure about. I can only say that general reaction to even the idea of a petition such as I described was lukewarm, at best.
Not sure where the "unfairness" is. These people (venue operators) offer a service (exposure, promotion, exhibition space) for a price, which service can be purchased at the discretion of the individual photographer. It's only unfair if you view this service as an entitlement for all that is beyond the means of some.
Originally Posted by gbenaim
Greaaat. Aside from the fact that the constitution nowhere specifically authorizes the federal government to write checks to photographers (not that constitutional niceties should give us pause after a trillion dollars of "stimulus"), is it really wise to make art funding dependent on the whims of whomever is in charge at the time? And do we want to substitute admissions jurors for a panel of government appointees who'll have to wade through the piles of submissions to determine who gets the grants?
...there's definitely a need for a low-cost alternative to the current options, ideally funded by government...
At least this notion has the virtue of being a private-sector solution, though no less arbitrary and subject to bias and jealousy for it.
...or non-profit supporters of the arts, to cover the needs of those left out for financial reasons.
The Constitution isn't worth the paper it is written on. Government violates it so often and so deeply, and has done so for so long, that quoting it is a meaningless act today. That cat is out of the bag, over the fence, and prowling the other side of town. If the government isn't directly violating your rights today in a million different way, you're a rare man in this country. I'd prefer they do something to help people, rather than the usual business in Washington, which is to harm.
"these places" are also hurting because of the present financial climate. The local Arts and Science Council experienced a 30% decrease in giving compared to 2008 and is passing that along. Also, many sponsors have backed out or reduced their sponsorships.
Originally Posted by gbenaim
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Government is never the answer unless you want someone to dictate what can be on exhibit. Non-profit support of the arts only works in good economic times.
Originally Posted by gbenaim
My 14 yr. old son is involved in a local non-profit and they are asked to raise a minimum of $500.00 through sponsorships to support the organization. They are also responsible for making the organization's Arts Festival Week a success. I heard him on the phone telling someone he had bought several hundred magnets from that they were unacceptable and they needed a rush order of replacements at no charge. He took ownership of what he wanted to accomplish.
Perhaps, serious photographers on a budget should take the initative to find sponsors to pay their entry fees.
I am put off by the proliferation of these "vanity galleries" that charge $30-40 per image, limit the size of frame, and put up 80+ artists for a week or two. If I do the math correctly, they are probably pulling in over $3000 of artists' money for that show, for unknown amounts of promotion. Most of the artists are just starting out, or amateur "wannabes" who haven't bothered to look into how the art world works. A local one lasted about a year (good riddance) - I wonder if any artists actually made any money.
The local art shows are a different matter. I know what I am getting for my entry fees - booth/exhibition space, visible promotion, staffing, etc. etc. .
What amazes me is that these vanity galleries should theoretically have a guaranteed sucker-based income stream and yet they almost always make a big crater sooner rather than later.
ChrisCrawford: Local rock bands don't pay nightclubs to let them perform. Hell No! The clubs PAY THE BAND. They get the money to keep the club open by charging the audience.
Pay-to-play is a HUGE issue for local bands. Lots of club shows the touring headliner makes a modest guarantee that mostly covers their gas+food+motel, 1st support makes a pittance, everyone else has to sell their quota of tickets just to break even. And despite this clubs make craters nearly as often as galleries do.
Authors don't pay to get published. Publishers pay the authors. Publishers make money by charging readers for the book.
If you're not someone with a proven track track record--or the meteor-of-the-month--subsidy publishing is the only (mostly useless) outlet for serious fiction.
Really, any form of artistic expression where you can get a flock of suckers to value exposure over making a living is going to operate this way. Simple supply and demand.
Last edited by Roger Krueger; 07-15-2009 at 08:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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