Need advice about an exhibition I submitted to...
Hi, I don't post much, just read a lot. But I wanted to get other photographer's input on something that happened with a juried exhibition I submitted to. I'll leave out the name of the show and I am sorry for the length of this post but I want to be honest with what occurred.
I received a postcard in the mail for an open call (any subject) for a Photography show in central NJ and I had 3 brand new large framed prints (I got them from my framer for something else that didn't pan out yet) – about 40” x 50” framed (I shoot 645 film). My framer does an outstanding job and he wraps each framed print with a semi-clear plastic (more clear than bubble wrap but there’s a shine to it and a subtle pattern) and yellow masking tape.
I put these three into the car and dropped them off. I asked if I should remove the plastic wrap and I was told not to. There were many framed prints, many of great quality—I was impressed with the turn out.
I was notified that none of my photographs were selected. It happens, no big deal.
I went to pick up my framed prints and to my shock I discover that they were never taken out of the plastic!
I was mad, but I just started to take them to the car. Then in a moment of clarity I asked to see a manager. I said to the manager, “My photographs were not unwrapped, how did the juror review them?” She said, “Of course they were, they were put back in the bags.” I took her to frames to show her and I said, “No, look, the tape is clearly still on for the first time, this plastic was not removed.” She said, “Yes, you’re right, I remember, I asked the juror if he wanted me to take the plastic off and he told me that he wasn’t going to select them.” Then she said, “Maybe he thought there was too much color.” Which offended me because I don’t “photoshop” color – the scan either matches the transparency or goodbye frame! (Sorry guys, I scan film and print, please forgive me).
The story could end right there, but it didn’t. I had looked around at the photographs selected—very good stuff; but there were no landscape photographs. I asked her, “Did the juror select any landscape photographs—there was no specific subject, right?” She said, “Yes, he did, there are none down here, come with me, I’ll show you some upstairs. And the call was open for any subject matter.” We go upstairs and she’s looking and looking and mumbling about not finding any landscapes. Then she said, “wow, he didn’t pick any landscapes!”
I then said, “Maybe he does not like landscapes. The ones he did select are very nice and I don’t mean to cause trouble so I’ll take my frames and go.”
I took the frames to the car one at a time. By the third one another employee tells me that the manager wants to speak with me before I go (and that she’s upstairs).
I go upstairs and she says, “I’m truly sorry. This is the first year there aren’t any landscape photographs for this exhibition and I apologize. If it means anything, I liked your photographs.” I said, “Thank you and I am sorry for causing any trouble, the ones selected are very good.” I left.
It cost $8 a photograph for the exhibition, so the money isn’t the issue. My friends are pissed and want me to demand the money back, I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do, but I am trying to figure out the lesson here. By the way, these are the photographs I submitted if you want to see (I’m not trying to tout myself here).
I also don’t want to make this about sour grapes, this isn’t the first juried exhibition I’ve been rejected from and it’s not going to be the last—but at least remove the wrapping so I think you’ve looked at my photographs before rejecting them out of hand. I am also miffed about the juror not selecting any landscapes--if he was locked to a subject matter, then everyone submitting landscape photographs never had a chance of being selected--which is what I assume happened with my photographs.
Again, sorry for the length of this post.