This spring, i was offered to be part of a photo exhibition at a local gallery. This is something i’ve been wanting to do for many years but never gotten around to, so of course, i agreed.
My initial plan was to use photos from my rune stone project that i’ve been working on for a few years. But i quickly realized that really isn’t who i am any longer. Those photos felt dated and not very exciting. I started going through my food photos and decided i was going to make a selection of food photos with a still life feel. I had some plans and measurements of the gallery and figured out i’d be able to fit 6-8 photos on the wall i had been assigned.
After picking out about 12-14 photos, i also decided i wanted a dark tone to all my photos. This meant i had to drop a few of my selected ones and i actually created two new photos to get a coherent set of eight. I went through them all in Photoshop to clean up any spots and tweak light and colors.
I debated for a long time whether i should send the images to a printing service or print them myself. I actually debated for so long, the printing company was no longer an option. Luckily, my Canon A3 printer did a great job together with Lightroom. I used an ICC profile and the proof function in Lightroom to get the best possible version of each photo.
The prints came out great. Seeing your photos in print is such a nice experience.
Building my own frames for this was not an option. I used IKEA “Ribba” frames which are pretty good. It’s important to put a piece of acid-free paper between the photo and the backboard when you mount them, because otherwise the acidity of the backboard will ruin your photo over time. Also, the “glass” is made of plastic, which will scratch very easily, so they have to be handled with great care.
We went out to hang the photos in the gallery a few days before opening day. It felt good to go there on opening day, knowing everything was already perfectly set up. I would recommend everyone who has an exhibition to do this. Something unexpected will always happen and if you’re setting up last minute, you’re guaranteed to have a stressful time. I had my stressful moment on the way out of my house, when i realized one of the frames had a dent in the paint and some scratches on the plastic glass. Luckily, i had a few extra frames and i was able to quickly re-frame it.
The two most common (and surprising) questions i got
Watching people watch my photos was an interesting experience. Some people would just walk by, while other would study each photo very thoroughly. To my surprise, the most common question, by far, was “what is that background?”. I spent a lot of time explaining how i make my own tabletops and backgrounds, something that i’ve written about here before.
The second most common question was: “so you’re doing this professionally?”. I have no idea why people would assume that, but i suppose it’s something good if people think your photos look like they’ve been made by a pro.
The most popular photo
This is the photo that drew the most attention, the blueberry closeup.
I went into this with very few expectations. What i enjoyed most was meeting the other photographers and all visitors and talking to them. I’ve handed out so many business cards and i’m sure i’ll meet some of these people again. Who knows what opportunities will pop up in the future.
The amount of time that goes into an exhibition like this is brutal. If i were to do this again, i might arrange to not be around every open day. Also, i would plan to finish all the printing and framing much earlier than half an hour before it’s time to pack everything into the car.