201MC CW2-Professional Experience
It took me a while to decide what to do for my professional experience because there were so many different choices and paths I could go down. I didn’t really have any professional skills or job experience, so everything was daunting to me. There was something I had never tried before or even looked into and that was holding an exhibition. To me holding an exhibition would be a scary thing, having to sort everything out then have people look at my work. But I thought it would be good experience not only for the degree show we will be putting on next year but for any future exhibitions i’ll be looking to put on after I have graduated. Exhibitions are a good way to get interest up about your work, and I thought it would be a good way to gain some feedback on my photographs. I decided to do the exhibition in a group with Kayleigh and Bijash because it would help me be able to communicate my ideas and opinions across to a group. This will hopefully make it easier for me to speak up in class. People may think it would be easier to do an exhibition in a group, but it is harder. Because you have to negotiate within the group to choose things that satisfy everyone.
I had to quickly learn to talk to people and ask questions when we were searching for a gallery space. I found out that most people are very kind and helpful. At first I found it easier to talk to people with email, but after a little while I got comfortable enough to talk to them face to face. Especially with Emma the owner of the Lock Gallery that we exhibited in, I felt at ease when talking with her about the gallery and my work. I could freely tell her the meanings to my work and how I wanted them to be viewed in the gallery. I felt this is an achievement for me, because I am shy when talking to people especially when talking to people about my photography. Emma had asked for a summary of each of our works to be put on her website, I found this difficult because I don’t like giving people the meaning to my work; I want them to think about it themselves. But now I see that sometimes people need to be told part of the meaning of photographs, especially for exhibitions so that they are interested and show up to the gallery to have a look at the images.
During my professional experience I have learnt many things relating to holding an exhibition. One of the harder things I found to do was deciding which of my photographic sets to exhibit in the gallery. I created the images so I am biased in opinion towards them. I had to go by the feedback of others, my peers and teachers and my own opinions slightly, to be able to choose the right images to exhibit. I have also learnt how to work well in a group environment especially when deciding whose work should go where in the gallery. This was something we had to work together on, because being a group exhibition; we had to make sure everybody’s work got the same attention. This is where I feel I managed to break from my timid demeanor and stand up for my work, to make sure I was able to hang it the way I wanted it to be seen. I had never made a business card before, but I felt it was necessary to have out during the exhibition. It’s not a very big skill, being able to decide on a professional business card design, but for a photographer it is a required skill.
My goal employment-wise is to have an enjoyable job. Holding an exhibition isn’t a stable steady job. But it is something to work towards in between a normal job. My dream is be a director of photography. After holding the exhibition I found that I wanted to hold another straight away. I really enjoyed the experience and I know it is something I will carry on doing throughout my life to get my name out there as a photographer. A director of photography needs to set up a screen and capture that scene flawlessly; this is like setting up an exhibition. Having to choose where my photographs should go in the quite small gallery, can be compared to setting up scenery and lights for a film set. You have to draw the viewer’s attention and keep it. You cannot make it too hard for them to see your work, as they have made the effort to go and see it.
I do not think I am quite ready to go out and do a solo exhibition; I need to gather more confidence to talk to people and find galleries. But I really enjoyed the group exhibition and being a student I don’t have enough work to fill a whole gallery just yet, so a group exhibition is better than a solo one. I know I am going to start talking to people about my work, voicing my opinions and stop going along with their feedback. I always have opinions and ideas but am too scared to get something wrong so I never get my ideas across. I think that having to talk to people about finding galleries and my work has put me on the right path, and I am now confident enough to talk about my work and ideas. I know I will always have a contact in Emma, she owns the Lock gallery, and so I can always have a gallery if I need one.
The opening night of the exhibition went very well in my opinion. I got to talk to a woman from the Coventry telegraph about my work, and people got to see my work and I heard their opinions. The opening went well because we had help from Emma who set it up and because we were friendly to the people who showed up. The atmosphere was calm and relaxed with people sitting to enjoy a glass of wine and look at the photographs. I feel I could have taken more of a role in talking to Emma about the gallery at first, Bijash found the gallery so I couldn’t talk to her about it until we got to look around. This is just a matter of he found the gallery that had an opening for the dates we needed but still I would have liked to have helped him sort it. For the opening night, I wished I hadn’t worn heels because I was standing most of the night to see if people wanted to talk about my work. If I could do another exhibition I would talk to the people more, the ones who came to see the photographs, I would get their opinions on my work. As a photographer it is important to be able to take the good and bad feedback on your work. I now can do this better than I could before. Overall, the exhibition and whole experience was a success for me. I was scared at first but once I had a plan it was nice to have something to work towards. I really feel holding the exhibition has helped me with my confidence as a person, a photographer and in my confidence in my work that it is of a standard that deserves a place in a gallery. I have gained knowledge of how to hold an exhibition and what goes into an opening night, and I have gained experience in something I had no knowledge about before I started my professional experience.