Anatomy of a Photography Show, Part 1 – The Concept
1st installment in a 3-part series of “Living Your Dreams… Lessons Shared”, featuring much of what I learned and experienced whilst putting on my first photography show in Truckee, California…
Ever Wonder What It Takes To Do An Photography Show?
I sure did!
I’ll admit it – nothing makes me purr like the vision of my work on wall. Seeing, feeling, experiencing my soul’s vision taking physical form as a show is a dream. Of course, in said dream, the show is big… so are the prints. Gallery? Maybe. From my vision, I can’t tell what the venue is. My dream currently seems to include only the look of the thing – and the impact it has. It makes me smile really big whenever I visit it.
But while my work has been featured in a show, I’ve never done an official one of my own. Would I like it, I wondered? Would it be fun, or a big pain in the ass?
I might want to find out before fully committing to the BIG picture, y’know?
Enter Coffeebar Truckee
Coffeebar: Where Art, Java and Music Meet!
Here in Truckee, Coffeebar is known all around the North Lake Tahoe region as a super hip place where art, java and music all meet. Their coffee is organic, completely fair trade and ABFAB! Every time I’m there, it’s just full of people visiting with each other, working on their laptops, eating, java-cizing, reading… a real meeting place for the like-minded. They have music on Thursday nights, wine tastings, events and are generally one hot bed of cultural/community activity!
They also have an ongoing art show on the walls; it changes monthly.
One day last April, the manager asked if I’d like to do one.
“Whuuuut??” I thought. I was surprised by the notion to the point of being startled. I had to think about this. A coffee shop show? I’m a little embarrassed to admit that never really imagined my work on the walls of a coffeeshop. But I needed to find out if I liked the process, fer godssake! So I said “Yes!” And decided to put on a show the way I wanted to do it… kind of like a mini dress rehearsal for the big one. If I liked the little one, that is. 😉
I mean really: if you don’t say YES to clearly aligned opportunities that fall into your lap… how will the breadcrumb trail of even more opportunities lead to your dreams? I think you sort of have to prove your intention to God and the Universe sometimes.
I’m embarrassed that it took a day to think that through! But hey, live and learn, baby!
Once I agreed to the show… I requested July as my month. Lake Tahoe is one of the top vacation destinations in the U.S…. and 4th of July is our biggest holiday all year! July and August are huge months for tourism here. Foot traffic would never be better! Plus I’d be done traveling and could focus my full attention on creating some Awesome. 😀
That settled, the next decision was what kind of images. Greg Buchheister, the owner… was OK with a few landscape-y images, but wanted NOTHING of Lake Tahoe. That surprised me! But I understood his point: everyone and their distant relatives have that going on. You can’t go to any establishment around the Tahoe region without seeing yet another piece of art and photography depicting the area.
Greg’s approach: anything but Tahoe! He particularly liked shots of Italy, my mannequins (that surprised me!)… and urbanesque kinds of scenes. So I set out to create a blend of visuals to align with the Coffeebar culture.
Lesson: When putting on a show, choose pieces that appeal your audience and their unique culture!
Tomorrow: Part 2
Vulnerability. Does the thought of it make you shake in your boots? Well guess what… it’s not only necessary… it might just give your art, show, life – wings.