Anatomy of a Photography Show, Part 4 – Putting It Together

4th installment in a 4-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…

Putting It All Together

You’ve got your photos selected. Check.
Print lab chosen. Check
Print materials and images matched up. Check and check.

Now you just wait for it all to show up and away you go, right? Ummmmm… not quite.

My show included this group of images, which range in size from 6′ across to 30″ across. It’s not huge: only 13 prints:

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Anatomy of a Photography Show, Part 3 – The Selections

3rd installment in a 4-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…

Photo Selections… The Mannequins

So, in yesterday’s post I mentioned that the owner of  Coffeebar had some pretty clear ideas about this photo show of mine. He didn’t want to have final say about ALL of the images… but did point to a few in particular that he liked. There were the mannequins… which I’d taken some years ago, just a bit of whimsy that amused me:

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Anatomy of a Photography Show, Part 2 – Vulnerability

2nd installment in a 4-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…

Sharing – and Vulnerability

As artists – and as entrepreneurs – we have to put our work out there. HAVE to. There are many, many ways to do this… and for me this month, doing my first-ever official photography show is part of the equation. Will I like it? Hate it? Will it be effective? Will I want to do it again? All things for me to discover. But in order TO discover anything, you have to set both feet in and embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly. For me, that also means sharing the experience. 😉

Aside from all the STUFF you have to do, there is one really important aspect that we must never forget. What we are doing here is sharing our art… sharing ourself. We’re putting it all out there; heart, soul, vision, love. We’re being vulnerable. Being authentic. It’s necessary – and for me, the occasional discomfort that goes along with really showing up is all part of it. If it makes me squirm, well, so be it. Because I’m not willing to stay small and safe in the hard candy shell of pretend-safety. If there were ever a time in our world to shine a light – this is it! However you can do it, with whatever part of you that can truly show up authentically and do that – you have to do it.

For this reason – and for this aspect of what putting on a show means – I’m sharing an incredible TED Talk from Brené Brown about this very thing. It might just change your life!


Lesson: Being vulnerable can be a superpower. In art… that’s necessary on SO many levels!


Tomorrow: Part 3

Selections? Print lab? Sizes? How many? Presentation? Ack! These are just a few of the issues you have to solve when putting on a show . Tomorrow, I’ll show you how I went about it. It might just give you some ideas for a show of your own!



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

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My First Photography Show!

Photography on a Wall

I have a thing about photographic prints.
Maybe it’s the ‘old school’ in me… after all, 30 years ago I couldn’t get enough of developing my own work in a darkroom.
Maybe it’s how I learned to think about photography by studying original Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Paul Strand and Paul Caponigro prints. That’s another story for another time.

Mind you, I don’t compare myself to ANY of those masters! But I did learn from them and will be forever grateful for that.
What they whetted my appetite for all those years ago, was seeing my work on a wall. Big. Not crazy huge, just big.

A Crazy Gallery That Floats Around in My Head

So here’s one of my mental movies. In my mind’s eye I can see this gallery of my work. No clue if it’s a permanent setup or a “one week only” sort of thing. It just floats around there inside my head, looking cool and having a wonderful effect on the people who visit it. They feel better, get new ideas, feel inspired by visiting. I love that! The question is: is it a fun mental movie – or a dream that needs fulfillment? Even I’m not sure! But it entertains me with its ever-presence and good energy.

Now, there’s this cool, hip little coffee joint here in Truckee called “Coffeebar“. They serve super fantastic coffee and from what my younger friends tell me, its’ the “hippest hangout in North Lake Tahoe”. They also have a revolving art show on the walls. That’s the vision of owner Greg Buchheister... super cool coffee joint, art and inspiration, everyone welcome. I like it! He opened one recently in Reno too… built that one from the ground up to fully represent his artistic vision.

I’ll admit it, I almost turned down the invitation. Another art show in a coffee shop?  Puh-leeeze. But then I thought… well heck – what a great opportunity to try this whole crazy idea of mine out, and see if I even like doing it. Doing something like this locally can be fun… and it can give you a chance to dip a toe in the water without freaking yourself out – and without breaking the bank.

What’s Involved In Doing An Art Show?

I wondered that myself – and thought I’d share what I’m learning for those of you who might be considering doing such a thing yourself.
One thing I did know: you have to pay for everything yourself. Prints, takeaways, business cards… whatever you’re going to include, that’s your expense. People have warned me against doing this sort of thing because, they say, you always lose money. I guess I’ll let you know how that part goes… but I do have one theory: don’t invest more than you can lose. Then… don’t lose. 😀

Greg’s vibe at Coffeebar is urban. He doesn’t want to have locally made images on the wall… he wants people to dream outside of the area. I think that’s an interesting idea! Up here, to say that there is a plethora of Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake, Sierra Nevada Mountain images… along with bears, coyote, pine tree and mountain paraphernalia for the home is gross understatement! But edgy, artsy, “where did THAT come from” images are much fewer. Where better to see that stuff than under the influence of a hip community and caffeine?

So, while he loves my photography overall… he particularly liked some of my older, more offbeat pieces – along with a mixture of landscape (the edgier stuff… and nothing from around here), plus images from Europe and cities. So that’s what we’re doing in a show I’ve decided to call “Life is Light”!


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Of Geese and Goslings

Me Loves Our Geese

You have no idea how much I love the geese who live on our pond. It’s crazy! Every year the same core group come back in the spring, no matter the weather, nor how freezing it is… no matter what.

Every year, I eagerly wait to see if any babies arrive. They don’t always – it must be part of nature’s checks and balances. Three years ago, a pair had 4 adorable little ones… I was in love! Then, I went away for a few days in May – we had a cold snap, a snowstorm, sub-freezing temps. (It’s been known to snow on 4th of July on rare occasions around here!). I came back and… no more babies. I was crushed. Morose for weeks. Even the geese seemed depressed for quite awhile after that.

The next year – nothing. Sigh.
Last year – one precious baby. We named him/her Junior (how creative!) – and I documented his/her growth into adulthood.  He/she grew up with a entire flock of aunties and uncles watching out for him/her and eventually the whole gang flew away for the winter.

This year they’re back and… its Gosling-palooza out on the pond!! A veritable nursery out there. A dozen new babies… one family of 5, one of 6 – and a pair with just a single gosling to call their own.
OMG, they make me nuts… this is just one example why:

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Interpret the Sky, Move Your Feet

Inspiration in the Sky

When conditions aren’t inviting me to venture out for some inspired shooting… I just wait for the sky.

Without snow this winter in the mountains where I live, the dry, lackluster terrain just isn’t all that awesome to photograph all by itself. At least it isn’t for my taste. Maybe I’ve gotten picky from living here so long. But whatever the reason, I haven’t been so excited to get out and find new shades-of-brown vistas.

But when the clouds conspire to thrill and delight, all bets are off!

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Feel It. Now.

The Moment of Shift

I have a photographer friend (thank you for letting me name names, Michael Bonocore!) who’s apartment hunting in a REALLY tight housing area and market. He has a specific idea of what he wants, is super busy with limited time to hunt and is finding the whole search really stressful. Just today, he missed the perfect place by mere moments. “GAH!” I said… “But breathe. The perfect place will appear right when you let go and least expect it.”

That’s what this image reminds me of… that moment where you take release on the inside and suddenly everything shifts.

Cairn Reflecting
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Shoot While You Can!!

This image looks so calm and serene, doesn’t it? Well I shot it at Donner Lake, California, which is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains – and it WAS serene – at that moment. And that’s my very short and pithy point today… if you go out seeking sunset on a sketchy weather day, shoot while you can! Especially if you’re ever in the mountains or anywhere that weather conditions are in “quick change mode”.

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Perfectionism, Art and Life

Perfectionism and Rejection

Wow, I just named this post in a way loftier manner than perhaps this photo warrants. Then again, it helps make my point. Which is…

“Perfectionism” is a slippery slope when it comes to both Art… and Life.
Dictionary dot come defines perfectionism this way: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

My perfectionism rejected this photo for about 6 months.
It’s also rejected any number of impulses, ideas, experiences, personal self worth more times than I can count.
Good thing I’ve got longevity in my family! I’m quite determined to outlive and give the ultimate boot to the demon Perfectionism!

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Graffiti Art and The Transcontinental Railroad

There are abandoned train tunnels in Truckee. You used to be able to drive through them, but they got tired of towing folks outta there that didn’t belong there in the first place, so now you can only walk. Or ride a bike. But it’s really, really cool. If you’re by yourself, it’s kinda spooky… some folks say it’s haunted. I do know it’s part of the first transcontinental railroad, and this section was known originally as the “Pacific Railroad” and later as the “Overland Route”. It was the first railroad to connect the Pacific Coast to San Francisco – then join up with the rest of the already-built railroad system that ended in Utah.
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