Living in Melbourn, I have become fairly well known for documenting the Village Events, such as the Village Fete, Open Gardens, Amateur Dramatics, Chain Of Wild Flowers, the Hub building construction itself, plus many others. When the Hub started I produced large Canvas Prints for the bare walls, and these have been featured for some time. The management then embarked on a programme of exhibitions of artwork from the local community, so I thought I would put my name forward. So, in February I gathered up around 40 framed prints and foamboard panels to hang there for a month. I have a modest gallery of prints at home, so started with those and added a selection from my library of images, sourcing frames, hanging systems and getting prints produced. Took a good deal of time but the results I liked, and the Exhibition was well liked. Because of the location I selected a wide range of subjects, rather than focussing one one particular genre, as I might have done for a Gallery per se.
Following on the Exhibition, I was asked to give a presentation on the process to a photography group at the U3A, which I completed recently. As the preparation of this was a big learning curve, in terms getting work chosen, printed and framed it was thought a written guide would be useful. So to selecting the work, I considered the venue, our Community Hub, which is used a lot by people in the village, for chatting, visiting the Library, Group meetings, having lunch, reading the papers, with people of all ages going in. That led me to think that a strictly themed exhibition would not be appropriate, needing to appeal, and provide a backdrop for the general activities. If If it was a dedicated gallery space, a theme would be essential, to give cohesion, not my non linear approach here.
The main selection was governed to some extent by framed prints I already had, gallery mounted work for the Camera Club competitions, and new work I wanted to feature. I had around 12 metres of wall space, governed by the need to provide access to tables and library shelving, and a fixed picture rail for hanging.
After research I plumped for a the STAS system, using adjustable sliding hooks on clear Perlon Cord. . plus Smartspring. Whole range of different ideas from this supplier. This system enabled me to adjust the heights of each frame, and I thought that would be better than using picture cord, which for a smaller number of frames may be better.
So, the ideas formed, and then it came to choosing new work to be printed, I use a reliable commercial printer, who have Fuji general papers,plus the more specialist textured papersto give a Fine Art look, which certainly adds something to a lot of images. That does lead me onto the question of framing, if the print is behind glass a lot of this detail is lost, and reflections can be an issue, see the pictures above. With hindsight I would have taken the glass from the frame, given frame and glass a label, and hung the frames without the glass, re-uniting them as required.
Frames, of which needed a fair quantity can soon add up to a lot of money, so I searched for cheaper items, selecting in the main black, as it suits most subjects. Sources of frames were one, two but I have seen another source. This may be the best place to go, and of course there are many other options. Prints have come and need mounting, luckily some of the frames have an aperture mount already provided, but some needed an aperture mount . For larger quantities, and also for selling mounted prints , these are a good solution, with backing boards and clear bags provided. For camera club people note they do not do a 50 x 40 mount
To display a large quantity of new work I devised a system using A1 Foamboard as a base for placing montages of work, actually something fun to work on. I used various sizes of small prints, with labels, as for the frames, printed on photo paper, giving a neat look. I decided not to use adhesive spray, as it can be a messy business, but used Photo Mounts , acid free for archival use, and convenient. The prints were placed onto smaller foamboard pieces, and then using safe sharp knife, cut on the slant so the edge is angled inwards. A good cutting ruleand cutting matmade life a lot easier for this. These smaller assemblies then affixed to the A1 board, creating a montage inexpensively. To hang them I used picture cord tied onto eyelets mounted on the back.
Hanging the frames took more time than expected, a good spirit level is essential, and I since seen this devicewhich would have made life easier on alignment etc.
To launch the Exhibition I had an Open Evening, which was reasonably successful, again with hindsight I would have paid more attention to it's marketing, and this is where a Group Exhibition scores, with more people involved, with friends and families supporting. Venues could be galleries, Coffee Bars, Social Clubs, Public Houses, well worth brainstorming for the local area.
What did I gain ?
1 : A focus on my photography future, finding more challenges "moving forward".
2 : A lot of work discarded as no longer relevant, house clearance really.