I’m sitting at Sydney airport on my way back from a photographic exhibition of some pictures I shot for the South Africa tourism authority which flew me down for the launch.
The exhibition was held at The Black Eye Gallery in the seriously cute art precinct of Darlinghurst.
It showed the work of five Australian photographers – all of us sent on a 10 day assignment to South Africa in May to shoot the landscape, its people and, of course, the wildlife. The best of the images were to be placed on display and auctioned off to raise money for the Nelson Mandela charity, Afrikan Tikkun which helps orphaned children (did you realise an estimated two million children have been orphaned in Africa by AIDS!).
It was an interesting experience (my second exhibition in three weeks), with the results of the “silent” auction (done cleverly through an app which allowed you to see the highest bid before deciding if you want to enter the fray). Bidding closes in three days so I’ll have a sense then of what people are prepared to pay for my photographs through this vehicle and whether it might be worth pursuing (I did have a peek. One of my photographs has an offer for double the reserve price and four others have received bids beyond the reserve).
So, what have I learned about exhibition photography you may ask? Well, it’s certainly awkward standing in a room with people around you critiquing your work …..and what a relief it is when someone actually bids/buys a photo (15 of the 32 prints exhibited were mine so I guess the chances of it happening were higher). Apart from that, you need to be prepared to sell yourself as part of the picture if you want to make a sale and you need to ensure the quality of the prints reflect your own professional standards (in this case, thankfully – as everything was done remotely – they did). And one final point: This exhibition was part promotion of South Africa, part raising money for charity and part displaying the work of photographers. If I was to do my own exhibition (and pay for it myself I might add), I would be careful to ensure all the pictures I hung had the best chance of sitting in someone’s home by connecting emotionally with the viewer – as did, it appears, these two pictures (below) which are shaping up to be the most popular in the exhibition.