Thanks, captain obvious – but it‘s actually true that the starting point for every exhibition is a coherent series of images. So grab your camera, move your ass and produce some sweet pictures. Already while taking them you have to keep in mind that they should somehow fit together. Thus, think in advance of a running theme or what kind of atmosphere, message or whatever you‘d like to convey.
Once you‘ve captured all your images you have to select the most outstanding ones as you probably won‘t produce 150 prints (except you find an immense space and rob a bank). To be honest, this was by far the hardest part for me. For the sake of the running theme and the visual harmony you might have to leave out some of your favourites – which can be heart-breaking. Extremely helpful during this stage was to do the selection in several rounds. I printed the images off and put them next to each other see how they chime together. Apart from that, I asked many people for their opinion and so I managed to reduce the initial 5000 pictures to 19 final ones after two weeks.
After having your photo-series ready, it‘s time to find a venue where you can present your work. Maybe you know somebody who runs a cafe or is a doctor who lets you hang up your images for free. Apart from being gratis, those places are visited frequently by all kinds of people and so it‘s likely that people see your work who might not go to a designated art space (which are of course great places as well).
In my case, a bank in my home town created some new exhibition spaces for local artists. Since I already took some photos for them before, they asked me if I had a series that I wanted to present – I was very lucky indeed. However, essential for this step is to keep your ears open and to ask all your friends and relatives. Trust me, someone always knows somebody if you’re dedicated enough.
Now you eventually know where magic will happen – that’s great! The next thing you do is going to your exhibition space and checking where you‘ll put which image and how big they will be. It‘s quite handy to make a detailed plan including all your works and the corresponding measurements.
Moreover, you also have to think of how you‘re going to produce the images. Depending on your budgets and the formats there are numerous possibilities. From fancy alu-dibond prints to classic wooden frames – decide what you can afford and what suits your pictures best. Since I didn‘t want a frame around my images I decided to print them on UV-paper by WhiteWall and mounted them on polystyrene-panels. The advantages thereby were the cheap production costs as well as the light weight and the high quality of the prints.
Don‘t give up, you‘re almost there! Once your physical pieces are ready, force some friends to help you putting the images up. Believe me, you won‘t be able to do it alone – ten heads are better than one. It‘s way faster and easier and in the best case it‘s even fun. After the job is done, double and triple check every image and also don‘t forget to promote your exhibition early enough.
Despite advertising it on Facebook and Instagram, I made some brochures and posters which I spread around the town where the exhibition took place. Also don‘t underestimate the power of the word-of-mouth. So go and tell all your acquaintances about your fantastic exhibition.
Congratulation, you are now a proud host of a photo exhibition. Now you can lean back and enjoy the show. Invite the friends who helped you for some drinks and toast to your success. It‘s an awesome feeling to see your work printed that big hanging on a public wall and is without doubt a reason to celebrate. In case you have a vernissage with free food, bear in mind to invite me – I‘m always in for free food (and watching photos, of course)
Anna Faist _ travel companion, text
Eva Pöttler _ selection, maintenance
My Family _ production
Sparkasse Pöllau _ venue
Katharina Saurer _ installation
Carolin Rogger _ installation
Anna Roschker _ installation