Capturing an image or “making” a photograph is the first, crucial step and the photographer’s reason for being. His or her trained eye and instinct are the key. The post processing and printing produce the final product which its author can sit back and - if he or she is lucky - admire with some satisfaction as a good piece of work.
But this is only half of the story. The production of a photographic image is only part of the process of artistic creation. As with all forms of art, from painting to music, the work is finished only when someone looks at or listens to and completes the work through a personal and unique re-creative reaction to it. Often these individual, equally valid re-creations are far from anything that the photographer, artist or composer originally envisaged.
We cannot stay in our studios, engaged in a navel-gazing admiration of our own work. It has to be taken out to where it can be seen by the greatest number of people. The best way to do this is, to my mind, through exhibitions. However, this is a risky business, especially when we are dealing with personal projects close to our hearts. Exhibitions can be exciting, uplifting - but also lacerating - for the photographer concerned and you have to be ready to run the gamut of these emotions and to learn from the experience.
I find that Exhibitions have two distinct articulations, the vernissage and the longer period when they are open to the general public. During the vernissage those present - usually in a fairly dense, eating, drinking and chattering crowd - are generally more artistically and culturally aware. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to judge what they really think of what they are seeing, especially as they can easily identify you as the exhibiting photographer. In the days that follow, when members of the general public wander in - sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes simply to get out of the rain - you can mingle with them anonymously and hear their unvarnished truth. Personally, I have learned more this way than any other and have sometimes been astonished to discover aspects which I had never seen in one of my images by overhearing someone commenting on it to a friend.
I have listed below the Exhibitions which I have put on or participated in recently. One of these was created in collaboration with both a sculptor and a multi media artist. Another was a combination of photography and sculpture only, but combined with two short concerts during the opening evening. I prefer such an approach to a “monocultural,” purely photographic exhibition. As long as the works of the artist, sculptor, musicians and photographer share a vision or sensitivity, they complement each other and reinforce their individual impacts. This way of exhibiting also helps to break down the artificial barriers between the different forms of artistic expression and by so doing, opens minds.
For example, we often heard people saying something like “…I don’t normally go to photographic exhibitions, I am more into sculpture, but it is interesting to see…”
Currently the sculptor, the multi media artist and I are exploring the possibility of second exhibition in the Brussels area this Autumn.
- “Perspectives” : A personal exhibition in the Library of “Le Cercle des Voyageurs” in Brussels in March and April, 2014
- “When Photography Meets Sculpture” : A joint exhibition with the Belgian sculptor, Willy Cops in the Castello Di Foglia, North of Rome, in July, 2013
- “Three Roads to Expression” : A joint exhibition with the Italian multi media artist, Florence Silvestri and the Belgian sculptor, Willy Cops in November, 2012 in the artist’s atelier in Brussels
- “Omaggio della Fotografia alle Famiglie Emiliane Vittime del Sisma”: A charity exhibition in Rome in February and March, 2013 of works submitted by international Photographers and chosen by a selection jury. The Exhibition included an auction sale by Sotheby’s of the works on show, the proceeds of which went to earthquake victims in the Emilia Region of Italy. (My print selected for this exhibition was also recognised in June, 2013 by the United Kingdom's Societies Representing Professional Image Makers with a Gold Award in the Monochrome Category).