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  • Writer's pictureHelen Highet

Exhibition Time

This was my second year showing in the London Photo Show. This year we were in the Bargehouse Gallery behind the OXO tower on the Southbank and it is a much bigger venue. There are high ceilings, lots of pillars and exposed brick wall.

There are seven-ish stages of exhibition anxiety:

1.Having a vague idea of what you will pick but feel strangely calm and confident

2. Start looking at work, change mind several times and get confused about what to pick

3. Loss of confidence - after a while nothing looks right and there is a strong impulse to rush out and start taking new pictures.

4. Whittle down possibilities leading to an inability to decide between a and b. Start thinking how your images will hold up against others/ are they good enough/ am I on brand?

5. Discover how high print costs are and panic. Then make compromises on size and print type. Worry you have left it too late.

6. Pictures arrive and they look lovely. Phew. Brief elation.

7. Worry if people will like them, will anyone buy anything. How do you get from "They are so beautiful" to cold hard cash?

Last year I had no experience and no idea what I was doing. I was more worried about my colours being out of gamut and the they be printed on giclee to maximise colour validity. I didn't think about how to protect a giclee if it is on foam core and I played very safe with the images.

This year I was less worried about printing materials and colour and more worried about finding striking images which would attract attention in the gallery. After all, there is a lot of competition for attention and I wanted images to intrigue sufficiently that the viewer will come closer, see the rest and be interested enough to take a card/ look at the website and if all fingers and toes are thoroughly crossed, spend.

So I went big and I went bold.

I couldn't decide on colour or black and white - so I have gone for both.

I wanted to focus on the impressionistic images of flowers. I have been experimenting all year and I really love these images. I had assumed that I would have a whole set of dreamy flowers, but after much deliberation picked just three. All are images of tulips, taken indoors in natural light. No post processing other than cropping. The dreaminess is created by camera movement.




For my other three images I went noir.

The first image, big, bold and eye-catching is a black and white image of a man painting with fire. This is a long exposure, at night, near the Thames. There is a lovely, ghostly image of the man hidden within the flames.

Come on baby, light my fire

The second image is equally arresting. This is a hand held image taken at night of a young woman standing in a laser light stream. I have converted it from colour to black and white and in doing so we now have a ghostly presence stepping out of the light.

Step into the Light

The third image is that of a leaf. There is a small beam of sunlight hitting the leaf which turns it from being a nice picture of a leaf to something special.

In the spotlight

I hope I have made the right choices.... time will tell.

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