Large format photo exhibition, October 2022

Blog - Why I Exhibit

As part of my upcoming exhibition, I thought it might be a good time to discuss the idea of exhibiting and why I consider it to be an important part of the creative process. I have included images from several of the exhibits I have participated in over the years.

Monochrome| Monograph exhibition with friend and fellow photographer, Julian Ferreira. Carbon prints from my Croatia Collection.

Landscape photography is a solitary pursuit for me. I have never joined photo clubs and have only rarely gone out with other photographers to shoot. I find that when I am on my own, I can more easily get into my photo “zone” and when I am there it is something of a spiritual experience which I find quite fulfilling. That said, I enjoy sharing my images once they have been captured and there are several ways I do this. I share via social media, EZines, printed collections and exhibitions. Of these sharing platforms I find exhibiting to be appealing for the following reasons:

  1. Respect: Exhibiting forces me to show respect for my images – the locations and subject matter they capture – as a body of work. A single strong image may hold your attention but when you have multiple images that adhere to a consistent theme, the artist’s vision is intensified. A body of work always has more impact than a single image. Exhibiting also allows me to share my unique visual perspective. The elements of a good photograph already exist within any given scene and it is up to the photographer’s vision and sense of composition to isolate the components within that scene to create a strong visual image. I’ve spent decades perfecting my vision. I am not there yet, but I can pull a good image from what I am looking at pretty consistently. There is also something special about seeing your imagery printed on a beautiful paper and then mounted, matted and presented in a way that shows respect for the artwork. It is a ton of work but so worthwhile.
  2. Inspiration Exhibiting alongside other photographers can inspire creativity. I love looking at the work of other accomplished photographers. I have recently joined a group of mature photographers called the "Lumian Collective" and will be showing regularly with this group. Seeing their different approaches and techniques sparks my own creativity and approaches to my own photography.

    Solo exhibitions at FourbyFive Gallery of Photography.
  3. Impact Lets face it. All artists are driven to have their work accepted. It is gratifying to have someone look at your work and offer validation by saying; “That piece is beautiful. I’d like to purchase it for my home”. Ultimately, I shoot for myself but am honored when someone connects with my vision and lets me know it. Exhibiting puts my work before a broader audience and allows this to happen more frequently.
  4. Community Exhibiting is a great way to network and grow your audience. I am in this business to fulfill my personal vision and perspective, but I also want to sell my work. It’s a matter of numbers and the more people who see my images, the more chance there is of someone wanting to purchase a piece to hang in their home.
  5. Prints rock! The final, and maybe most important point in this post is that exhibiting forces you to print your images. I consider printing my images to be a critical step in the photographic process. When you do so, you get fresh appreciation of how they rock. Creating imagery in physical form ensures display options beyond digital. It allows photographers to view their images in non-digital ways (think of a beautiful hotel lobby), which I think is an essential part of the creative process.

     Large scale (30x40") photos from my early days using 4x5 film.

Ultimately, the reason for exhibiting photography varies from artist to artist. It tends to be driven by their individual motivations, goals, and passion for the art form. I am driven to create… but I also want to see my work printed and to show it in its best possible form to a receptive audience, one I can even meet face-to-face. Exhibitions allow me to achieve this. Most of the other factors are coincidental.

Work print and finished large format image. Print by Royce Howland Studios.
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1 comment

I’ve always loved your work Steve!
& your past design efforts for me & my brands! Thanks Bud!

Russ Pahl

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