Much discussion has recently been taking place among the women of f/4 studio regarding entering and having work accepted into juried exhibits. However, first of all we need to be honest about WHY we enter work into juried exhibits.
Speaking from personal experience, I have several reasons why I wish to exhibit. For me, a primary reason is the personal challenge and intrinsic reward in having work accepted. When one has work included into an exhibit that has been curated by an experienced and qualified individual, a certain level of value and appreciation for one’s work is perceived. That in its self is gratifying.
Acceptance into juried exhibits fosters and develops a greater audience for one’s work. Over time, an artist’s reputation can be established, as our artist CVs will attest. Often it is during an exhibit that relationships are formed – new friendships. camaraderie among artists, as well as business relationships . Collectors frequently acquire new work during an exhibit for their homes or businesses, thus leading to sales of work.
Most all photographers will readily attest that entering work for exhibit is not for the faint of heart. Finding qualified, reputable exhibits is only the first feat. Identifying what to enter can be a painfully challenging task. There are costs involved in answering a call for entry, both with the submission process as well as with the process of printing, framing, and shipping of the work that is accepted. One mentor of mine suggested that an artist have a yearly budget for entering exhibits…a valuable suggestion.
It is wise to carefully study the call for entries, paying close attention to details, and thoughtfully asking one’s self several questions: 1) Does my work ‘fit’ the call? 2) Who are the judges? 3) What are the instructions for submitting? 3) Can I meet the deadlines? I personally avoid ‘vote for me’ contests, most on-line contests and exhibits, contests that encourage the artist to ‘buy the book,’ and ALL contests that won’t guarantee that I retain all copyrights for my images.
However, the hard part comes after answering the questions, deciding to answer the call for entries, and making the entries for submission.
One must have patience and perseverance when entering the world of exhibiting. We ALL receive rejection letters. And when we get that congratulatory letter that our work has been accepted…gosh it feels good!
Patience and perseverance DOES pay off!
Submitted by Sue Henry