Patience and Perseverance

"Break of Day" © Sue Henry

“Break of Day” …on exhibit at Paducah Photo; June 22 – August 3, 2013
© Sue Henry

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

9 thoughts on “Patience and Perseverance

  1. davidmorelphoto

    Reblogged this on david morel photo and commented:
    Sue Henry hits the nail on the head in regards to pursuing juried exhibits with out artwork. There are a lot of negatives for sure, but the positives when you are accepted for a sought after show sure is nice!

    1. f4studionashville

      YUP! It can really get expensive, can’t it! My photography teach told me she once just donated her images to the gallery following an exhibit; it was cheaper than paying postage to have them returned!

  2. Phil Miller

    As a newbie with a faint heart, I admire the courage and talent of those who exhibit in a competitive situation. As a fan, I also appreciate the advice to avoid “vote for me” contests and “buy the book” exhibits. I can scarcely imagine the effort it takes to pull together items for a juried exhibit, but this article increases my admiration for those who understand such things.

    1. f4studionashville

      Phil, the first exhibit I entered – back in Paducah several years ago – the person who received my entries said, “Sue, have you ever entered a photography contest before? (While she didn’t roll her eyes, she might as well have.) Well…the judges MIGHT like this one; it’s in black and white.” I’ve learned a great deal since then. 🙂

  3. George Johnson

    I would dare say there may be a large percentage of photographers like me, very intimidated at the whole process. Thank you Sue for addressing an issue that is often overlooked and avoided in the photographic community!

    1. f4studionashville

      George, in my photography class at Paducah School of Art, Alison required us to enter a couple of juried exhibits. It’s good experience to go through the process.

      There is one exhibit I entered that allowed everyone who entered an opportunity to see ALL of the entries and compare them with the images selected. Now THAT was a GREAT experience. I could see – and understand – why I wasn’t selected for that particular exhibit. A great learning tool.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.


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