Sunday, 14 October 2012

We were here

The twenty-fourth hour of the day has nearly passed and I still can't believe it happened. But I have to, for it did happen, my first photo exhibition. Many have in the past months and years, encouraged me to go one step further and show my work to the public, and not only confine myself to the limits of the Internet and Facebook. Only when Nicolas and I a year ago, went to the photo shop to get prints of a selection of phototographs I wanted to offer to his godson, did it strike me that indeed, the picture would only come alive if blown up and deserved an exhibition. I was moved to see them come to life in print. Many friends came to support this endeavour of mine. Some I didn't even expect to see. As often in this situation, I sailed through the whole day like in a dream. If I was to be told that it didn't happen, I would believe it.
It was my friend Adrian who set the whole thing in motion. Adrian? A young student in cinema from Sydney, whom I befriended on Facebook a few months ago. He quickly became a little brother to me, and the relationship grew that way whenwhen he came to stay at my place during the past couple of months. He seemed to enjoy being there, having me and Ryan as bigger brothers. He lost his mother aged only nine, then was sent to a boarding school in England a few years later.
What I enjoyed in his company was his impulsive and enthusiastic (sometime erratic) nature. He suggested the idea of a double exhibition and I accpeted immediately, in spite of the many projects I was handling at the same time. Finding a venue wasn't difficult; Adrian had some contacts so we had our photos printed for next to nothing!

Thirty pictures each. Adrian's were to be in colour, and mine in black and white (what else?). It was a difficult task to select those thirty pictures among the thousands that I had taken all these years. I recalled Gilles' advice: not to make a 'best of'. I opted for those showing odd details in the urban landscapes: Paris, New York, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Calcuta and named the exhibition We were here.
Since Adrian and I never got to establish solid roots, travels helped us find a sense of ourselves.

Then came the big challenge of creating something interesting with a limited space. I had big ideas in my head but they could not possibly see the light this time. The venue wasn't very large. One big wall we had to share, then portions of walls here and there.
"You should maybe put most of the pictures together to make a stronger impact, otherwise they would look like decoration" my friend James told me. He was one of the few friends I knew I could trust for his taste and his sense of esthetics.
Because of the lack of time and lack of finance, I decided it was a better idea to print the photos on foam boards. 
"How much do you think I should price them in case anybody would ask?" I asked James
"I don't think you should sell them. It's foam board... It's a cheap material... You should see this as publicity."
"I know. But then it's like saying that a sketch by a painter isn't worth anything because it's done on a piece of paper." I snapped back.
"You cannot compare yourself to them. You didn't give any thought about the way the pictures were to presented. You cannot expect people to buy that." he replied. I felt hurt.
"What you say is so snobbish and contemptuous, James!"
His words reminded me of the time I started writing songs and played them to people - friends or artistic directors at record labels. They usually would focus on the unfinished state of the demos and voice disregarding criticisms instead of seeing the potential and helping me achieve it.
Fine... James graduated from a design school in the Netherlands. And he loves fashion. So unless one is respected or is the new talk of the town, respect doesn't come easily... And then maybe James was unconsciously putting me down because I dared venture in artistic fields which were not mine. But then, why should I feel bad for enjoying myself? I let the thought stew for a while then pushed it away. It was supposed to be a good day and I did not intend to keep myself in such a crappy mood.

However I was happy to see the pictures in print. Of course, James was right. I wish for a larger exhibition in a bigger venue, with more means. This was only a try out. I nevertheless felt elated.

Add caption

No comments:

Post a Comment