Exhibition 2019 Mockups

I'm holding another exhibition later next year (Summer 2019), t

The last few weeks I've been working on the image selection for the forthcoming book, and we have now completed this, along with the text that is going along side the book. Currently I am awaiting Spanish translations as I feel that since this is a book about a region of South America, it should honour the landscape by also having a Spanish translation.

What I found last year about preparing my book, was that I really needed to print each image out to ensure they were optimal. When I did print them out, I noticed that some of them didn't have the 'sparkle' that they seemed to have on my monitor (even though my monitor is tightly calibrated). Some things needed to be pushed so that I was using the tonal range of the paper. It was a fascinating thing to do, as you can so often think the image is finished on the monitor, only to notice discrepancies in the tonal range once printed.

Once I had completed the printing of all the images that were to be contained within the book, I then replaced the original files with the optimal ones. So in essence, the images that were contained within my 'Colourchrome' book were the result of fine-tuning by print-review. Most important and I would urge you to do the same for any image you work on: print it out and evaluate it. Sit with it for a while and see how your impressions of it changes over days if not weeks. You'll be able to notice problems in the image that you weren't aware of on the monitor.

And so it comes to which images to prepare for an exhibition?

If you are considering doing an exhibition (I highly recommend it : everyone of all abilities should exhibit their work: it is the final stage in photography in my opinion), it's a good idea to go into the exhibition space and take measurements. My dear friend Alan Inglis suggested this to me when I was in the initial stages of looking for a location to exhibit. He came in with me and took measurements of the walls and also made some iPhone photos of the walls too (the images you see here).

Once we'd done that, I could set up mockups of the actual frames, all to scale of course, so I could experiment with a layout.

This is what you are seeing on this post today. I have chosen a selection of images and laid them out whilst trying to give them sufficient space, while at the same time maximising the number of images I can display (the more you show - the more value and interest to the viewer).

Last year's exhibition was terrific. I really enjoyed the experience: I got to meet so many people from past workshops and tours who came in to say hello. I also got to meet people that have had me on their radar for sometime, yet I was not aware of them. And the exchange in discussing your work is not to be underestimated.

Once I'd finished the exhibition, I was sitting around thinking 'now what?'. What do I do next? So I asked my favourite Photographer - Michael Kenna that, and he said:

"Hey Bruce,

You should have a show every year - include a few classics and show new work.
It will keep you on your toes. Sales may not increase - that remains to be seen.
But, it’s a good way to measure your own progress. Specific goals and deadlines always make us work a little harder."

Well, you heard the man. He knows a thing or two about exhibitions. So I chose to listen to what he has to say and decided I would do another one this year.

About the mockup's : that is exactly what they are. They have given me the opportunity to see what the final exhibition may look like, and I have been able to move and swap things around till I get the 'flow' right. What is most inspiring of all though, is that by visualising the final exhibition this way, it all just begins to take on a more 'real' aspect. You feel you are one step closer to your goal! I always try to use visual pictures to help me see where it is that I am wanting to go, whether it is mockups of exhibition spaces, mockups of books I want to produce, or even mockups of future workshops I hope to hold.


Post exhibition thoughts and impressions

I thought I would write today about my experiences and impressions from the little exhibition that I held this summer.

I hadn't really any goals for this exhibition except to have a space to show my work in printed form. So often we gauge others work by looking at it on websites and I think this is a real shame, as there is nothing quite like looking at a well printed image. Indeed, isn't this what all photographer should be doing - creating photographs? And by that, I mean the printed variety. Not some electronic, summarised, quantised 72 dots per inch low resolution representation.

Photographs deserve to be printed and they deserve to be exhibited. It is the final stage in one's own work.

Now that the exhibition is over, it seems that it was on for too short a time. I would have loved to have had a month to exhibit or maybe two months, but there simply isn't any way to do this without incurring major costs.

But what of the experience of exhibiting, and manning the gallery each day? Well, I had a great time. I can't deny it. I met so many lovely people during the two week period and heard so many encouraging and positive views about what I do. It is something I seldom hear about my own work during workshops because everyone is keen to learn, so the focus isn't on myself, but more on the teaching. So what I really got from this little exhibition was how much some people love what I do.

It also gave me a much more personal exchange. Rather than posting images on Flickr, or Facebook, or on my own blog, and seeing e-correspondence, instead I was able to get a better feel for my work by seeing how the viewers in the gallery responded.

It was also deeply satisfying to be able to present the work. I have made so many images over the past few years and I've never been able to print all of them. There is something special about seeing ones own work come to life, to become a real printed object,. Then there is something about matting it. It just makes the work look better, and if that wasn't enough, framing it really sets the images up another level. But I think the icing on the cake is to have them hung on the wall in a space. I got a lot of pleasure out of seeing all my images on display in one space.

I had so much support from friends and family. Many people stopped by each day to see how I was doing, and many also bought prints or copies of my book. Sometimes I knew it was because they liked the work but other times I also understood that they were doing it to support me. It was a very kind gesture by friends and it really said something to me that friends would want to try to help and support me in what I do.

Lastly, having an exhibition really puts purpose to my image making. Going out there is a lot of fun and creating the work is very satisfying, but there's something a little sad about it not being displayed anywhere. Photographs should be printed, and they should be shown. No matter who you are, or what stage you are with your photography, every keen photographer should exhibit. It's good for the soul, and not only does it give you focus to what you do, it is highly rewarding artistically, and also from an emotional support point of view. I had so much kind support from friends and people I've met along the way, that I think this was the biggest / nicest surprise of it all.

I am now making plans to exhibit again towards the end of 2018, for a longer duration. There will be another book to support the exhibition also. I will be keeping you posted in the coming months.

Exhibition last day (Wednesday 2nd)

My exhibition in Edinburgh has been fun. I've met loads of nice folks. Wednesday 2nd is my last day so please do come along. It would be nice to see you. I'm there from 12 to 4:30. I have copies of my books and will happily sign them  (or not - if that is your wish)  :-)

I've sold 13 prints so far - which is 13 more than I anticipated selling. Purely because I had no idea, no previous experiences to gauge from. I will be packing up the prints and putting them in boxes in the evening. Hopefully I may find another place to exhibit but if not, well, it's been a lot of fun.

Now that my little exhibition is coming to a close, I find myself looking towards the future. I was never really sure why I chose to do an exhibition, but this week I've realised I wanted to mark my 50th (I'm 50 in September).

It's important to put a marker in the ground sometimes. To take a moment to be in the present and to reflect on where you've come from and where you may be going. It has been officially 10 years since I began running workshops and tours - my first tour being in April 2007 in Torres del Paine national park in Chile. 

I'm wondering what's up ahead. I can't imagine it will be as surprising as the past 10 years have been but then I never imagined how good the past decade would be either. 

Photography is a journey. It's an open road with many twists and turns and just like life, you never know what wondrous surprises are in store.

My new 'art table', which will be installed in my home studio once I pack up the exhibition. Flowers were a kind gift to me from a dear client of mine from South Korea. Thanks very much Kidoo !

My new 'art table', which will be installed in my home studio once I pack up the exhibition. Flowers were a kind gift to me from a dear client of mine from South Korea. Thanks very much Kidoo !

Printing for my exhibition

I'm holding an exhibition of my photography in July 2017 here in Edinburgh. 

I know it seems like a long way off, but my calendar is pretty busy for most of the year with only a few weeks now and then at home. So over the past few weeks while I am here at home for the festive break I've been preparing the mats, frames and prints that will form part of the exhibition.

Prints and frames, December 2016 for upcoming exhibition.

Prints and frames, December 2016 for upcoming exhibition.

If you have never exhibited your work before, then I would urge you to consider doing so. It can be an enormously rewarding thing to do - just the preparation, selection of images and working out how best to display them can be hugely satisfying.

One thing that I have noticed over the past few weeks of printing, is that I have had to shake up the collection a little. It was so tempting to print all of my personal favourites, but I found after a few days that there was perhaps too much repetition of themes or perhaps colour palettes. My images from some areas of the world can be muted or almost monochromatic, while other areas such as Bolivia are very colourful. Mixing up the collection of prints to be displayed has become vital in ensuring that the viewer's experience doesn't become too one-dimensional.

Then there has been the issue of discovering that some images are lacking the presence I thought they had. Computer monitors can be extremely deceiving in letting you think the work is as optimised as it can be and even though my system is tightly calibrated and I have a very real sense of how the final print will look, viewing an image on a reflected surface (paper) compared to one that is transmitted (computer monitor), the experience may fall down. So I've found that there is an iteration of printing, evaluating the print or living with it for a few days and then finding I wish to perhaps push to upper tones a bit lighter to maximise the dynamic range of the paper I'm using.

Some printed contenders for the exhibition.

Some printed contenders for the exhibition.

I certainly feel that preparing the work well ahead of the event is crucial as it give me time to let the prints settle in, to notice errors or possible improvements. Plus, I think it's just sensible to be prepared in advance, so there is nothing that you've overlooked - such as frames not arriving in time, running out of ink and paper, or just finding out that the set of images you've chosen hasn't been as wise as you thought it might be.

Either way, it's a real delight to print your own work and to see a true hard copy. There is simply too much reliance these days on the images living in the electronic world of pixels. Photography should be printed and in my view, is never really complete until at least one image has been printed per image that you have finished.

Inspiration from Printing one's own work

I've just finished printing and mounting one of my prints for an order I received a few weeks ago. Here is the very picture - an 8" x 8" print of Cono de Arita in the Puna de Atacama of Argentina.

Cono de Arita, Puna de Atacama, print, framed.

Cono de Arita, Puna de Atacama, print, framed.

When preparing images for framing, you should always use acid free materials. To not do so, would render the print prone to future damage. As time goes on,  the acids in the gum or tape leak onto the back of the print and can cause discolouration.

Here in the UK, I get all my supplies from Silverprint.co.uk.

Once you have a mount with an aperture cut into it, you should also have an accompanying backing board. Both should be made of museum grade acid free materials.

The next stage is to create a hinge so that the front board hinges to the back board at the very top. I use Lineco gummed linen hinging tape, which is acid free and extremely strong. You can get it here.

Once I have both front aperture board and backing board hinged, I then need to attach the print to the backing board. First I position the print on the backing board and move it around until it's centred in the front aperture window of the front mount board. Once I have that. Then, I attach two strips of acid free paper tape to the print in vertical orientation with the gum side up and attached to the back of the print. The vertical strips are going to form the vertical part of a 'T' shape with two horizontal strips attached to the top of each vertical strip. The reason for creating a 'T' shape is to allow the print to expand and contract with temperature changes and still be completely flat on the backing board. If you just attach the print to the backing board with one horizontal strip, you will find that the print will contract and expand at a different rate to the backing board as temperatures change in the room and the print will never be entirely flat as a result.

Image © www.reframingphotography.com

Image © www.reframingphotography.com

For the inscription on the front of the print, it's best to use a pigment ink liner pen, or pencil. Either of these will not fade, whereas a standard ink pen will easily begin to fade after just a few years being subjected to daylight.

And that's it.

It's been a while since I prepared a print for a customer. Truth is: very few people actually buy prints and I think that even fewer photographers buy anyone else's work at all  (but perhaps that's a subject for another post sometime in the future).  

I've always thought that the ultimate journey with my photography has been to have the images in print form. Making this print has been enormously satisfying for me. It has allowed me to reconsider setting up an exhibition.  I'm currently working on a 3rd hard-back book to be released sometime either next year or in 2018..... some projects are never finished and I'm finding that the Atacama regions of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina seem to be an exhaustive area for me to make photographs in.

Maybe when I get round to releasing the 3rd book, I can coincide it with an exhibition of my work over the past few years. Who knows, but one thing is for sure - printing my own images is a hugely rewarding exercise and it has given me inspiration to think about a possible exhibition sometime in the future.

For more information about mounting, this is a good page to visit: http://www.reframingphotography.com/content/mounting-matting-and-framing

Peter Boehi Exhibition, Switzerland

Over the years I've been running workshops, I've met some really great people. One of them - Peter Boehi is having an exhibition of his work this week coming in Switzerland. Image © Peter Boehi

Peter's exhibition will be at the famous Aescher mountain hut (pictured above) from Friday 26th of July. He is having an open event on the Friday, so if you fancy a hike to one of the most unusual exhibition spaces in the world, and wish to spend time with one particularly enthusiastic and highly enjoyable person, then please do visit Peter's exhibition.

I'd just like to wish Peter all the very best with this. It's always a very exciting time to do your very first exhibition :-)

Creating a market for Photography

I was delighted this week to hear that there is a new photographic gallery that has opened up in the heart of Edinburgh's city centre.

I'm so pleased, because I wish there were more galleries out there for photographers to illustrate and sell their work.

My motivation is easy to understand, because if there were, the medium would be taken more seriously as a collectable form of art than it currently is.

So this leads me onto my main reason for this post....I've been wondering just how many photographers buy the work of other photographers? I'd hazard a guess that the answer is 'not many'.

And yet, when we look at the number of people out there who take up photography and eventually wish to look for a place to exhibit their work, we will find that there are few places available for budding photographers to show their work in print form. The reason for this is simple: photographic prints do not sell for one reason or another - particularly here in the UK where there is almost no market for them. I could go into great depth as to why I believe they don't sell and I'm sure that the comments to this post will go down that route. There are of course exceptions to this when we consider the big names such as Steve McCurry or Michael Kenna, but I'm really talking about the general photographic community that you and I are part of.

There are thousands if not more photographers who create beautiful work, yet have no means to sell it. Sure we have things like Flickr and it's easy to make our own website and put up a web store in which to sell our work, but prints do not sell from websites because people need to see them in the flesh to appreciate what it is they are buying. Each time I have had an exhibition, despite reassuring buyers that everything on my site is up to the same quality as the prints they see at the exhibition, they always buy from what is on display at the exhibition, even if they prefer a particular image from my website.

In one way, photographers are more blessed these days because they have an outlet and many forums in which to illustrate their work. But the truth is that there is no market for photographic work. People do not buy prints.

I think the main issue for me is a lack of support for photography as an art form from within the photographic community itself. Many of us photographers have never bought another photographers work, because we're far too interested in selling or promoting our own work. And therein lies the problem. If we were more willing to consider other photographers work and patronise it, we would be creating a market in which many photographers, including ourselves, could flourish. In a nutshell, if we wish our work to be patronised, we should patronise others work.

I've had a look around my home, and so far, I have two prints made by other photographers. One I bought from a 'photo of the week' winner on Photo.net many years ago titled 'London Tourists' by David Malcolmson. I was so taken with the image that I contacted David and bought a print from him. It has pride of place in my sitting room and I still enjoy looking at it very much. There's something extremely satisfying about owning a piece of work that I love. I'd like to own a Michael Kenna print at some point, and I've decided to ear mark his work for some time when I know I'm in a position to invest in his work.

I've decided that this year, if things are going well for myself, I'd like to start collecting some more work by photographers I admire. So far, I've only been able to afford to buy their work in book form, and I think this is a great start. The print reproduction quality in book form these days isn't too far away from print quality (the exception for me being Ansel Adams work, which is stunningly beautiful in print form and a million miles away from the excellent reproductions in his books. Same applies to Fay Godwins work also - her prints are so beautiful and although the books are good, they pale into insignificance to her silver gelatin prints).

But books are a great way to patronise and endorse the work of a photographer you like, and perhaps this is the crux of the matter. As a photographer, I'm inspired by my heros, and I've bought just about everything that Steve McCurry or Michael Kenna have produced in book form. I get a great deal of inspiration and I learn a lot by studying their work too, but the learning is less important than the inspiration I've gained from enjoying their work. So often I feel, that it's easy to become engrossed in the 'how' of photography, rather than just enjoying the work at hand.

I'm digressing here a little perhaps. Ultimately, if we wish to have a market space for our own work to be bought and endorsed, we should be opening up ourselves to buying other photographers work, be it in book form, or as prints. We should be supporting and encouraging our field of interest, and I can think of no other better way to do this than to buy other photographers work.


I will be holding an exhibition of my Iceland images this October, in Edinburgh. This exhibition will run to coincide with the launch of my second book - "Iceland, a journal of nocturnes".

I'll post more about the firmer details as I find out more myself, but felt I should let you know about these dates as you may wish to keep them clear if youd like to come and see the set of prints in Edinburgh.

On the subject of doing exhibtitions, I would like to ask you if you have considered doing one? If you have done one, how did you feel about it? and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

My own experiences of holding exhibitions is that it is a very rewarding process in many ways. On the surface it may appear that most of what goes into putting an exhibition together is all about the choosing of images and getting them printed - possibly for the first time. But that's only a tiny part of what an Exhibition is all about.

You learn a lot about yourself in the process. In my own case, for a long while I never felt ready to do an exhibition, until I discovered that it seemed to be a trait of my own personality to 'never feel ready to do anything'. My photography has taught me to be 'bold and brave'  and just go ahead and do it. I've had to overcome feelings that my work isn't good enough, or that I didn't have enough good images. I think these feelings are common and unfounded. They stem from a form of self-protection that tries to keep you in your comfort zone, but at the disadvantage of not letting you try things out and grow as a person.

It may feel rather daunting at first, but once you start to get things rolling, it takes on a life of its own, and you start to discover that there's a sense of direction and focus to your work, and that you're really looking forward to showing your work to others.

And that's possibly the biggest satisfaction one can get from an exhibition of your own work. Friends and family, often unsuspecting that you had it in you, are surprised, supportive and it creates a bit of a buzz because you're doing something out of the ordinary. You are also exposing yourself to others in a much more intimate way. A website is very easy to create and show your work on, but by holding an exhibition, you invite others to have a more personal dialog with your work and with yourself. So there is an element of putting yourself on the line and pushing through your own comfort zone.

I think that's why exhibitions are so important for personal growth. We learn a lot about ourselves and what we're capable of by setting up an display of our work. Just the simple fact that you do an exhibition can be a massive stone-turner for you - you've achieved something - put a thought into motion and that thought has become reality.

Over the past decade, I've had many of my 'dreams' turn real. Doing my first exhibition in 2002 showed me that if I have a thought - I can put it into practice and make things happen. This has given me a template with which to approach everything else I do in my photographic (and non photographic) life. I no longer think that dreams are dreams. They are the igniter for showing me the way forward with what I do.

Running an exibition is a very liberating experience. They bring friends and family together. You get to see the people around you support you. You get to know that people care about you. You also get a lot of confidence and a high from doing the entire thing.

So have you thought about setting up an exhibition of your work?

Sonja Grubenmann Exhibition

My good friend Sonja Grubenmann, will be holding her very first photographic exibition in Schlieren, Switzerland this February. There is a launch party on the first night. Sonja started making images seriously a few years ago, mainly with digital SLR's and I've seen her move from digital to film very quickly and stick with it. Doing the migration to film is not an easy path, and many fail because of the level of commitment involved. I'm really pleased to hear Sonja write to me recently and state 'despite of the failure rate and the cost involved for film, developing and scanning - I can't think of going back right now.' Regardless of the medium chosen, Sonja is continuing with a medium she finds gives her the most pleasing results, despite the added efforts and failures incurred. That to me, is someone who is following their own eye and path of development.

This is the second time I've had the pleasure to mention an exhibition by a friend who started off as a workshop participant. I get to meet lots of people through my workshops, and I've met so many special people because of what I do - which is definitely one of the perks of the job :-)

Anyway, if you live in Switzerland, and not too far away - might be nice to pop in and say hello.