As I sit writing this blog all around me in my kitchen, lounge, dining room and conservatory are my images, printed, mounted, framed and hung in readiness for my local exhibition. I have much still to do including putting together an Exhibition Catalogue, numbering the images, producing feedback forms and the general preparations of staging my house for the opening reception on 17 August at 6.30pm.   I have around fifty people coming to this so I will need to rearrange and remove furniture and some personal items to make way for my guests.

My ability to manage a hanging plan in a small space and without ruining the current décor, and within the timescales we had, is limited so I have kept it simple by largely using current picture hooks (as we have lots of our own art already hanging). That will be taken down and stored during the Exhibition. Having said that I have done some research as to how others exhibit their work.

First, I visited the Pittenweem Art Festival in Fife, Scotland last week and spent much of my time talking to the artists and understanding their hanging plans. Pittenweem Art Festival happens every year in a small fishing village and many of the houses are rented out to artists who take over the space and exhibit their work that ranges from paintings, sculptures, fabrics, furniture and photographs.

The following images show a venue and some of the interiors of the houses being used as exhibiting space:

In most cases the venues were very small and many still had much of the home furnishings in the houses such as beds, sofas and other personal effects. This is reassuring as I do not intend to remove much of my furniture. This is partly for practical reasons and also as I feel leaving it be adds to the intimacy of the occasion. It is interesting that I have already received feedback from people coming to the exhibition that they feel it will be informal (rather than the formality of a larger gallery space) where they would feel less comfortable. I am also encouraged that those I have spoken to about my exhibition have been genuinely interested in what I am doing and the work I have produced, even though many of them are not photographers and have never visited the Isle of Skye on which my work is based.

All the hanging plans in the images above I feel are informal and suit the venue they were designed for. Most of the venues were small cottages with small interlinking rooms like my house in Tetbury. In all cases there was a need to put as many pieces of work in as possible. In Mangle Cottage (first and second images above) the “hanging” plan was informal and framed and unframed work was arranged on and against sofas and walls. In the other two examples, both artists had put many images on a small amount of wall space largely for practical reasons. Some artists had used similar frames (image three), others had an eclectic mix (image four).

I had an interesting conversation with one of the artists about whether to frame pictures to work with the image (and therefore potentially have a collection of different frames on a wall) or to make the exhibition coherent in using the same frames. He was very clear that he preferred to choose the frame appropriate to that image. I think that is good advice and I am sure there are aesthetic reasons as well as commercial reasons for doing that. After all, generally people buy one image that must work for them rather than necessarily comply with an exhibition hanging plan.  Although, it is also interesting to compare the hanging of the Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship exhibition below.

For my monochrome work in the local exhibition I have chosen chalk white mount board with a black core (which gives a strong edge to the image) and black frames. This choice I feel is appropriate given I do not have colour images that might benefit from a more informal framing arrangement although commercially I believe I should think about this further. I can see that my black and white images would also look stunning in various coloured frames.

I had hoped to visit the Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship exhibition this week at The Barbican but was forced to postpone my plans in light of the work I have to complete for my MA Photography. However, I do plan to visit in the assessment break in early September. As a second best option I have done some desk research to see how the exhibition curators chose to present Lange and Winship’s work below.

In these images, acquired from the web it is clear that the curators chose to exhibit the work of the two photographers in very different formats – Lange at the top and Winship in the bottom image.  I am sure these images do not do the exhibitions justice but it provides me with a preview before viewing their work for real.  It has given me food for thought in reflecting upon the event for my Final Major Project in due course.  I am intending to do further research on all of this and in particular am going to look at some exhibitions where the images are exhibited in very large format prints to see if that approach  might suit my work.

I have also been reflecting on the publication (other than the Exhibition Catalogue) that I might produce to accompany my Final Project work.  Given time constraints, and a limited amount of work (as I am only in my second module) I have decided to defer actually producing this until later in the course.  Again, I have looked at a number of alternatives including making my own book in large format to sit in the centre of my exhibition.

I am also working on my Workshop and have two of dummy workshops set up with a couple of people to try out my format of photographic coaching in order to learn from that experience before trying a group of participants together.  I intend to do this in early September.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Skip to content