I have long been fascinated by galleries and how images find their way into them via representation – it has always been a mystery to me. The presentation by Francesca Genovese of Francesca Meffeo Gallery this week answered so many of my questions and raised some key points which, for me, had particular relevance.
The main idea that resonated with me was the interest from the gallery in people who make work instinctively, with no clear intention. It was good to hear this; to hear others say it’s OK to just do what you are doing is refreshing, especially after some commercially-themed weeks. Also I was pleased to hear of a belief in work that is created without financial drivers “Making for making. As a gallery that is something I am always drawn to. People who make, and it takes time. There is a real belief in it.” (Genovese)
Seeing the individual printboxes for each artist was useful, as it sets out the expectation if I am to produce an up to date portfolio for myself, and should I ever feel that I am ready to take my work into a portfolio review setting.
This presentation also led me to reflect more generally on my own place in the world of photography. All my photographic work is personal (i.e. uncommissioned). It is often produced cheaply (e.g. digitally, or often with pocket 35mm cameras) and has continued for many years not being in projects, but rather a personal narrative of a fairly difficult life. University (2011-2014) taught me to work in coherent projects and series’, but I still have a preference for single images or small numbers. Often with my personal snapshots for example I only take one frame, then, if the feeling has gone it would be disingenuous of me to shoot another. Some of my past projects comprise only 2-6 images.
Time is key to development in visual arts, too. I liked Matthew Finn’s work created over 30 years, and depicting his Mother. This type of project appeals to me and I will revisit this in a later post. When Genovese said “it just can’t happen overnight” I definitely agree, though my own position is that I have no expectation other than to share the images I make. Whereas many photographers have a burning drive to be represented by a gallery or to make money as soon as they can, I tend to sit on the sidelines, and have lived on very little for most of my life so have no preconceptions about making money. I do have a seemingly uncontrollable drive to make things, however, to make images. I understand that maybe nothing will happen with them beyond what happens with them already. Photography is my own way of exploring everything. Admittedly, when others take an interest in an image I have made, their response fascinates me, and I have in the past had images in exhibitions where I have enjoyed listening to others’ reflections. The reactions from viewers always surprise me, and this is good as it helps me to keep an open mind, and to learn about other human beings, as well them becoming a part of my own story, in a way.
“it can’t be financially driven: it has to be about the work. When artists come to me and they ask me […] Will you sell me? Will you be able to sell my work? It always makes me question shouldn’t we be talking about the work being seen first of all?” (Genovese)
Featured image: Peripheral strangers in exhibition in 2013, during my university years