For a couple years now I have belonged to a local photography group called the Hampton Roads Digital Shutterbug Club. One of the things I like about it is the occasional opportunity to print, frame, and show my work. One of those opportunities is a “permanent” installation at Pembroke Mall. Just outside of the Kohl’s sits a small presentation of some members’ photos. When a photo sells, the artist has the opportunity to replace it. But sometimes they don’t and there is a spot open for a new person. Openings were announced at the July meeting this year, and I decided to take advantage of the moment. One of the members, a retiree named John, organizes these opportunities and offers his printing and framing help for those of us who really can’t afford a professional job. Or who want to learn something about printing and framing. I fell into both of these categories. So, I expressed my interest and went through the process of creating a framed canvas print using a frame that I had bought at least a year prior. Because I was printing on canvas (it needs to dry between steps) and wanted to witness and/or participate in every step, and because our schedules did not often mesh, it took about two weeks from start to finish. One of the many compromises that sometimes happens when one is struggling to get one’s work “out there” and is not independently wealthy is in the framing dimensions. Because the frame I had was a 16×20, I needed a photo that worked with that aspect ratio. My favorite photos of the moment did not work at all with the 16×20 aspect ratio, and I ended up choosing the above photograph, taken on my outing to Great Falls National Park in June. Although the process taught me that I probably could have chosen a better photo for the project, it turned out well and was quite gratifying. It was also the first time I have signed a piece of work. It has now taken up its spot in the display outside of Kohl’s department store at Pembroke Mall. If you find yourself over there, please stop by and take a gander.
I have spent this week working on another project that will be hung at Major Hillard Library in Chesapeake. It is a framed canvas print of this photo of a male mandarin in breeding plumage, and it will be up for the month of November. I am attempting to get my photos and my name out there little by little, locally and here on the internet, so if anybody lives out by this library and/or has the inclination to go check it out, I would be thrilled for an audience, however small. I’m not sure how/when/if these small steps will help me ultimately, but I am eager to find out, and I’ll let you know when I know!