This past week I had to take down my gallery show. It was a strange punctuation on the experience. The show was titled Immersion: Experienced Spaces and it was a series of images done in platinum and palladium using an 8×10 view camera. The project took about 12 months to complete and was in the gallery for 6 weeks. For 6 weeks, I was able to drive down 12th Ave and see my work in the window. I could ask friends to go see the work, send out invitations to openings, and enjoy the conversations about the work that developed over the course of the show. Then I had to pack up the show and make way for the new artists that are showing next.
It was a surreal experience. For months I worked until I had a show that I was happy with hanging in the gallery. For weeks, people got to see a glimpse of what I see when I see the world around me. And then in a compressed 6 weeks, I took images down from the walls and put them in their bubble wrap for the journey home.
The images now sit in a stack on the kitchen table. I imagine that they are tired and need rest so I let them sleep. They worked so hard over the past six weeks acting as beacons on white walls to tell people about me. I imagine that after the prior 6 months of editing and reshooting and criticism of who they are and how they ranked against their peers wasn’t that easy on them either. But never once did they complain–they only provided their unconditional support. At least that is the story I tell myself about the work sitting on the table while I figure out what what story they need to tell next.
After all, that is why we show our work as photographers. It is to tell our stories. Images are more than just a collection of chemicals, ink or light on a screen, they are a statement of who we are and what we are about as people. We create our work so that it can reach out and make us part of a larger community and still provide an internal sanctuary of our passions, hopes and dreams.