CALL FOR ENTRIES: WHY DIDN'T I GET INTO THE SHOW?

Have you applied to a call for entries and your artwork was not selected? One of the many questions you ask yourself is why? What was the reason or reasons why your work was not selected? We decided to ask several Curators and Gallerists what happens during the selection process.  Hopefully this will give you some insight into the jury process and help you plan for submitting in the future.

Paula Tognarelli - Griffin Museum of Photography

"I jury many exhibitions in the course of a year. Because of my experience I wanted to share just why artists are not accepted into exhibitions. I know the first inclination is to feel rejected when one receives the note that he or she didn’t get into an exhibit. There is more than meets the eye to the process of choosing images for exhibition. Before jumping to conclusions about your skill and talent try putting yourself in the shoes of the juror.

More than likely the juror has to choose a limited number of images for exhibition to fit in the exhibition space. Usually I am looking at 1000 (and sometimes 5 times that) image submissions and am tasked with choosing 20 to 50 photographs for the wall. Definitely there will be images the juror loves that have to go. I have found that usually in my first pass of choosing images that I respond to, I cull down imagery to about a third of what was submitted. My next pass is to look for images that speak to each other and I begin to form a narrative. It is very difficult to start a narrative over once it has begun. So sometimes it depends on what else is submitted that keeps your image out of the mix. For some (and that includes me) it is about the body of work and not the singular images.

Recently I did an experiment during the juried exhibition for the Griffin. The juror chose 60 images for the show and I went in after and built 3 shows from the remaining images. The fourth grouping I put together was weak. The second and third exhibits assembled were strong as anything and I would have been proud to showcase those two exhibits. Was the fourth exhibit weak because of a singular imagery? No, they were weak because the relationships just weren’t there.

Another reason your image may not make the cut into an exhibition may be that it doesn’t jive with the aesthetic of the juror. Another day and another juror will bring other results. So don’t give up.

Keep in mind that your submissions are not for nothing, even if you don’t get in to the show. It is an opportunity to get your work in front of the juror. Someday that will make a difference and an opportunity will rise.

There is one other reason why one doesn’t get into an exhibit. It has to do with craft. Is the photograph composed well? Is the subject of interest? Did your submissions show the maturity of your work in the edit you provided? Have you technically produced the best possible print you can?  If you can’t do this yourself then do not hesitate to find a printer that can do this for you."

Kat Kiernan – Don’t take Pictures

“I have been on many sides of the juried exhibition as an artist, a juror, and the administrator of juried shows. It is always disappointing to not be selected for an exhibition, but I think that some of the sting could be taken out of that disappointment if artists were more aware of the restrictions placed on jurors. The juror's job is to form a cohesive and thoughtful exhibition. For thematic exhibitions, jurors have to make tough decisions to exclude work that does not fit with their interpretation of the theme. Thematic shows are not "greatest hits" exhibitions and in my experience, similar subject matter means tough choices for the juror. Let's say that for a show about "flight" there are five submitted photographs of hot air balloons. They might all fit the theme and be excellent photographs, but the juror feels that only one or two hot air balloon photographs would be appropriate for the show.  For exhibitions that are juried by a group rather than an individual, the selection process can become a game of averages. If each juror likes a piece it will likely be included in the show, but if one juror loves a piece and another juror is adamant about not including it, the selection process can result in a number of compromises. Logistical restrictions vary by venue, but the most common is a limit on the number of pieces that can be hung in the space. My advice for entering juried shows is to think carefully about whether the exhibition is juried by an individual or a group, whether your work is really a good fit for the theme, and to remember that there are many factors beyond the quality of work that might result in not being selected."

 

Arlette Kayakas – Gallery Kayafas

“When I am asked to jury an exhibit, I prefer that it is blind because I don't want to be influenced by knowing someone... I just want to respond to the work. I divide the work into 3 groups: no, maybe, yes. (the "yes" group, of course, are my favorites!)

After I've looked through the images at least 4 times to get these categories…I start to lay out the work to sequence a strong show.  It's during this step that my selections may change.  I want the strongest exhibit possible so I will go back to the "maybes" if needed and replace some of the "Yeses".  Juried shows are often without a theme so sequencing is extremely important so it will all make sense.

I find it extremely rude that after putting together the exhibit and then meeting the artists at the opening that I am always asked "Why didn't you pick my work?"  It’s obvious I didn't pick the work because it didn't fit or meet my criteria. “

Image Courtesy Silke Haas

Image Courtesy Silke Haas

Francine Weiss - Newport Art Museum

"Decisions about art work are highly subjective. Whether or not someone likes your work is subjective, and then there is also the fact that the reviewer or juror may love your work but not have a slot in their space or scheduled to exhibit it. It may also be that your work doesn't fit precisely with the theme of the show that that person is curating. So you can't take it to personally. But what I can offer in terms of advice for submitting to juried shows or sharing work with portfolio reviewers is: To present works that reflect a cohesive and clear vision or message and choose images carefully to support it. Sometimes when I jury, I find myself confused because I may be looking at 8 prints from the same series, but they appear unrelated. I think sometimes people want to submit their strongest prints, but they might be showing 8 really strong statements that don't fit together. It might be better to choose 5 strong images and 3 that help tell the story even if they're not all singularly compelling. Essentially, when you show your work to someone, particularly for the first time, you are a storyteller. And people like stories, so tell that story in a clear and engaging fashion! In approaching your work in this fashion, you also demonstrate that you know what you're doing and why and can relate to others-- always a plus."

 

Jason Landry - Former Director - Panopticon Gallery of Photography

“Instances vary from my perspective. I look at thousands of photographs each year at portfolio review events, art fairs, through various emails and marketing materials that that I receive from artists, and through emerging artists that I mentor. The three main things that I look for is:

1.) Does the photographs fit into a theme or an idea for an upcoming show that I might be curating?

2.) How well do the prints look?

3.) How unique is the artist’s vision?

As a gallery owner, I am the one who comes up with the themes for the exhibitions. That being said, I usually keep a running list of ideas known only to myself. If I see work at an portfolio review event, art fair, or if someone tells me about a particular artist whose work fits in with my themes, I will keep their info in a spreadsheet based on the type of work that they make. That way, when I have enough artists who make work that fit into my theme, then I will contact them and schedule the show.

As for prints, I scrutinize print quality both from a gallery owner and collector’s perspective. The artists need to know how to print. I cannot chance putting up a bad gelatin silver print or digital print next to someone else in the gallery who is a master printer. Collectors know good from bad, and if they see poorly produced art, they won’t come back to the gallery, and they will not buy your work, and neither will I. If I don’t think a print is up to my standards, I usually suggest that they contact my friends at Panopticon Imaging to assist them.

Lastly, collectors have a discerning eye when it comes to acquiring art––and gallery owners know that. They want to see unique photographs––things that they have never seen before. Now, we all know that in this day and age, that is pretty impossible, but sometimes you’ll find that needle in a haystack and you’ll want to include it into a show as soon as possible. Photographers. . . . . . .think outside of the frame.

Francis Jakubek - Bruce Silverstein Gallery

"Building a show is like writing an essay; certain photographs form sentences while others create tangents when viewed together. Starting with a pool of (typically) over 500 images, my process is to make pairings of images and witness the story change as new images are introduced. Jurying a show does not always mean the juror selects their personal favorites; there have been times where I've purchased prints that did not get awards or make the final cut for the exhibition."

 

Jessica Roscio - Danforth Art Museum

"It was incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to jury our Danforth Art Annual last summer.  Due to changes in the structure of the exhibition (we combined two exhibitions into one); the show was about half the size of previous years.  We generally have almost 500 on-line applications, and each artist can submit up to three works, so jurying is a daunting process.  I was proud of every work in the exhibition, but there were plenty of entries that I couldn’t take, but wanted to.  Instead, I made note of the artist for the future (our juried exhibition is a blind jury, so this happened after choices were made, once I could see the names associated with each application).  Our juried exhibition takes place in a finite number of galleries, and as you start to review applications, certain themes emerge, and the show starts to form.  Groupings for each gallery start to come together before the works arrive.  Trying to create a cohesive juried exhibition means that some works, no matter how accomplished and innovative, end up not fitting into the exhibition structure.  A juror wants to be sure that each work in an exhibition stands on its own, and has plenty of room to breathe, but it also needs to compliment the works around it.  However, it is imperative to remain sensitive to the fact that when an artist submits their work to a juried exhibition they are putting themselves out there, and sharing their work with you, and it is a privilege to be a part of that process. "

 

Artist Spotlight: Heather Hobler

Heather Hobler came into the office a year ago when she started photographing her backyard seascapes. Keeping her tripod in the same location, she shoots color negative film during different times of the day. Each print holds luscious colors ranging from cool blues to warm sunsets. The meditative quality of her images invites the viewer to linger and explore every seashell and wave.

  • What is your earliest memory of art?

HH: A large dark abstract Grace Hartigan Wedding Dress painting. This painting hung innocently on
my great-aunt Francis’s dining room wall in an old whalers home in Mattapoisett. It was among
a Joseph Cornell Shadow Box, a Rembrandt etching, a Picasso scarf and many more hidden
treasures. These were true works of art living an ordinary life among the wallpaper and salt air.
Francis lived and worked in NYC in the world of art and museums. She took the train up for
holidays and weekends. Certainly quite exotic to my small town girlhood.

And along with these examples of high art I grew up in a house that my father and mother built
from the foundation up, sailed on boats that my father and brother built, wore handmade wool
garments from both grandmothers and mother, ate from the gardens of my grandfather, have a
handmade doll my sister made me.

In each object, aesthetics and use played equally important roles. What makes art “art” has
always intrigued me.

  • What is your background? Did you go to school for photography?

HH: I went to both SMFA Boston and Tufts University, finishing with a BFA from Tufts in my 20’s and
then back to get my certificate from SMFA in my 30’s. In my 20’s I studied film, video and
drawing and in my 30’s mostly painting and drawing. I have no formal training in photography.

HH: This all started innocently as snapshots and quickly built into a reflective rhythmic journalistic
ritual. Taken from the same place daily and most often multiple times per day I stand facing
south over Buzzards Bay to document the pageant that is my front yard. As this work grows so
does my interest and dedication to what I feel is my most successful body of work.


“The adventure of the sun is the great natural drama by which we live” -Henry Benson, The
Outermost House


I had cancer 8 years ago, and it changed my life (of course and so what), and so too it changed
my belief in the validity of my art making. It was in the building of this collection it became
obvious this was a continuation and distillation of my art. Concepts of systems, comparisons,
suggestions of what came before, the play of edge-to-frame and the basic question of “what is
art?” have always been my concern.


Varying from colorfield paintings to romantic photorealism to pure abstraction, this work plays
with the formalism of the square and the minimalism of a controlled composition. This work is
both poignant and potent as they also engage in the contemporary issues of climate change,
the incessant barrage information and the dwindling amount of natural space. These, too, are a
nod to my 30 year devotion to yoga and meditation. and so the name where lines meet.

  • Throughout the exhibition you will be having interaction days of conversation & contemplation, yoga, and evening talks. How do you plan to work these events into the
    exhibition? What made you decide to do the interactions?

HH: These photographs together as a unit, a collection, a study, each and every time thrill and bore
me, equally. Kinda like, so what? so, so what? or who cares? so, who cares? So selfishly, I want
to discuss that play/work that we do to make sense of what makes us who we are. This is a
project because of just that: I do not have fully formed ideas around these photographs and
look to explore thru interactions. With where lines meet I will be in the space during all
opening hours inviting people in from all supports and interests of my life for contemplation,
conversation and community. Events range from Wednesday evening talks, Thursday and
Sunday yoga and Saturday suppers. I look to make this more than a purely aesthetic
experience.

  • What artists influence you and how do they influence your thinking, creating and career path?

HH: Colorfield painters, Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Abstract Expressionists Rothko,
Rauschenberg, to more contemporary and conceptual artists Gary Hume, Richard Prince, Hiroshi
Sugimoto
, Doug Aitken, Lisa Yuskavage. I believe all of the mentioned see the trueness of life
and portray it with such high esteem. Their integrity and complexity will forever be of
fascination to me along with their regard for beauty. Surely, by looking at how they are looking
influences and fine tunes my eye. As far as creating, I have forever been creating maybe just
not under the guise as an artist.

  • What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

HH: Listen.

  • When you are not taking beautiful photographs what are you spending your time doing?

HH: I prefer to be outside as much as possible for both work and leisure. I have been practicing
yoga for over 30 years and now teach. And I spend much time contemplating the horizon.

Somerville Toy Camera Festival

Francine Weiss

Francine Weiss

About the Festival:

Since 2013, the Somerville Toy Camera Festival has celebrated the quirky and creative results that can happen when photographers are forced to loosen their controls, submit to the light and embrace the accidental. Each year since, the Festival has brought a wide range of toy camera photography by US and international artists together in simultaneous shows at galleries throughout the city, and featured related programming including artist talks/panel discussions, workshops, social events, and a darkroom day.

This year the guest juror was Professor Christopher James who is the Director of the MFA photography program at Lesley College of Art and Design in Boston.

 

Liz Ellenwood  with the Gold Holga Award!

Liz Ellenwood with the Gold Holga Award!

What is a toy camera?

Holga, Diana and LOMO just to name a few. They are simple and inexpensive film cameras where you have little to no control over shutter speed and apertures. Common qualities of images made with toy cameras are vignetting, soft focus, light leaks and other distortions. It is the true point-and-shoot camera!

Toy camera photography has been widely exhibited at many popular art shows, such as the annual "Krappy Kamera" show at the Soho Photo Gallery in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. Various publications such as Popular Photography magazine have reviewed the Diana camera in its own right as an "art" producing image maker. Several books have also featured the work of toy cameras, such as The Friends of Photography's "The Diana Show", "Iowa" by Nancy Rexroth, and "Angels at the Arno" by Eric Lindbloom.

 

When is the exhibition?

The 2016 Somerville Toy Camera Festival will take place in September-October, with exhibitions at three non-profit spaces in Somerville MA: Nave Gallery Annex, Washington Street Gallery, and Brickbottom Gallery. For a full list of opening dates check here.

In addition,  The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA will have a walk-in camera obscura built by artist Marian Roth! The installation of the camera obscura in a small gallery at the Griffin will take place on September 8, and is open to the public. The camera obscura will be accessible to visitors during regular Griffin Museum hours through October 2, 2016.

Liz Wood

Liz Wood

How are we involved?

We have been proud sponsors of the Somerville Toy Camera Festival for the past few years. We offer a 15% discount for the exhibiting artists of the Festival for their scanning, printing & framing needs. Every year we look forward to seeing what each artist has created with their plastic cameras!

Artist Spotlight: Fern Nesson

Fern Nesson is a fine art photographer living in Cambridge, MA. She practiced as a lawyer for twenty years and taught history at the Cambridge School of Weston and, for the past ten years, she was the College Advisor at the Commonwealth School. Fern is currently in her first year of the MFA program at Maine Media College. Her abstract work is rooted in the elegance of light and line and is currently on display in our gallery until May 14, 2016.

"Light Lines 1"

  • You have a background in law, how did you transition into the art world?

FN: I have taken a long journey through many, varied careers – lawyer, American historian, fiction and non-fiction writer, history, math and law teacher, college counselor -- but the spine of photography has run throughout my life. My father gave me my first camera when I was 8 and he taught me to develop my photos in the darkroom not long after. Since then, I have been engaged in looking at the world through a camera.

Until recently, photography was my hobby. I knew several great photographers (my father included) and followed their work with interest. About ten years ago, I interviewed my father and we published a book of his work. I have also collected photographs for many years. I am proud to own photographs by Michael Kenna, Ansel Adams and Bruce Cratsley, among others.

Several years ago, I decided to pursue my own photography more seriously. My initial goal was to learn to take better photos. I began by reviewing my past work and publishing several books of my photographs. Then I took a workshop in photography at the Penland School in North Carolina. Finally, last year, I quit my counseling job to do photography full-time.

It’s taken me a long time to accept the challenge of pursuing life as an artist but I am so thrilled to be doing it! Photography provides, as always, a wonderful way to experience the world and the improvement in the quality of my work as a result of studying and practicing it full-time is immensely rewarding.

"Morning Light 1"

  • You are currently attending the low residency masters program at Maine Media, tell us a little bit about the program. How has your work changed since starting your studies there?

FN: For my first semester, I am completing synergistic studio and academic projects, both entitled “An Exploration of Seeing.” Since November, I have taken over 20,000 (!) photographs, read a dozen of the great books about “seeing ” and written three lengthy papers describing the evolution of my own artistic vision. As an intellectual and artistic experience, a Maine Media education can’t be beat!

"Light Lines 3"

  • Your abstractions of light and shadow show a playful & insightful side to subjects we see everyday. How do you choose what you point your camera at?

FN: Light is the theme in all of my work. I don’t shoot objects for themselves; I shoot their interaction with light: are they illumined from within? Are they transparent? Are they reflective? Are they suffused with light? Do they glow? Are they in shadow? Do they sparkle? My subjects are quite varied but it’s all about the light.

"Morning Light 5"

  • What inspires you as an artist?

FN: I am drawn to elegance. In choosing a subject or a scene, I seek elegance in pattern, line, color and shape. I prefer the intricate, small detail, over the panorama. My photographs are abstract but not in the sense of removing detail; just the opposite. I focus on an element and I abstract it through the use of an unusual perspective or point of view.

"Light Lines 5"

  • Your current exhibition in our gallery space is a selection of images from various portfolios. How do you feel the individual pieces interact with one another as a whole?

FN: The photographs in my show, “The Light Dances,” are selected from three different series, which I shot in 2015-6. Although they are of radically different subjects – trees at night, a Calder stabile, and the curtains in my bedroom – they have certain underlying and essential characteristics in common.

First, they are each about light: light as it illumines and ennobles a dark object, light as it enhances a sculpture by throwing off shadows, light as it sparkles and brightens a cold winter landscape.

Second they are multiples. Varying the point of view on a single object takes advantage of all angles of the object and allows maximum concentration upon its interaction with light. The multiplicity of views points up what is so great about our existence: we all see things differently from each other and it is that very diversity that makes art and life so interesting.

Third, they use the power of black. Light as a subject shows up so beautifully when it is contrasted with black. Color can seem sometimes to be cheating; it can make even a dull picture interesting but black is a challenge. If you use it well, you get drama; if you use it badly, you get nothing.

"Stabile 1 - 4"

Packing Tips: Safe ways to wrap & handle Your Artwork

Here at Panopticon we have seen it all for packing material; Blankets, towels, trash bags or worst of all nothing. Framing is expensive and we have some tips on how to keep your frames and artwork safe!

  1. Cardboard Corner Protectors

You can always DIY them yourself using scrap cardboard, buy them from Amazon in small batches or order bulk from Uline. This will prevent any rubbing / scratching of the frames. Corners are helpful if you have multiple frames that are all the same size. However, this will not protect the whole frame or the glass/PlexiGlas.

  1. Properly Stack them

Make sure to stack your frames vertically and to place them glass to glass and back to back while storing them. This will prevent the hardware from rubbing against your frame. The metal hardware and wire will ding the wood or scratch metal frame very easily. This goes for when they are wrapped or unwrapped.

  1. Bubble Wrap

Keep your towels for the beach! While towels might be helpful at home this is not a good or effective solution for preventing damage, as there is no spring to the towel. Foam wrap or bubble wrap will take the impact and prevent your frame from getting damaged. You can order bubble online, pick it up from Uline or your local office supply store.

  1. Use Two Hands

Always pic up your frame using two hands! If it is a large image and you grab it by the top it can pull and your glazing can pop out of the frame. Ten and two just like driving school.

  1. Have us wrap it for you!

If all of this material is too much to handle we can ease your burden! Wrapping images properly is fun for us. We take care of your beloved artwork and make sure it is safe for handling and transport. If it is local we can deliver it for you or even ship your images. Let us know!

Sum sum summertime- that's a wrap!

Whoa! Summer is always an exuberant time to go down the Cape, have some BBQ and for us down at Panopticon Imaging, make work! Our artists have been busy, so we have been having a great season of working with them on finalizing images, prints and exhibitions! We were so excited to work on so many of these projects we lost track of the time, but don't worry- there were a few outing with the Panopti-crew where we were able to steal some sun and fun. We ushered in the season with quite a bang at the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward Festival! We have been working with the Festival and it's artists for the last three years, and it is always fantastic and quite a different array of work every time.

This year we helped with the printing and installation of the 7 shipping containers that were on the Rose Kennedy Greenway for all of May! In coordination with the Fence, this outdoor exhibition was so much fun, and such a great experience working with the international artists that made up the roster. Each shipping container held a solo exhibition from artists like Angélica Dass and Gregor Schmatz. 

Angélica Dass's solo exhibition in the shipping container.

Along with the Fence, we had the great pleasure of working with Boston Globe Legend Bill Brett on his Flash Forward solo exhibition.   We take great pride in managing and implementing all production for these kinds of exhibitions- from the proofing with the artists, printing, framing and even delivery to the exhibition venue.  This was the fist of the two large-scale exhibitions we helped produce at the beginning of this summer, the second being a brand new relationship we started with artist Emil Cohen!

The crew with Emil Cohen at the William Scott Gallery

Emil Cohen came to us for assistance in producing his solo exhibition, "Portraits in Provincetown" at the William Scott Gallery that was held in July.  The exhibition would be of 76 portraits he made of the good people of Provincetown, both large and small scale to be displayed.  The portraits are beautiful as well as playful and sometimes mischievous- just as you might expect from P-Town. Working from London now, Emil needed to produce the exhibition remotely, and we were happy to take on the task.  When the exhibition was finally ready for air-time, we took that opportunity to join him in P-Town for a little out-of-office research and development.  We hope if you were there this summer, you were able to see Emil's work, or him photographing for the project!

Our whole summer did not just consist of large-scale exhibitions, though.  We work on any photographic endeavor, and were happy to work on both printing and framing projects for a multitude of new clients.  Artists such as Lazaro Montano stopped by to have one of his great Color Block pieces printed and framed; as did Toni Pepe, who had some of her new work in this summer's Community of Artists exhibition at the Danforth Museum of Art.  It was also great to do some expert framing for the end-of-summer exhibition Landscape as Fetish at Gallery Kayafas, introducing us to the work of Angela Mittiga and Mark Dorf. 

Finished framed work by Lazaro Montano

It has been a delightful season, and we hope that the fall brings even more exciting projects as we get to see what everyone has been working on all summer! And don't worry, we haven't slowed down one bit.  We are currently preparing artist Betsy Schneider for her exhibition at Harvard's Carpenter Center, and looking forward to the great work that will be in the Griffin Museum of Photography's annual Atelier exhibition in September! Stay tuned for more, and have a great rest of August!