Serenity - A New Group Photography Exhibit
March 23, 2022 - How is it spring already?

Don't get me wrong; I can't wait for the cottage to open in just over a month. But the first quarter of the year is almost behind us. Time is moving so fast in some ways, and in other ways, not so much.

It feels like just yesterday, I was celebrating the beginning of the new year. Then, just as suddenly, mourning the sudden, tragic loss of a friend.

The pandemic, however, continues to drag on, stretching out time in its own methodical, unending manner. Time slows, in this regard.

In contrast to that, provincial and federal governments seem to be rushing to remove all pandemic-related restrictions. To get this whole thing over with; to get past COVID-19 and back to "normal." Time speeds up.

I'm reminded of the lyrics from the Alan Parsons Project song, Time:

Time, flowing like a river...

A river can run fast, it can run slow, but it never runs backwards. It always moves forward to its destination.
A New Show

Along with all other events, a happier note; time is flowing towards a new photography exhibit!

Fast forward to March 28, and I will be hanging a new show at Elmhirst's Resort, along with two like-minded colleagues, Linda Kassil and Russ Higgins. We've chosen the theme and title of Serenity, something we feel the world could use more than a little of these days.

We decided on the title of the show very quickly - it seemed to be in tune with what the craft of photography meant to us. Serenity is the state of mind that the act of photography puts us into.

The collective works of the group are images of the region, although I have snuck in a couple prints that are out-of-province. I will have several new works on display, but I'm also choosing to keep a few favorites hanging as well.

Before the cottage, I knew very little about the area where we are located (Peterborough, Otonobee South-Monaghan and Rice Lake). But, using the cottage as a base of operations, I drove around the surrounding countryside, visiting small towns and enjoying the rolling landscape of forest and farm flying by. After 7 years, there’s still so much more to see and do. I literally count the days from season end to season open.

Serenity is part of the annual Spark Photo Festival:

"The SPARK Photo Festival is a celebration of photography, and the artists, dreamers, innovators, storytellers, professionals and enthusiasts behind the camera lens. April 2022 will bring the arrival of numerous photographic exhibits and artists, in locations throughout Peterborough city and county and the City of Kawartha Lakes regions. Technical workshops, lectures, talks, films, and other related photographic events and activities take place year-round as well as during the festival."​​​​​​​

One of several social media posters I created using Adobe Creative Cloud Express, to promote the work of all three artists in the show.

Image Selection

Selecting the right images for a show is never easy - nor should it be. I wanted to get the right mix; images that told stories or invited stories be created on their behalf. Photographs that shared not just my wonder and passion for photography, but opened a window into my personal sense of serenity that I experienced when capturing the scene. Even now, although I am happy with my choices for enlargement, the artist and storyteller in me still wonders if these images are the perfect ones. We will see...
I put a bit more focus on canvas prints this time around, at very portable sizes (8"x8" and larger), with the thought that people could choose an affordable combination and crate their own montage at home. Of course, I am still also hanging traditional prints, primarily 8x10, matted prints in simple 11x14 frames.
And speaking of enlargements, let's talk workflow and business for a few minutes. When I agreed to be part of my first show 3 years ago, I knew I did not want to break the bank on printing and framing costs. I had to manage those costs so I could keep the print prices low enough to be attractive to passers-by. And this plan was successful; I have sold close to two dozen prints over time at Elmhirst, by keeping prices reasonable and the art portable enough that a guest felt it could be easily transported home.

Other considerations I made included that - while signed and dated -  these would not be numbered prints. I also decided that I would go with a commercial retail lab for printing and wherever possible, use store-bought - but good quality - frames. 

So, my workflow:

Selection: Using Lightroom Classic CC, I went through several cullings in Grid mode, moving over my selects to their own Collection in Lightroom.
Processing: On average, every image in the collection received anywhere from 30 - 90 minutes of post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop, over time.
Single Prints: Select and edit (basic retouching, color, exposure, etc.) in Lightroom Classic CC, open in Photoshop CC to do color profile matching and any significant retouching. Save as high quality jpeg.

Diptychs, Triptychs: Select and edit in Lightroom Classic CC, then assemble the collage in Photoshop CC. Color manage in Photoshop. Save as high quality jpeg.

Art Cards: Layout and Design using Adobe Creative Cloud Express, as 4x6 posters, save as jpeg, and send to a local lab for printing. Do not bother with color management.

Printing: Upload files to photo lab web site for printing. Initially, I sent only a few images for testing/QA. I made sure any auto-enhancement features were disabled. When I was happy with the results, I uploaded the rest over a few days.

Signing: Sign the prints first! I made that mistake with the ONE custom-framed print - a black and white Triptych of Burleigh Falls went for framing without first signing the print. Ugh! And yes, I signed the prints themselves, not the mattes. Mattes can be replaced, and if they are, your signature is lost.

Framing: With the exception of 4 prints, all photographs were framed using high-quality, store-bought frames/mattes. I went with simple black frames and white mattes for the most part, so that the image was the focus. Black frames are colour neutral, too, so I think they are a good choice when you don't know what other decor the photograph may have to complement in someone's home. And they are also quite easy to reframe if needed by the customer.
I created the Art Cards (below) for several reasons. First, it gave me a way to display pricing, size and medium, but I also wanted to share a little something about each photo, with the audience/buyers. I wanted them to know why each photo in the collection was important to me, why I felt it deserved to be there, hanging on the wall (and hopefully, eventually, on their wall!). They act as an extra keepsake for the buyer, too.
As I mentioned earlier, we hang the show in less than a week. Each of us will have a specific area in the Gallery in which to show our work.  

SPARK runs from April 1 - April 30.

All three of us - Linda, Russ and me - encourage you to visit the various exhibits around Peterborough, and then stop by Elmhirst's Resort for a bite to eat and to view our work in the Gallery located in the main building. All the work is available for purchase by contacting the artist.

We will be hosting a reception on April 22, from 6 - 8pm and we hope to see you there.

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