Week 22 of FMP: Preparing for the exhibition (25th – 31st March)

The week started with a return to West Croydon to see if i could get an interview with Salal, one of my original collaborators. Sadly they were as occupied as they have been, it’s clearly not going to be possible to include any additional material from this collaborator. I did manage to get a few additional digital shots of Nick Tapper . Whilst both 5x4 images of nick had come out, I wasn’t convinced these couldn’t be improved on.

I’ve also been considering the different ways I could hang my fourteen environmental portraits in ‘THE LOFT’ space that I’ve been finally signed off for by Croydon Arts Store. A few weeks ago whilst visiting The London School of Fashion library I’d had a look round an exhibition they currently have in their gallery called Mundo Latin-X . It’s a mixed media exhibition of work by a number of artists, including several photographers and curated by White Line Projects. In general it’s very well arranged, but what particularly interested me was the way they had presented a number of images directly hung from the ceiling. See below for the images where I’ve tried to capture the effect created, taken in February and April.

The ceiling at the Loft is a suspended ceiling, common in shops, and under two metres in height. I’ve been considering ways I can give more of a shop feel to my hang to reflect the environment I’m portraying. I’ve found a UK supplier of ‘point of sale’ items that is selling a reasonable looking hanging system for use with suspended ceilings. Designed to show advertising posters from A4 to A0 size. To assess the product more accurately I'd ordered a couple of A4 and A3 sized grippers’, a pack of the required sliding clips, and a set of extended wire hooks to hang them with. These have arrived and look very suitable. It would give a very similar effect to the one I appreciated at the Mundo-X exhibition.

The next day was my penultimate 1-2-1 with my FMP tutor, followed by a group critique with a fellow student on my cohort. Copies of the scanned images of the 5” x 4” colour negatives of portraits I’d taken in the recent shoots were shown and valuable comment gained. I have a current pick for the exhibition, though this may well change slightly in the light of comments received.I also put forward a very draft hanging plan based on my chosen set of fourteen images. See below.

This would be sited in the following area, the main bulk of the images in one line across the longer wall.

However. I’ve been quickly dissuaded that this is not such a good idea. With so many images of a reasonable sizebest to break up the images and mix formats a little. Time for a plan C.

I’ve also been considering the set-up. This is my current plan:

I’ll make a final decision on porjector siting on the 3rd April, hanging day. It’s the darkest area of the room is that quadrant’s lights are switched off. But ithas a large number of spare large display boards on the floor, restricting height even more.

I’d also have a corner of the large space set-aside for my Croydon history section in collaboration with Kake. Who’s unfortunately been ill so it looks like the production of this will be just myself. The space to be used looks like this:

Area to be used for a history of retail Croydon display

I propose to use A3+ printouts mounted on 400mm x 500mm boards, of which i possess plenty.

The importance of obtaining test prints before creating the exhibition prints was stressed. The hanging system I’ve picked was reasonably well received, It’s a little outside the norm, no one I’ve spoken to about it seems to be aware of it’s use before for a photographic exhibition. I guess as the target market is purely for in-store advertising by retailers, photographers or artists have it pigeon-holed the same way if they’e seen it in use.

Read talks about the considerations and potential compromises that have to be made when considering an exhibition space. On one hand I had been fortunate in my proposal to exhibit in what was probably the most appropriate location I could have found. An established exhibition space within Croydon’s main retail shopping area. Whilst this was only for four days, Wednesday to Saturday, given that I feel I needed to be there almost all of the time to look after the expensive projection equipment I was to use.

The other activity was preparing and starting to distribute publicity. Icreated two versions on a tw-sided colour flyer. Printing these myself on reasonable quality double sided 250 sgm paper with my Epson P800, three flyers from each A4 sheet. These looked as follows:

Flyer for use in places away from Croydon and the internet:.

The major virtue in this flyer was an attempt to encourage people who hadn’t travelled to Croydon before and were perhaps expecting it to be quite a long train journey given it’s about 19 miles from central London.

So I’ve tried to give prominence to the journey times and the short walking distance from either of the two stations that can be used.

Flyer for local Croydon use:

These have a more detailed description of the expected content of the exhibition. Note that after doing a first round of prints I made the decision to increase the size for many,

Created in InDesign by Graham Land, March, 2019

A poster was created and distributed in A4 and A5 sizes: Again using a reasonably think matt paper.

I placed copies of the flyers on a number of facebook forums, including the RPS documentary group and a couple of local camera groups. Physically I distributed copies to all fourteen of my collaborators, inviting them to a private viewing on the evening of the opening day.

I changed my mind about which printers I was to use. The printer I’d had good experience with had moved to Sittingbourne, this was just too difficult to travel to and I wanted to be sure of a fast turn-around.So I went to one of the central london printers I’d had contact with before. The most convenient from where I live in Croydon being Metro Imaging in Clerkenwell. They are close to Farringdon station which is on a fast direct line from East Croydon, my local station.

I started with a set of simple test prints on my favoured paper of choice for the project. This was C-type matt. There were several reasons for choosing this paper. I knew from previous experience that at least some on the images looked good with this paper. It was also the same paper that I would have used if colour enlargement hadn’t proven to be so time-consuming for me. It’s also reasonable rugged compared to some of the giclee papers which all too easily can have their ink disturbed. These were to be shown without glass protection. I was however concerned about the degree I was enlarging the image. At this time I planned to go to A1, much larger a size than I’d made prints from before. However, the results looked fine: Turnaround ws excellent, uploaded the images in the morning, picked them up late afternoon.

The first set of test prints, Graham Land, 28th March 2019

The first set of test prints, Graham Land, 28th March 2019

‘B’ holding up the A1 sized print of Carol, Croydon Buddhist Centre in THE LOFT exhibition space.

Taken by Graham Land, 29th March, 2019

The second set of test prints also went well. I did just two prints, A1 and A2. I was concerned that as the C-type matt colour paper actually has a bit of a lustre that there was a risk there could be disturbing reflections from the overhead lights, given that it’s a very low ceiling., So the main purpose here was to hang them up, without disturbing the art exhibits currently on show.

This went well, both prints passed fine, the A1 size looked better than I’d hoped. I began to question my thoughts on size.

References

Read, S., “Exhibiting Photogprahy"; a practical guide to displaying your work” 2nd. Ed. 2014 London, Focal Press.

Exhibition: Mundo Latinx, Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street London W1G 0BJ. Running from 8th February to 4th May, 2019.