Its been an interesting 2 weeks. Lots of highs and lows. The high points being the start and finish. The low points, weekdays. Weekdays were quiet. You get about 20 people per day. At weekends you get about 20 people per hour. I know next time to only do weekends as its more fun. The opening launch was fantastic. It was incredibly scary because there was nowhere to hide. It was me in the spotlight. All the Flickr faves in the world can’t prepare you for inviting the media and the public to comment on your work face to face. If no-one turned up it would have been incredibly depressing. Thankfully people turned up and it filled me with the confidence to sit in the exhibition for 2 weeks. I could say to visitors that I’ve been compared to Chambre Hardman. Its validation, a seal of approval. *stamp* “You’re doing ok, keep going.” I felt that I could handle any bad comments thrown my way because my work had been compared to film. I could tell people, the ones who said “Ahhh Photoshop”, that they were using “Photoshop” decades ago but you never knew it. So that was the start. Surrounded by friends, family, people from the internet and penny sweets. It was a great night.
Weekdays were tough. Its a long slow day. You’re sitting there watching people walk past and not notice you. A few people stop by, walk around and maybe comment. It helps you keep going, but generally you feel like something is wrong. Its not working, why aren’t people coming in? I noticed on a sunny day the reflection was so bad in the window that you couldn’t actually see in. By week 2 I had put up prints below the reflection line and this was attracting more people. Still, it wasn’t as busy as the weekend and in the end I figured its just the way things go. Its hard going sitting there. I didn’t want people to come in just to flatter me. I just wanted people to come in so I didn’t feel like I was failing. But come the final weekend I realised I hadn’t done anything wrong. I didn’t fail. It was just that weekdays are quiet there. Lesson learnt. Get someone else to cover weekdays.
The final weekend was just as good, if not better than the opening night. 5 minutes after opening on Saturday and the place was busy. A few hours later and people from the internet came to see me. People I didn’t think could make it appeared as if by magic. I was so shocked I didn’t even realise who they were. Saturday was a great day. The gallery was busy. Whatever I did worked. Sunday was even busier, which was surprising as I thought it would have been a little quieter. More people signed the guest book than they did on the launch night. It was so busy I didn’t have time to get my lunch till about 3pm and even upon returning I found people trying to get in. Some peoples comments were just, well I didn’t stop smiling basically. One woman said I should be in the Tate. She had just visited the latest exhibition and didn’t like it as much as she liked my work. An American said something similar too. “Its what people should be doing. Its amazing. You should be in the Tate.” I think I’ve officially worn out the word “Thanks.” I’ve been thanking so many people for being so kind that I need a new way to thank people. “Thanks” seems so small compared to what people have said.
I’ve been saying to people that I’m not “arty.” I don’t take pictures of things that require you to study them for 5 hours just to understand them. I take photos of things that I think look good, and I want the end result to convey what I felt when I was there. So for people to come in and say the cathedral photo looks scary, that the sunsets are amazing and that Liverpool looks incredible is fantastic. Its 2008, the Capital of Culture year and I wanted to show off Liverpool as best I could. Its great that people got that. Its not a complex exhibition. Its just pretty pictures. I’m happy. Happy that it was successful. Happy that people didn’t turn up and start ranting about the evils of HDR (only one person did via the comments book). Happy that there was a big interest in my book and I now that come September its going to be a great success.
Thanks once again to Switch Media, C3 Imaging, Moorfields Photographic, Another Media and of course Albert Dock for letting me use the space. Thanks to friends and family for all their help and support. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and enjoyed the blackjacks too.