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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Surfaces and Strategies – Exhibition Evaluation

Having an exhibition has really opened my eyes to how my work could be viewed by others.

I have been asked why I decided to to start the MA course, when in the questioner’s opinion, my previous work was already very good.  This was interesting and not a question I had really though about myself.  In answering her question, I now realise how important to me the challenge of the MA has been.  Initially I enrolled because I thought it would be an interesting thing to do.  I hadn’t realised that I was craving the technical and mental challenge the course has brought me.

A long and indent discussion with a fellow photographer about my ‘Only Human’ work was eye opening.  To the visitor, the images were about tonality in the image.  He was shocked that I had not used luminosity filters to get the tonal ranges seen in my images.  To be honest, I haven’t ever used one of these filters (and don’t even know where they are on Photoshop!). He was interested in the minimal post processing that I do in Lightroom, and that I tried to get everything as right as I could in camera first.

He challenged me about some of my images – their tonal ranges, their crop and my choice of parts of bodies to photograph.  I was able to justify and explain each of my images him, which encouraged me that I had made the right choices for the portfolio.

There was a really interesting conversation about the value of labels.  The photographer always includes labels on his images to see it people agree with his take on things.  I on the other hand do not include labels.  I explained that I do not want to tell the tale, but want the viewer to read the story.  He found this interesting and asked how the viewer was to get an indicator about where to start interpreting the work.  My response was “the title of the project” and that the viewer needs to make their own links between images.

At the end of the discussion , he gave me his opinion as to the top 3 and bottom 3 of my images.  Each one with his opinion.  Whilst, I didn’t agree with his views, it was really interesting to hear how someone else viewed the images and to discuss this with him in depth.

The installation it self was great fun to curate and install.  Thinking about the placement and how the work is presented has made me realise that this public display of work should be as personal to me as the work itself.

Overall, I have enjoyed hearing what people have to say about the work and am hopeful that the exhibition has prompted people to consider taking part in future project.

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