Yesterday’s private view of the exhibition went very well, I think. Twenty or so people came along, and thankfully seemed to like it.
I hadn’t had much feedback on how it looked in the room, so I was pretty nervous. I spent half an hour pretty much alone in there beforehand, convincing myself that the walls looked crowded…or that actually no, there was too much blank space. I also noticed every slightly off-angle, and tried unsuccessfully not to actively look for typos (none as yet, amazingly). One of the first people to arrive was one of my subjects, and he pointed out that I’d called him a ‘Countryside Arranger’ instead of ‘Countryside Ranger’. Thankfully he thought this rather-extreme promotion was great. Strangely, it’s much easier to relax once the mistake duck is broken, so that turned out to be a good start.
It was lovely to see people walking around, reading captions and chatting to each other. I particularly liked that everyone spent a while doing so – there was enough content that people could take as much or little time as they wanted. It felt like a solid thing, which hasn’t been the case with other projects I’ve put together – sometimes you just look at the photos for a few minutes, and that’s it. So I was very pleased the show worked in that respect (I’d no idea whether it would).
In fact, watching people walk around was the most satisfying moment of the project, I think. I was already pleased with how it had worked out, but at that moment it was all obviously worth it. Sorry to get a bit artsy, but that’s why I like doing this kind of thing – it’s not for its own sake, it’s to provide some interest and, hopefully, brief entertainment. I’m not bothered whether my name’s attached, although I won’t pretend that isn’t nice, it’s just knowing that at least somebody (who isn’t a direct friend or relative) finds it time well spent. That’s properly fulfilling.
Anyway, here’s how it looks:
There are about 60 photos+captions in total, and right in the middle is a single black/white photo. This caused something of a commotion over the course of the project – I had an exciting argument with my teachers about it, in front of the whole class, and it was mentioned a fair bit last night. It’s one of my favourite shots, so I put it front and centre, and quite a few people singled it out as one they liked. But one lady was clearly baffled, and possibly thought I shouldn’t be allowed near a camera again. Did I not realise that photo was different from all the others? I assured her I did, and I didn’t think it mattered. It’s entertaining how differently people approach these things.
The mix of people was pretty odd for me, as there were humanists, uni classmates, and my parents too. These three worlds have never crossed over before, and I’d occasionally look up to see people chatting who really don’t exist at the same place and time. Very strange. Everyone was united in a passion for jelly babies, though, and we got through two large boxes over the evening. After about an hour we stopped to say a few words about the show, at which point the BHA unexpectedly said some very complimentary things about me, which was very nice of them. I also got to do the many important thank-yous in public, which was great.
I tried to talk to everyone in the room, and was a bit dazed afterwards. It’s all a bit of a blur now, but a very pleasant one. I’m really grateful to everyone who came along, and am very happy with how the show turned out. It should be up until at least the end of April. There are a few more photos from the evening here.
Can’t think about it any more, though – the next month has to be solid uni work. But I go into it content.