I mentioned in my last blog post that I have an exhibition coming up soon. This is my first exhibition of this size so I thought I would break down the details.
The exhibition is based on a series of photo’s I made from the 2017 Cyclocross (cycling) series in Estonia . This series which this project is based off was 7 races long, but I was only able to attend 5 of the races. The races were held in very diverse parts of Estonia from beaches to forests from snow to mud.
I didn’t start out with the idea of making an exhibition from this series but as I got closer to finishing the project, I started to think how nice it would be to see these pictures printed and hanging on walls for people to see.
So once I decided that I should try to exhibit these pictures somewhere my next question was where. My preference was to do it in Tartu as this is where I live, a town with a large population for Estonia (just under 100’000 people). There is no dedicated photography gallery in Tartu but there are a few art galleries. I don’t know anybody from any of them so I would have to be persuasive if I was going to get in there. Then there are museums, a lot of them including a sports museum. Again no contacts in any. Final option is to look for some public space like inside of shopping mall or restaurant. Here I have more connections but there is no mall or restaurant in Tartu with any significant connection to cycling. So from these options it was clear that the best place would be in the Sports Museum. As I don’t have any contacts in this museum I started by asking around and with some luck and help from friends a few days later I was sitting in a meeting with the museum. It didn’t take long before we had an agreement to do an exhibition two months later in early January!
The museum has a lot of space, more than I expected. There are 3 rooms, some with white walls and others with brick, but rails for hanging pictures throughout. My initial plan was to exhibit 20 pictures, but after reviewing the size I found I could certainly exhibit more.
How big to print the pictures is my next question. Most of my pictures will be landscape with a few being in portrait rotation. The exhibition rooms are fairly large, but not huge, so very big prints would not be appropriate, while on the other hand A4 size I think wouldn’t do the pictures justice. I estimated that people would stand about a metre to 0.7m back from the wall to view the pictures and a size around 60cmx40cm would be optimal. Just to add some spice I thought to have one picture printed extra large, like a metre wide or larger and place this at the end of a passage way or on a far wall. I don’t own any pictures or have previous prints at this size, so I made some ‘mock-ups’ using paper and masking tape and stuck them on my wall at home. I usually don’t dwell for hours on small details so once I was happy with the sizes I moved on to next question - how to print? Without having a massive budget there are a few choices available. Photo-paper, photo-paper stuck onto foam board and canvas. I don’t like canvas prints so no to that. Photo-paper is cool and I recently saw an exhibition in Narva museum where the pictures were simply printed on photo paper and then hung with wooden dowel on top and bottom. Dowels were attached with bulldog clips. Bulldog clips doubled as hanging mounts. This was good and worked nicely in Narva. The last option I don’t have much experience in but looks smart in my opinion. The pictures are printed on photo paper and then glued onto foam. Estonians call this technique fotokapa, so I will also call it fotokapa here. fotokapa has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Good is that it is solid, looks professional especially with a white border and is lightweight. The disadvantage is that it can start to bend in moist conditions and also the edges can easily get chipped or dented, which ruins the look of the whole picture. On the other hand the price is slightly more than double than the price of plain photo paper. Both options can be framed, this helps increase their life but then the price doubles again.
So after a lot of thinking and google image searching I decided to go with fotokapa unframed.
There are a few printing companies in Estonia so I had a good choice. I calculated that I would need €600 to cover the costs of printing. The agreement with the museum was that the printing costs would be covered on my side, so i decided to launch a crowd funding campaign. I set the campaign goal to reach €600 in 4 weeks, after 2 days I reached my goal! I was really surprised and grateful with the generosity of the supporters.
So that is where we are now. I have the exhibition space booked for 6 January, funding for printing and pictures ready to be printed. Whats next is to start printing, this can take some time as a few test prints might show issues that need to be corrected but luckily I still have time still on my side with little over a month before the opening. I look forward to keeping you updated dear reader.