Views from the Fortress of Moderate Solitude
A new year.
A new start.
A New Job - Sort of
I’m approaching my eighth year as a Solutions Consultant at Adobe and in 2019, things are happening, professionally and personally. As of January 7, my role has shifted from Creative Cloud and education-related responsibilities, to specifically Adobe Stock solutions consulting. I’m very excited to be heading down this new, but not unfamiliar, path.
A New Show
On the personal side, I’m doing my first photography show in more than 2 decades! And this too is quite exciting. It’s been a long time since I shared my photography in analog form; I’ve spent many years publishing and promoting and sharing my work online through various channels. But from January 17 to March 28, 20 of my photographs will be on display (and - ahem - for sale) at the gallery space at Elmhirst's Resort, in Keene, Ontario.
How did this come about? Several months ago, my friend Caroline Elmhirst approached me about doing a show at the resort. I was definitely interested but knew I’d need some time to come up with a theme, pull the work together, get it printed and framed. The rough hanging date of January 2019 was decided, and I set about planning.
Before the cottage, I knew very little about the area where we are located (Peterborough, Otonobee South-Monaghan and Rice Lake). But, using the cottage as our base of operations, we drove around the surrounding countryside, visiting small towns and enjoying the rolling landscape of forest and farm fly by. After 5 years, there’s still so much more to see and do. I literally count the days from season end to season open.
As it turned out, deciding on the theme was easy; photographs from my past 5 seasons at the cottage (AKA the Fortress of Moderate Solitude) made the most sense, considering that both our cottage and Elmhirst are only 10 minutes apart, and on the same lake. I felt that people visiting the region - and Elmhirst - would be more interested and more likely to buy an image that was a memory and keepsake of their visit to the Kawarthas.
Selecting the right images, however, was not so easy. I wanted to get the right mix, images that told stories or invited stories be created on their behalf. Photographs that shared not just my wonder and passion for photography, but my awe and respect of and for the Kawartha Cottage region.
Even now, although I am happy with my choices for enlargement, the artist and story teller in me still wonders if these images are the perfect ones. I also wanted to show work in different mediums, including metal and canvas.
And speaking of enlargements, let's talk workflow and business for a few minutes. When I agreed to be part of the winter show, I also knew I did not want to break the bank on printing and framing costs. I had to manage those costs so I could keep the print prices low enough to be attractive to passers-by. At least, I HOPE the prices will be attractive! So, how did I do this? I immediately decided that - while signed and dated - these would not be numbered prints. I also decided that I would go with a commercial retail lab for printing and wherever possible, use store-bought - but good quality - frames. I sourced a lab I had used on occasion before, and one that made available a color profile for their printers. So, my workflow:
Selection: Using Lightroom Classic CC, I went through several cullings in Grid mode, moving over my selects to their own Collection in Lightroom.
Processing: On average, every image in the collection received anywhere from 30 - 90 minutes of post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop, over time.
Single Prints: Select and edit (basic retouching, color, exposure, etc.) in Lightroom Classic CC, open in Photoshop CC to do color profile matching and any significant retouching. Save as high quality jpeg.
Diptychs, Triptychs: Select and edit in Lightroom Classic CC, then assemble the collage in Photoshop CC. Color manage in Photoshop. Save as high quality jpeg.
Art Cards: Layout and Design using Adobe Spark Post, as 4x6 posters, save as jpeg from Spark. Do not bother with color management.
Printing: Upload files to photo lab web site for printing. Initially, I sent only a few images for testing/QA. I made sure any auto-enhancement features were disabled. When I was happy with the results, I uploaded the rest over a few days.
Signing: Sign the prints first! I made that mistake with the ONE custom framed print - a black and white Triptych of Burleigh Falls went for framing without first signing the print. Ugh! And yes, I signed the prints themselves, not the mattes. Mattes can be replaced, and if they are, your signature is lost.
Framing: With the exception of 4 prints, all photographs were framed using high-quality, store-bought frames/mattes. I went with simple black frames and white mattes for the most part, so that the image was the focus. Black frames are colour neutral, too, so I think they are a good choice when you don't know what other decor the photograph may have to complement in someone's home. And they are also quite easy to reframe if needed by the customer.
I created the Art Cards (above) for several reasons. First it gave me a way to display pricing, size and medium, but I also wanted to share a little something about each photo, with the audience/buyers. I wanted them to know why each photo in the collection was important to me, why I felt it deserved to be there, hanging on the wall (and hopefully, eventually, on their wall!). They act as an extra keepsake for the buyer, too.
In one week, I hang the show, between two lengthy trips to the US for work. I'm very excited (and a little anxious, truth be told) about showing the work, but I'm also super stoked about the process I've gone through over the past few weeks, culminating in actually printing a decent collection of my work, for the first time in years.
The week of January 20, I've been on training for our video tools, Adobe Premiere and Premiere Rush. Our big project was to produce - exactly - a one-minute video - in 24 hours, on a topic of our choosing. I chose to create a promotional video for my photography show. The final product is below. I thoroughly enjoyed this training and see MORE video creation in my future, from both personal and professional perspectives.
On January 17, along with two other artists, Christopher Thorpe and Sonia Guthrie, I hung about 20 pieces of my photographs at Elmhirst’s. It was energizing and exciting to see my work printed, framed and on display. I’m looking forward to hearing comments and hopefully making a sale or two (or more!) in the coming weeks.