Portsmouth Guildhall Exhibition – realisation

When I put in a proposal for a solo exhibition at Portsmouth Guildhall, although I was excited about my idea and had thought it out well, I had no comprehension of what would happen if I was selected.  Which I was :).

Putting together my first solo exhibition, of eighteen monochrome street photographs (half of which were not taken when I was was selected) with two wonderful curators, in a prestigious room at The Guildhall has been the steepest of learning curves.   Just the pressure of getting the works printed, checked and hung was enough (all within 4 weeks!).  Working out a process of how to hang the pictures in the way I wanted took a lot of time and working out.   All the associated jobs around marketing, preview evenings and invite lists added the stuff I had to learn.    I have probably spent 10-14 working days on this since I was selected (and it’s not over yet!), but of course it has been worth it.

  • I have learnt how to write a winning proposal of course, I think the key there was to answer all the questions asked and give it due time and consideration.
  • I learnt how to reflect on the ideas I had and how to build them into something that had form.
  • I learnt to listen to advice and ideas from others and change my own if necessary
  • I have proved the mantra of the 5P’s yet again – Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

Being an ex-project manager pays off sometimes and I was able to keep all the tasks in hand and didn’t forget anything.  Long discussions with my husband around how certain things would work resulted in some truly brilliant solutions – the absolute best one starting with him saying… “I’ve just had a really silly idea….” – and that was the one we went with – because the most creative ideas seem silly to start with.   Although I might well think twice before suggesting a ‘random’ hanging plan again – random is a nightmare!

The actual hanging went almost without a hitch, but took over 3 hours – and I was very grateful for having so many people who had come to help and could rush to hold something or pass something as required!  Thank you all 🙂

The pictures below detail my planning (mainly on my lounge floor!).

layout 2
The original hanging scheme – it’s over 4m wide
The map of my route, I walked it many many times!
The map of my route between the two buildings, I walked it many many times and took 100’s of pictures
Cut down to 40 hopefuls
Cut down to 40 hopefuls
Sorting out what to keep and what to leave out.
At the venue, sorting what to keep and what to leave out.
The test prints arrive!
The test prints arrive!
The final prints arrive
The final prints arrive
Starting to test the layout for real on the carpet.
Starting to test the layout for real on the carpet.
A rush to the DIY store for some backing paper
A rush to the DIY store for some backing paper
More layout ideas
More layout ideas and such a lot of measuring
Finalising the hanging plan
Finalising the hanging plan (and taking over the dining room for a few days)
The template goes onto the wall – this bit took the longest but was well worth the investment in time
Starting to add the pictures
Starting to add the pictures
And it's done!
And it’s done!

Find out more about the exhibition on my website, on the University of Portsmouth  or on the Portsmouth Guildhall website here.

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