The first photo show I was ever in was while taking black-and-white darkroom courses at Monterey Peninsula College: a group show of night photography. Several of my pieces were featured, and it was a beautiful show, at the Cherry Center in Carmel. It felt very professional. That would have been in the late 1990s. A few more group shows followed, each with one or two of my works. I always enjoyed the collaborative aspect, and how the various pieces played off one another.
My first "solo show" was in August 2009. I put that in quotes because
it was at my hairdresser Charlene's. But it was solo, and I
thought it looked good. Charlene herself is an artist—oil painter—and she maintains her salon like a gallery. She always has art up, including sometimes her own pieces. She takes it seriously. I was her first venture into photography, and she said she enjoyed the different, more formal feel. The subject matter of that first show was macro photography. The images were like colorful little puzzle-gems: you had to look closely and use your imagination to understand just what you were seeing.
I've since had four more shows at Charlene's: one featuring images from Hawaii; one, over the Christmas holidays, all red imagery (yes, lots of flowers: poppies, amaryllis, Indian paintbrush, tulips); a lazy show of recycled black-and-white shots from my darkroom days; and most recently—a year ago—assorted photos that included local landscapes and "iPhoneography"—apped images.
A couple of months ago, Charlene asked if I'd do another show. I said sure. Though truth be told, I don't enjoy putting these shows together. I stress over choosing the "best" shots, and then I stress—often for weeks—wondering if my printer will work. It always has in the end, but it's large and complicated, and sometimes it's cantankerous and beeps angrily at me while spitting the paper out, refusing to print. (That printer was the subject of one of my first posts on this blog, back in 2009: It's been a fraught relationship right from the git-go. But come to think of it, setting up the printer was what led to my first show. Things come around.)
I am currently scheduled to hang the new show on Sunday. Have I started printing? Have I even selected all the shots? I thought I had—I thought I'd do a show of Norway pictures—but now I'm reconsidering, thinking I'll do a general travel show: my best shots from recent trips. So I'll pull from New Zealand, Ecuador, Scotland, China, maybe Hawaii again, maybe the East Coast, and, yes, Norway. Maybe I'll be able to find a theme. That would be nice.
So today, I will calmly, pleasurably, choose fifteen of my best images. And I'd like to start printing today as well. Hopefully the machine will give me a break and just . . . print. No beeping. Wish me luck.