Tips from the InFocus Photo Curator

The InFocus Photo Exhibit & Award call for submissions deadline is Sunday, October 30 at midnight. As the curator of InFocus, this is one of my favorite times of year. It’s like Christmas. Throughout the fall, submissions flow in for InFocus and when the deadline passes, I get the honour of viewing and experiencing so much amazing photography. It truly is a great gift.

 

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I want to give a little insight into what makes up a successful submission. Everyone does things a little differently, but here are a few helpful tips:

  • I look for photographers that have something to say. When you are thinking about what images you will be submitting, ask yourself: What would the first reaction be from someone who has never seen this photograph before? What am I communicating through my aesthetic and technical choices?
  • Your vision as a photographer must come through in your photographs. “Art talk” never sways me if the work itself is not strong. Your artist statement and descriptions play second fiddle to the photographs. The work must be able to stand alone.
  • That said, I read all artist statements and will especially be turning a keen eye to the answers to the theme “The Future” this year. I do appreciate thoughtful responses. If your words provoke deep reflection, this is a good thing.
  • If you worry your photography is too weird/ordinary/conceptual/abstract/etc. – please DON’T FRET : ) You don’t have to fit a mold. I am looking to experience your unique perspective on the world. That is going to be totally different from the next photographer – and that’s OKAY.
  • Submitting three or more images from totally different styles or subjects is fine – if those are your strongest images. If you don’t have a cohesive group of related photographs, only enter your best work.
  • On the other hand, as the curator, I get a much better sense of your vision if you enter three (or more) photographs that relate. It is often in these instances where I may choose one or two or even three of the images you have entered. These would be displayed together.
  • If you have more than one body of work you want considered, I would recommend entering twice, for example. The first three images in submission 1 will be from your first body of work. The second three images in submission 2 will be from your second body of work. This way I can get the best sense of each grouping. Out of the two entered, only one group of images may be chosen, but this is more likely to result in a successful entry than trying to fit both bodies of work within one submission of three images.
  • It is very important that you know the size of your photograph and the finished framed dimensions as well. I look at the sizing when selecting the images. Knowing the dimensions of the gallery, I make sure I choose the right amount of work so the show does not feel too squishy or too sparse. This is why I would really appreciate you considering these dimensions carefully before entering.
  • I do not have a preference for large pieces over small, or vice versa. When people ask me about the size to print their photos, I always advise that you must first look to the work itself. Does it demand a grand scale? Or would it present better smaller, drawing viewers to step closer? There is not right or wrong answer.

 

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If you have other questions, I would love to answer them for you!

 

Just a few days ago I had a great phone call with a student photographer from Ontario. She had lots of relevant questions (many I have answered above) and she is very eager to enter. Her love of photography shone through during our conversation. That is what I am looking for: people who love this creative medium and are exploring it – and the world around them – in their own special ways.

 

With just a few days till the deadline, pop me an email if you have something you’d like to run by me infocus@alexismariechute.com I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Happy submitting!

 

Sincerely,

 

Alexis Marie Chute, InFocus Curator

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