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International Exhibitions - Are there now too many?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by PhotoEcosse, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Maybe I am looking to be persuaded that my cynicism is unjustified but it seems to me that there are now simply far too many international exhibitions of photography and, perish the thought, some seem to be run by organisations with no provenance and appear to be little more than money-making ventures.

    Because I am secretary of a photographic society, rarely a day passes without an invitation or reminder to enter photographs in an international exhibition arriving in my e-mail in-box.

    Some, of course, are very well established and highly prestigious, having been in existence for well over 100 years. The Edinburgh International, for example, is now in its 154th year. In that case, only 202 prints (and no digital projected images) will be selected and displayed and they will be on display in a well designed and well illuminated city-centre gallery, open to the public for a full month.

    Oddly (or perhaps not) most of the better-established events seem to by in UK or in former British colonies. In contrast, the deluge of new "salons" seem to be in eastern Europe and the Middle East. Some only accept DPI entries and, in many, the best that a photographer can hope for is that his successful work will be "exhibited" during a half-day projected screening (along with a thousand others) in a small Serbian or Saudi town.

    Yet - and here is the crunch - the entry fees for those Bosnian or Egyptian "exhibitions" tend to be as high (or higher) as those for long-established events. Sometimes (and I have two examples in recent weeks), the closing date gets extended several times, presumably because the organiser has not yet taken in enough money to satisfy his greed.

    I am becoming increasingly selective about the invitations that I pass on to club members, rapidly leaning towards the view that unless an exhibition has been an annual event for at least 50 years, accepts prints and gives a proper exhibition open to the public for at least a week, then it is probably not worth entering work for. I now seriously question the value of FIAP, RPS, PSA, PAGB or PGU patronage as, frankly, some of those patronages seem to be handed out very easily.

    Am I being too cynical?

    What criteria do other forumites apply in deciding which exhibitions to submit photographs for?

    Do you have any favourites or any that you deliberately avoid?
  2. BungleBill

    BungleBill Active Member

    I share your cynicism.
    But it does make it easier to get lots of letters after your name to prove you are a brilliant photographer.
  3. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Here's an example of yet another that arrived by e-mail this morning.

    It is "accredited" with all the usual patronages and is even sponsored by "the best photographic website in the world" (of which I have never heard). Based in Egypt, I cannot even discover, on their website, where or when the actual exhibition will take place.


  4. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Eric, I think there are far too many who ask for serious quantities of money from entrants in order to be allowed to participate. Cheers, Oly
  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Neither had I, but on checking out their Facebook page, I see a couple of my friends who are no mugs are following it - whatever that says.
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    And it appears that last year's exhibition was at the Egyptian Modern Art Museum.
  7. AlanW

    AlanW Well-Known Member

    I've been getting these for years and have always suspected they were scams given there seemed to be no selection criteria!
    I'm not interested anyway in competitions/salons so I simply add them to my junk mail filter and hit the delete button.

    I see this one claims to be recognised by the RPS, might be worth dropping them an email to see what they say :)

  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    AlanW likes this.
  9. AlanW

    AlanW Well-Known Member

  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The only reason I know is because I was equally cynical. ;)
  11. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    I used to get dozens of invites from foreign exhibitions that I had never heard of and I have been around for a long time.....I have never entered any of them let alone send them money to enter! and people only get what they deserve if they send them their credit card details. Slowly and carefully these invites are now marked as junk mail, and now I am down to about 3 a month. I don't think anybody has anything to gain by entering........
  12. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Yes Nick, I found that.

    Having reviewed the criteria, I intend to put a reasoned case to the Director-General of the RPS suggesting that both the criteria and the application process need to be made much more rigorous. Basically, I believe that RPS should only offer patronage to those exhibitions if doing so either enhances the standing of RPS or provides a useful service to its members.
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I became disillusioned very early with Salons and their extended closing dates. I gave up that treadmill a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I seem unable to stop the constant emails asking me to submit - no matter how often I unsubscribe.
    Yes, most seem to be just money making exercises. Not from me though!
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Sounds eminently reasonable.
    I wasn't trying in any way to undermine or disagree with your point, merely state facts. On one level, as someone who enjoys photographic exhibitions, I would be perfectly happy to see lots more. On the other hand, I share your concern that many are blatant rip-offs, to use rather more rumbustious language than you did.
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Too many for what? I like exhibitions. I go to as many as I can. I have to say, though, that the ones I find least interesting are usually the ones that have lots of different pictures from lots of different photographers; so I very seldom go to them if there are any better options or if I have to go far. When it comes to submitting pictures to exhibitions, I really don't have much interest. I'm not going to take pictures specially for them; my pictures often work best in series, cf The Secret Life of Chairs (and Secret Life of Chairs II and the background to the pictures); and the cost and hassle is excessive.


    PhotoEcosse likes this.
  16. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Too many to be maintained at a consistently high quality. For me, a carousel of projected images, each displayed for 7 seconds, is not an exhibition - or, at least, not one that I would either want to view or to "exhibit" in.

    When I go to an exhibition, I want to see real photographs nicely mounted on a wall and I want to be able to walk past some with hardly a glance and stand in front of others for several minutes.
  17. Jem Raid

    Jem Raid In The Darkroom

    Hello all,

    For those reading this thread and who may feel a little jaded may I offer a couple of 'call for' sites and many of the listings ask for photographs.

    The first one is Wooloo: http://www.wooloo.org/ there is vast range of calls on here some free some where they ask for a fee. The second site: http://www.callfor.org/ only lists those calls that do not ask for a fee. Lots of these festivals and exhibitions are funded by arts councils and local authorities.

    I enter these for the delight I experience in having my stuff shown and receiving inspiring messages from artists who contact me.


    I have found one scammer (so far) Mr Luca Curci of 'itsliquid' and 'artexpo' I sent a link to one of my videos and he accepted it straightaway for an exhibition in Bogota without waiting for the deadline to pass. Odd I thought and then in the small print he sent I found the reason why, he wanted me to pay 150 Euros to show it on a television in the 'Gallery'. He tried the same with a gallery in the Medway towns, who didn't know anything about his proposed 'exhibition'. Sadly he takes money from those who can least afford it.

    Hello Roger,

    Your chairs pics are super, may I ask you to imagine using video software to turn them into a video and having them projected onto the walls of a city in Bulgaria: http://www.facade.arttoday.org/en/2016/open_call

    Or if you or anyone else has some (chairs in the) landscape pics: http://tivaf.org/ the same in Launceston, Tasmania

    Both are free to enter.

    Cheers - Jem

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