A few weeks ago, I came across a post on Facebook that really caught my attention;
“ … Beginning on September 25th and running through to midnight on October 31st 2015, the 1st edition of the Geoje International Photo Festival is seeking submission of photographs from amateur and professional photographers alike who reside in Korea.
Who can participate? The exhibition is open to all residents in Korea; Korean nationals and foreigners of all ages and all skill levels are welcome, from photo enthusiasts to professionals.
Theme The theme of the exhibition is open as to encourage photographers to display their best works taken inside/outside of Korea. Applicants are encouraged to submit up to 5 entries. All entries will be reviewed and judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit.
When The main exhibition and workshops will be held on Saturday 28th November 2015, from 10am to 9pm.
Juror’s Review Criteria in Order of Importance:
- Does the image communicate the artist’s unique vision? Tells a story? Expresses emotion? Interacts with the viewer?
- Does the subject matter (content, composition, and quality of light) stand out? Show me something I haven’t seen before?
- Did the artist exhibit technical control in the image captured and post-processing?
- Was the quality of the artist’s work consistent across all submissions?
Notification of Acceptance All applicants will be notified by email by November 7th 2015.
Accepted Photographs for Exhibition All accepted photos will be printed by the photographer and framed in a plain black frame on white matt paper …”
I have exhibited in Korea under similar circumstances before, although I have never been able to attend previous events in person. Having struggled with my photography for the past 6-months I was keen to put a small selection of my work in front of my peers to see if my photographs were actually appealing or thought good enough to be exhibited for all to see. Participating in this event would also be a good opportunity to meet with other likeminded people based here on the Korean Peninsular.
Having submitted the required 5 images for consideration, on November 7th I was really pleasantly surprised to find that 4 of my shots had been chosen for the exhibition. This was particularly encouraging as it meant that my work had met the brief set out by the Juror’s review criteria and showed that I had maintained consistency across my body of work, a good thing as I aim to achieve specific themes within my photographs.
One of the things I like to identify in my photography is the sense of a place, and over the past few years, encouraged by my studies, I have been exploring many of the Buddhist temples that pepper this fascinating country. This has become a real labour of love and it took much time and patients to go through the hundreds of images I had stored on my hard drive. Eventually, I managed to identify my favourites, images that embrace the calm and serenity found in these places of worship and images that can be grouped under the general title Exploring a Sense of Place
I was a little disappointed that one of my shots (Temple Playground) had not been chosen for the exhibition as this was actually my favourite of the bunch; it also received much praise from my tutor during an assignment I submitted for assessment at the beginning of the year, however, I am beginning to understand that everyone’s taste in imagery is not the same as mine and it did not take me long to realise that having four of my images selected is really very special.
Having spent a couple of weeks with my printer arranging for my work to be produced, on November 25th, a few days before the exhibition, I spent an exciting couple of hours hanging my work in the exhibition space.
I have never attended an exhibition showcasing my images, so I was sceptical on what the day would bring; to may delight, it happened to be quite amazing.
As it was an open exhibition, there was a vast mixture of images on display from portraiture to landscapes, from local delights to exquisite offerings from exotic destinations around the world. I am glad that this was an exhibition and not a formal competition, I would have been hard put to name my absolute favourite from the 150-images taken by some forty photographers on display.
During the day I reacquainted myself with old friends, made some new ones and really enjoyed chatting with people who showed an interest in my photography. During one of these conversations I was quiet taken aback when someone told me they wanted to buy one of my prints, which she will happily take away after the exhibition finishes in a couple of weeks. There were also other enquiries about my images, so I wait to see if anything materialises from these discussions.
Hitting bed that evening really buzzing about my day, I awoke to further good news about my entries as they headlined a local press release published on the GJ News Plaza website. The article can be found here http://m.gjnewsplaza.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=3797 and although it is written in Korean, it outlines the exhibition and its success within the community.
What a great way to end the year. These past few months have been hard for me as a photographer, however the success of the weekend has ignited a small spark in my creative being and I look forward to slowly building on this over the coming months.