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In March 2014 we held a workshop to help photographers exhibiting as part of Head On.

The is a blog by one attendee, Sarah Barker.

As Head On’s workshop “Getting started with your exhibition” helped me to sell over half the works (26/42) in my “Phone Works” exhibition this year, I thought I’d share a few practical tips for any first timers considering exhibiting with Head On.

Before the workshop, I already had a great DIY gallery booked (Gauge in Glebe) and had selected the work I wanted to show: photographs made with my mobile phone. 

With a limited budget I was looking for the best way to present the work.  Workshop presenters Bob & Sonja Millis from Arthead provided the perfect solution in printing, heat-sealing and mounting the work on foam core.  Not only was it economical, the size (A3+) and weight meant it was easy to pack and transport, complementing the “mobile” theme of the work. 

Gallerist Michael Reid’s workshop presentation inspired me to not be too precious and to focus on getting the work up on the walls of as many buyers as possible.

As suggested by workshop presenter David Watson from Strategy Point, before my show I built my own website with a user-friendly DIY template from Squarespaceand used social media for all my publicity.

An artist friend designed my invite in exchange for a photograph from the show and I used this barter method to “pay” friends who volunteered to mind the gallery for me during the two weeks of my show.

The location of my gallery provided good passing trade.  It was tricky finding a time for my opening night that didn’t clash with another Head On opening, but being in the program and next door to a gallery hosting another Head On show, brought people in the door. 

At the opening I spontaneously decided to edition the work, which resulted in four of my photographs being sold multiple times (“Selfie” was my biggest seller).  With the left over drinks from my opening night I hosted a last chance “closing drinks” event on the closing day to round up the stragglers, resulting in more sales. 

The success was largely due to the price of the work ($150 – $300) using the simple equation of adding up my costs and dividing by the number of photographs in the show.  Even though I knew I wouldn’t sell all the work, I figured this was a good way to recoup some costs and give people an opportunity to enjoy and buy art. 

I guess that my exhibition approach could best be described as “personalised crowd funding” worked for me.

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage