Exhibition Photography

Hello once again!

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and a lot has happened since then. The flyer for the exhibition has been designed, submitted and will be heading off to the printers imminently, and the object cards/images were handed in yesterday.

A theme that seems to permeate most of my posts is one of learning. Whether it was creating an inventory or applying for funding, there have been obstacles to overcome and lessons to be learnt. I feel that this is especially true for the exhibition photography.

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Just to give some context, I’ll explain roughly how the exhibition is designed. For this, I’ve re-used the above picture from a previous post for visualisation. It’s a little out of date but bear with me.

The St Mary’s 200th Anniversary Exhibition will be displayed on the panels labelled A-K. Originally we were meant to have the shaded panels too, but these were later allocated to the Stockport Air Disaster Exhibition (which looks brilliant). On panels C-G, we are aiming for roughly six A4 images each, with each panel showcasing something unique about the church.

The large bay (I-J) will have more images and of varying sizes. This is because the two panels are much wider than the rest, and it’s the Secret St Mary’s section which could be an exhibition in its own right. Each image is also accompanied by an object card explaining what the viewer is seeing.

What I’ve taken the long route to saying is, there’s a lot of pictures and a variety of different subjects. The photography is something we started almost straight away, but it’s taken five months and usually at least one visit to St Mary’s a week to have a collection of images of suitable quality.

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A good example would be the tower roof. One of the panels we’re displaying will cover some of the graffiti at the top. For almost 200 years, people have been climbing the tower to carve their name into the stone. This is no easy feat, as the tower is 95 feet high, with a thin spiral staircase with several treacherous parts and very little lighting.

I had to make numerous trips up there to retake pictures that were slightly out of focus. Much of the graffiti has eroded away, so it’s quite hard to photograph. After one final trip up on Saturday I finally had the images I wanted.

The process took much longer than it should have done because of my inexperience, and it could have been less frustrating  but I think I’m a better photographer for it. Granted, 2000 pictures of the church in a few months is a lot of practice!

There are two lessons I’ve taken away from this, the first being “listen to advice”. This goes for just about anything, but a number of impasses were scaled when someone gave me some advice that enabled me to pursue images in a different way.

Case in point: I was struggling with the stained glass windows, until Jill at the Heritage Trust suggested I do something different. These are some of my favourite pictures. The second is “be proud of the end result”. Even if it means climbing the tower time after time to retake a single picture.

I hope that when you visit the exhibition, what you see will inspire you to visit the church and see all the amazing things it has to offer.

Until next time,

Jamie

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