I am very pleased with the way that the exhibition began. With our display being in the reception area of the college and because we wanted a large open space for people to walk around the team overseeing the HSAD degree show agreed to use it for staging the opening speeches. It did mean that when we arrived, the television screen and our table had both been moved so that a small stage to be erected but we had a quick shuffle about and put them where we were happy with them. We also removed all the tables and chairs from the common areas so that people had the necessary viewing distance needed to get the best view of our images. I was disappointed to see that one of the group had brought in their own table and moved their postcards and pen portrait away from everyone else’s and put them by their own work, this wasn’t what we had a agreed as a group and simply highlighted that they were doing their own thing. We decided to leave it and not cause a fuss at this stage, finally adding a vase of flowers to the table that held our own postcards. Then we were ready.
People were looking around our photographs while they were waiting for the show to open and I could already hear some positive comments.
The show was opened by Douglas Dunn, a poet that studied at Hull University and wrote a book of poems about Terry Street, the street that he lived on while he was here. He is now a professor at St Andrews University in Scotland. He spoke some very encouraging words and then an actor read a couple of his poems before visitors were encouraged to visit some of the other exhibition areas.
I hung around the photography area for about an hour, talking to some of the people that we had invited and generally chatting with visitors. I received some great comments about the exhibition in general with many saying that they hadn’t seen such a strong collection of images at a degree show in a long time and that the large sized prints really showed the photos off at their best quality. A few people had written in our guest book and their comments were also very positive.
Personally, all the comments I received were very encouraging and supportive. People were saying how great my photos looked on the wall and remarking at the detail in them. I did think that maybe a copy of the original painting nearby would have given the photos more context so that they would have required less explanation but perhaps I will do that if I exhibit them again anywhere. I also wondered if I should have had the explanation about my own work next to my photos but in the end I agreed with our decision to not do that and to let people see the work, make their own mind up about it and then come back to it if they wanted to.
I had brought some family along to see the show, including my brother, a tour guide for the National Trust who volunteers around Flatford and encouraged me throughout the course. He was very taken, particularly with The Hay Wain and has offered to purchase it. I think a loan may be better with a promise to return it to me for short periods if I arrange to exhibit it in other places.
I was very pleased to see Roland Gift, singer with the Fine Young Cannibals walking through the degree show even if no one else on the course was old enough to know who he was! One of the group had invited Peter Levy, presenter and reporter at Look North to see the show and he seemed to be pleased to call in after his broadcast.
Before people began to slope off there was time for a few quick photographs of most of the group together for almost the last time.
I had hoped to pop in and see the Year 2 exhibition and another exhibition that launched at the HIP Gallery but I was talking with people so much that I didn’t have time. I went instead to meet up with some family for a celebratory supper feeling quite pleased with myself!
Later on Facebook, I received another string of positive and encouraging comments from people who had not been able to attend the launch event. My work was also among some that caught the eye of one Twitter journalist. I feel quite proud of what I have achieved.