Approaching and Making a Submission to a Gallery

Presentation today by Addie Elliott and Liz Halls on topic.

  • Will your work add to the stable of artists they currently represent?
  • Research the gallery. Treat it like a job interview. Find out how they started, what their work and themes are and who they represent.
  • Artsy is a powerful top quality auction site. Need to be invited in and for galleries and exhibitions. However, there are many other good sites to sell your work. Explore to see which are best selling platforms that might be interested in your work.
  • Telephone the gallery for information on submissions. Addie says it is amazing she only gets about one or two calls a month. It is an opportunity to engage and she says she always looks out for the caller’s email.
  • Your first image you show is the most important. So many people get this wrong. Ask a wide range of people what impact your images have. They may like ones you are not so keen on. Understand why they like/don’t like and take on board.
  • They represent 26 artists but only one is from the Netherlands. Message is the world is global and small so go to find your gallery and not just use the local one that is available.
  • Met one of her current stable Choi from South Korea 17 years ago. They have kept in touch for 15 years and Addie and Liz took him on two years ago. This is how the process works. Choi is currently exhibiting Bamboo at the gallery… Bamboo
  • Relationship starts with selling work. Exhibition is usually a long way down the road. Sales are a critical part of the process of getting known .
  • Seek advice from your gallery. You will get great input. Collaborate. Ask what is selling? What is not? What are customers asking for? Ask about how to present your work.
  • Matthew Murray Stripper Series given as example of collaboration. How to show these to be of interest to all genders. Suggested to make images dark, use a particular paper for sheen and frame under normal glass. Images looked like a set of six glass mirrors on the wall but it drew people in as they sought to understand ‘what is this?’
  • Instagram a key part of the process of establishing and selling. Addie was resistant until Liz convinced her and then they instantly sold a work for Euros 6k and now it is an important part of their delivery.
  • Follow galleries as Addie and Liz will often look on a lonely sunday evening and have found work they like.
  • All 26 current photographers got in via a photography portfolio review. Can’t recommend this highly enough to move you quickly forward. Choose who you want to review your work, pay the fee and use the inputs.
  • Current trends…people manipulating photographs with dots on faces, using a sewing machine other materials. Addie sees this as conceptual and possibly gimmicky but not interesting to their gallery. The Photographers Gallery are keen on this currently. Steph asked if this is a return to the materiality of the image.

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I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.