Sunday, August 6, 2017


This is what I ultimately came up with.

It's hard to convince yourself to leave well enough alone with only a few pots because part of you keeps niggling at you telling you that some juror is going to see pots on the display that sway him/her in a way that the individual images did not.

That makes SO little sense that it's hard to believe it holds any sway when composing a booth slide, but it does. I think it might do so because most shows ask for SO few individual images. I wish all shows would ask for 7-10 images of individual work.

I do believe there is a HUGE range of options for presenting images that are still honest while not strictly journalistic. That is, we all know that the images we present need to be visually interesting in and of themselves.

Sure, many of us still try to make the images visually interesting and still honest, but the reality is that most images that get potters into the A shows don't really represent the pot as seen in a real-life 3D situation.

Part of the reason for those dolled-up, super-dramatically lit, high-contrast, overly-saturated images is an attempt at compensation. That is, we are only TOO aware of the disadvantage with which we are saddled when presenting 3D work in a 2D format. So we understandably compensate.

I know potters whose work I don't recognize when I peruse the online images of Cherry Creek, Des Moines, St Louis, Fort Worth, etc. But I understand why they present the images they do. Quite often, as good as their work might be, it's simply too subtle to present journalistically. 

Someone suggested the idea of shooting one side only as if in the booth. I've often thought of that. I've come to believe that there are two basic reasons a booth image is required: 1. To see if the individual images are really representative of the body of work, and 2. To envision what the booth might look like as viewed at a show (will it fit in with the rest of the exhibitors?)

If the only question being asked by the jury, relative to the booth image was #1, then a partial booth would not only serve the purpose, it would arguable do so even better than a full booth.

But if #2 is the primary reason for the booth image, then the partial booth won't work.

I wish a show would state their purpose for a booth image. If they did then a potter could equip himself with either/or booth images, depending on the show.
I do kinda wish  (I say with great regret. Yesterday's attempt took all day) that I had taken a few shots with only a few pieces on the shelves.

Maybe I ought to pay a photoshop master to take the pots off the shelves via digital magic. 

 When I've sat on juries I've noticed how much I depend on the booth shot to tell me the real story. I'm not nearly so seduced by hot single image shots as I am turned off by horrid booth shots.

Pottery booth shots taken at shows are quite often terrible. Even if the potter has taken the time to "neaten things up a bit". The lines are crooked, the wrong things show, and the lighting is usually bad.

I know I should score them high points for integrity, but I admit that I don't.

And I was just getting ready to get on a soap box about how we artists owe it to each other to show up at art fairs with the best looking booths we can manage. When we let our booths lapse -- need to be repainted, Pro-Panels frayed and shabby, canopy no longer even close to white, assembly wobbly and off plumb... we aren't just hurting our own chances at that art fair -- we're hurting every other artist at that show.

That's how art fairs work at their best. We artists trade on the work, weight, and reputation of all the other artists in that show. We owe it to each other to clean up our acts.


  1. "Maybe I ought to pay a photoshop master to take the pots off the shelves via digital magic."

    Better to have customers pay you to empty the shelves!

  2. you have to consider just how many slides they will be looking at, at what speed. What will stop them in their tracks,and say wow,yeah, we've got to have this one in....
    your work is stunning and beautiful. Here's wishing you success

    1. Thanks gz. I've always loved this booth (Dar hates it because, when broken down for transport, though the parts aren't heavy, they are too cumbersome for her size).

      Over the years I've added risers and panels to block of sections. I also try to never have a piece resting directly on the shelf -- every piece is on either a big riser or one of many Plexiglas risers I carry with me.

      It's now over 30 years old, but I've refinished the cherry uprights twice and replaced the shelves four times.

      It's been a good ol' system for me.