This year I’ve tried applying to more calls for entry and various photography contests to get my work out there and grow as an artist. Earlier this semester I applied to a call for entry for a student exhibition close to home in Philly. The call for entry was put out by photolounge, a film developing and printing business and gallery in center city. I submitted some current work that I had done in the last few months at the time, pulling from three different shoots to show a range of what I do. I didn’t think much of it, and hadn’t wanted to get my hopes up, but a few weeks later I got an email saying at least one of my photos had been selected, and that they would get back to me with more information when they had sorted through everything.
I was over the moon as I was just finishing up one of the Marywood exhibitions I was in this year, and was very tired from all the work that went into putting that show together. As much as I love the student exhibitions we do here at Marywood, it was so exciting to be in a show where I had to be selected, and it was a real confidence boost and encouragement after all the work I had put in this year. What made this show even more exciting was that my family and friends could actually attend the opening since it was so close to my hometown. Even better, the open house for the gallery happened to fall on Marywood’s Easter break, so I was able to attend as well!
Eventually I got an email with a link to which of my images had been selected, and I was very happy that it happened to be my favorite of the three. I had submitted three portraits, two color, and one black and white. While it wasn’t a part of my eye project that I have been working on and recently finished, it did have some of the same ideas, with much of the face being obscured by a hat the model was holding. It’s a theme I’ve been noticing in my own work, that is somewhat intentional but also comes through in unexpected ways. While at the gallery opening, I was discussing with a fellow artist my ideas behind the photo, as well as my eye project, and they pointed out the same themes I had noticed myself. This was a weirdly validating experience, as I realized that even strangers were able to understand the inner workings of my art.
Getting to see so many different people’s work in the gallery was a very fun experience, with many people having such different styles. I love drawing inspiration from other artists and photographers, and being able to get inspiration from people who are my age. There were a few light painting and double exposures that really caught my interest in particular. I’m hoping this summer I can find some time to do more experimental work like that and further expand on my skills outside of portraiture.
The exhibition will be open through the 29th of April, and is open to the public for free during photolounge’s regular hours. For anyone going on the Philly Art Museum trip and looking for something to do before the museum opens, consider checking it out!