Thursday, 11 March 2010

Sky's the Limit


Last Friday was the reception for my exhibit. The exhibit itself looks great, and I'll have pictures up soon - but the reception itself...that was a huge disappointment.

First and foremost, that event I created on Facebook? 28 people RSVP'd saying they'd come (about 100 said no), but of those 28, one showed up. I shouldn't be exaggerating, actually. It wasn't really 28, since both my brothers said they'd come but then had other plans (I already knew that...) The one person who showed up was boyfriend, since he was there to help me set up anyway.

All in all, it was a fiasco.

I originally got the gallery for March back in December, when the curator of the gallery offered it to me - usually, the space is rented by professional (or semi-professional) artists who are looking for a local venue so they can get more exposure. They're almost always adults with lots of experience, but I'm not - I'm a student at the school, not an adult, have a couple years experience, and certainly want/need local exposure. I was thrilled to be offered the space for an exhibit all my own. Students and teachers at my school would finally see my work, and people from outside the school would as well! Being in the lobby of a large and frequently-used auditorium, the gallery lends itself very well to helping local artists get their names out there.

It took months of preparation and a lot of effort for me to get everything together. Practically from that day on I organized photos on the computer, edited them, tweaked stuff, did budgeting, organized frames and prints I already had, thought critically about print sizes, did some more budgeting, and finally made a last push to gather all my materials together. You may remember several past posts in which I expressed how difficult it was to narrow my larger prints down to only 17 (from over 40). At least I saved some money. And take my word for it, I'm glad I didn't print so many - originally, I thought I'd have too many photos...then thought I'd have too few...turns out I had just enough! The setup looks great, it really does, and I'm thrilled it got off the ground and happy with all the positive comments I've gotten so far. It's the reception that still bothers me.

I called the curator of the exhibit about fifteen minutes before opening to ask where he was and what the situation was with food for the reception. He had said that there would be food, after all - it's an art opening reception, and the first Friday of every month is full of them around here (it's an official Philadelphia-area event). When I called, though, he said "Oh...hi Jimmy. Actually, I'm in the city right now..." and I freaked out (inside). There was another art reception that apparently took precedence. All but one of the art teachers were there instead of at mine (and believe me, I'd asked if they were going to show up), and the one who wasn't there was visiting his daughter, so I excused that. At any rate, after the call to the curator, I had to go to Acme (luckily a minute down the road) and buy food for my reception. Upon arriving back at school, having just essentially poured $55 more of my own money into the exhibit, I found all the doors to the gallery locked. My boyfriend was in there and let me in, but when I called Security to ask if they could open the doors, "because I'm having an art reception you see", the guy said "I wasn't aware of any art reception tonight." According to him, they "don't tell [Security] these things." He came and unlocked the doors so people could get in.

Well, they could have gotten in, that is, if they'd shown up. My grandmother came, at least, which was a pleasant surprise. My only living grandparent, who hates driving in the dark (hates it!) drove about 50 minutes (maybe 90 minutes, round trip, with the traffic at that hour) just to see my photos hanging in a gallery...but the curator of the gallery couldn't even be bothered to let me know, in advance, that he wouldn't be at the reception and I'd have to provide food and such. No other teachers showed up. None of my other friends showed up. I made allowances for the ones who don't live in Pennsylvania, of course, and the ones in the musical who had rehearsal, but the others...nope. Over 20 of them said they'd at least drop by, and I didn't see them at all that night.

Initially, I felt worried, then anxious, then somewhat offended, and then just plain hurt. I'm over it now, of course, but still. I've never been one to take things personally - I may jump to conclusions and do that on occasion, but not this time. No one would actually get my hopes up and then not follow through, just to spite me...right? Right?

The thing is, communication just didn't exist. It's not like there was some unexpected event, or a lapse in publicity effectiveness - simply put, no one took it seriously. I only have about 100 "fans" on Facebook, but I invited most of my friend list, including everyone at school...I'm not offended that people said "no" to the invite, or that some said "maybe" and never showed. I am, however, offended that 20 of the people whose RSVPs still say "yes" at this moment just didn't come at all, and gave no explanation!*

Moving on. Really.

I've taken up an interest in astronomy lately - deep-space astronomy especially. This is an interest spawned from my second-semester science course - Astronomy - which is more basic and introductory than I might like, but it's gotten me off on my own path to the cosmos.

For stargazing, I use binoculars (roughly 7x50, my sister's bird-watching ones) and my camera. Naturally, it didn't take long for me to mix this newfound hobby with my well-established hobby of photography - Nikon D60 + 300mm zoom lens + tripod pointed up + 30 second shutter and 10 sec self-timer = good pictures of stars and such.

Unfortunately, there's this thing called rotation that the Earth does, and as the Earth moves, the positions of celestial objects appear to change. To a camera on a tripod on the surface of the Earth, everything in the sky (except airplanes) is essentially equidistant, meaning that Mars (a little closer to us than the Sun) appears to move just as much as Rigel (775 light years away). It's only an arcsecond (max), or perhaps a fraction of an arcsecond even, in that 10-second exposure, but that's enough for the stationary 62mm objective at a 300mm (18º) FOV to take in its minimal movement and register it as a diagonal line. That means I need a "clock mount" for the tripod - a component that locks onto the celestial co-ordinates of whatever and stays there, even when it (a star, a planet, etc) sets. This means I could lock onto the Orion nebula (near his belt) and leave the shutter open for an hour or more and get a totally clear picture. I did do a 20 second shot of the nebula area, but the stars around it "moved" so much that all you see is a blur. The nebula is there, but it doesn't look like much...a blur like everything else. Too bad.

Gotta get me one of those mounts...just...I'm not entirely sure what they're called. I'm sure my teacher can help me find one. That'll be a cool investment. If people will buy photos of rural Chinese landscapes and the foggy Yellow Mountains, they'll definitely buy shots of deep-space objects!


That's all for now. Thanks for reading. Comments welcome, as always!

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