Feeling the need to be more artistic in my photography, I recently joined a new photo club in Portland, “Photo Club PDX” (PCPDX). They have regular monthly meetings and present a challenge to members – meant to inspire and/or cajole you into trying something different. The first challenge for me was #10, in which we had to pretend we were submitting work to a gallery, selecting 5 recent photos and writing an artist’s statement. The club then recruited 4 professionals to judge the submissions. Since I haven’t done any non-astro photos for a long time, I decided to submit some of my recent astrophotos. Naturally, I didn’t expect that any of my images would be selected, so it was a surprise to see my “NGC6188” among the “winners” (there aren’t really any winners because this was just an exercise). It was particularly interesting because the judge who selected this image is very much into fine art photography, so he prefaced his comments by saying that it is not a photo he would ever choose for a fine art show or publication, but he was just fascinated by the intricate structures and colors. There were some really great images submitted by others. You can see all the submissions here: https://www.photoclubpdx.com/challenge-entries/2018/10/9/challenge-10-submissions
This experience reminded me of another close encounter I had with fine art many years ago. My wife (who is an artist) decided to enter some pieces in an art show at our county fair. This was long before you could find out about such things on the internet, so we just loaded up 4 pieces and headed off to the fair grounds. They told us that she could enter only 3 pieces, so she was about to pick one to remove when I noticed that one of them was a woodblock print made from her original brush drawing. I had actually carved the image in wood and made the print, so suggested that we enter it under my name, to which she agreed. It won best in show! She probably would have been quite annoyed with me had it not been for her taking first place in 2 categories with the pieces entered under her name. The woodblock print sold at the show and the image was later used in a worldwide campaign for the International Year of the Disabled.
On a completely different topic, I will be at the Prairie High School Yuletide Bazaar this Saturday from 9 to 4. This is the big one! There are over 200 vendors, and not just any vendors, as there is a multi-year waiting list to get into this event, and they allow only original, handcrafted items, so they tend to be the best vendors and craft products. If you have time for only one craft show this season, this should definitely be the one. The address is 11311 NE 119th St., Vancouver, WA. Admission is free. Although WA state has a sales tax, I build this into the pricing, and suspect that most other vendors do the same. I hope to see you there!