Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mary views my show

Well, it's up! All forty-two of the large photos and eighty of the small ones are on the walls of the Ellen Kayrod Gallery in Detroit awaiting Friday's opening reception. So the work is ready but am I? This is a strange feeling, to see months of work "in the flesh," no longer just on my laptop. People ask if I'm excited and I have to admit that is not exactly the word I'd use. Relieved. Satisfied. Grateful. Those words more accurately describe what I'm feeling. A bit uneasy too. And my uneasiness was borne out by an encounter I had while the curator and I were hanging the show on Monday.

One of the maintanence workers in the building that houses both the Senior Learning Center where I took the photos and the gallery where my show is hung, came into the gallery to check things out. His first comment was, "I don't see any pictures of me here." Now, this is a fellow I only saw a few times during the nine months I was working on this project. I don't even know his name and I'm sure he doesn't know mine. But he went on, "I helped you out that time. Remember? Why didn't you take a picture of me then?" I tried to explain that I was focusing on the participants in the classes, but he was having none of it. "There's a picture of Larry, my boss." Well, yes, that picture of Larry working the desk in the lobby was the first one I ever took. And Curtis, his co-worker, was also photographed. But only because he often joined the art class to draw and paint. I tell you, this fellow hammered away at me for a full five minutes without let up. Nothing I said satisfied him. So do you see why I'm a bit uneasy about the opening on Friday?

I was so conscious of this problem while choosing which photos to show. I knew some folks were going to feel left out and probably hurt if their picture wasn't included. But I've met at least a hundred individuals over these past nine months, many of whom were not in the few classes I focused on. And of course the photos I showed needed to satisfy my rather rigorous demands for quality. Anyway, I did the best I could to show as many people as possible in my final edit. That was why I included the 4'x6' photo collage with 80 small prints.

OK, so I just need to clear my head, realize not everyone will be happy, and go on from there. I feel good about the show myself and terribly grateful to the wonderful people who let me into their lives. Friday will be fine if I just stay true to myself.


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