Is it just me or do any others of you start to freak out when this time of year comes and it's time to select jury photos?  I am going to apply to several shows over the next three months and I am pulling my hair out trying to decide which photos to use. 

I have read so much about "cohesive bodies of work", don't use anything that could be considered negative (I have an adorable sculpture about death that I am afraid to use), placement of photos for maximum impact, make sure #1 corresponds to #3 and so on.  

UGH!!!!  What to do to allay the nerves?  How do the rest of you cope with this?  I haven't been this nervous about anything in a while.  I am new to applying to big A listed shows, I have a medium sized body of work to pull from (150 sculptures), excellent photography, thanks to Larry Berman, and I can do sophistocated, cute, edgy, strange, etc. 


How do you decide?    Thanks!!!!! 

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  • 301645977?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024

    • Blown out (pure white) highlights can't be recovered. You might be able to clone in from a similar area somewhere else in the image, but I wouldn't count on it. Best way to control the highlights is to expose for the brighter areas and then recover detail from the shadows or darker areas. In order to do that you need a camera that gives you that control, something that requires a more sophisticated camera. Another way is to block light from hitting the brightest areas using what's called a gobo. It's usually a small black "flag" or piece of something that is suspended between that part of the object and the light source. The light then wraps around the gobo and hits the object with much less intensity.

      Background and shadows. Your shadows are non existent and your background is taking the black to white too literally. It's too white at the bottom and the base doesn't have any shadows so it appears to be floating unnaturally. Actually it looks like it was cut out and dropped into a background because if you enlarge it you can see what appears to be remnants of uneven close cropping. If it were dropped into the background, it would need to be color corrected prior to changing the background, or any corrections to the piece will make the background look weird.

      Larry Berman

      • thanks for the advice, this was my 1st attempt at photo shop.  but it wasn't until my 2nd try that I realized that the color was so off.  Jim thanks for the image toobar placement, but that's how I got it there, but still needed to adjust something so it wouldn't be so large.

        We are not trying to get into the top 10 shows, actually we are proud to be in the shows that we are in, we have a wonderful following of customers.  So I am just trying to upgrade our pics.  I am trying to teach myself photo shop.  Am I doing better with this cala lily that we created?  For your info, it is powdercoated.  I do our own.


    • Hi, sorry I have messed up adding this pic.  I am wanting critique on this stainless steel rose trio that we made.  The lighting is yellow from fluorescent lights, I accept that, do you think that will hurt the picture so that I shouldn't even use it for jury?

      And how do I add a pic. without taking the whole page?  Keep it simple, I am from Iowa, ha.


      • 301646436?profile=originalUse the insert image function in the tool bar above the post reply box. Navigate to the picture, choose your options and click ok. Image is the second icon from the left.

  • Thank you, Jim, you are a dear!!  I am starting to feel a bit better and I really like and appreciate your perspective.  Thanks, Larry for the links, as much time as I have spent on your website, I didn't know you offered this!  Who'd a thunk?  I will be utilizing that today!!!!  Thanks again Jim and Larry!!!!

  • I always freak out. But I calm down quickly, after I send what I think is my best shot along with $50 to Coconut Grove. The past couple of years, I get over the fear easily, with a simple solution: I don't apply to Coconut Grove. I save $50 and I can go on to lesser shows feeling comfortable.

    I do tend to batch my applications. The first few always seem the most difficult, and are some of the most desirable shows. Pick one that is less stressful, that you don't care quite so much about, and do it first. Upload all the photos that illustrate your work, and delete the older, less current images. ZAPP now lets you put 1Gb of images online, instead of the old limit of 40 maximum.

    Build your jury app for that low-key show. Try out different combinations of pictures, keeping in mind that you want a strong lead-in image, preferably one that will lead the eye to the next one. Usually shows will either project them all in a line, or show them sequentially. Put your best jury image in the #1 slot, and follow it up with a logical #2. Then #3, and possibly #4 should fall into place.

    Think about complementary shapes, color families, thematic continuity. Build a story. It's a little like the old newspaper adage: "Who, What, Where, When & Why?" Who is your work for? If you like the darker pieces, and you think the show's audience might respond favorably, go ahead with that death mask (What). The Where is important though. I've learned that my subtle palette and abandoned subject matter doesn't fly well in southern Florida. If I'm going to apply to the Grove, I usually put together a slightly more light-hearted presentation.

    After a few apps, a pattern will fall into place. Generally you'll find five or six images that work really well together. Once you find them, stick with them. The first batch of acceptance/rejection letters will tell you if the juries like them, or hate them. If you can get close to a 50% acceptance rate, your images are probably working.

    Look at ways that you can strengthen the presentation. Differences in scale, consistency in story and theme, color palettes -- all of these should be reflected in a good booth presentation. Often your booth shot will be out of date based on your current body of work, unless you manage to shoot a good booth shot once or twice a year. But the booth should reflect your overall look, and if possible, the same pieces that are in your jury slides. With OOAK work, that's not always possible, if the works have been sold.

    Uniqueness of technique, style and theme is often a good play. If you can demonstrate who you are as an artist, and why you are unique, you have a better shot at getting into the good shows. Stay calm. 

    Larry Berman had a site where you could try different jury image combinations. I'd post it, but I can't find the URL. Perhaps Larry will post it. It was a good way to compare different combinations, without actually doing a ZAPPlication.

    Good luck! Have fun! Stay calm!

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