by Daniel Hofmann
In my last post I wrote about my exhibition in Hamburg -- and now it’s time to tell you a little more about it!
It’s still a strange feeling to see my own pictures like that. Most of the time it feels great, as there is nothing better than seeing your work outside of a laptop screen. In the digital age, that has become something rare. On the other hand, that proud feeling comes at a price…I mean that literally. You need to invest money to put on an exhibition. It’s definitely a risk, and it puts you on the spot -- you hope for the right people to come, who appreciate the work you put into your photographs and are willing to pay for that. Having a photo framed turns it into something that you can’t get from a book. Maybe the exhibition will turn out to be something great or maybe as something not so great. Either way, it’s an important step, because you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. In the end, it's all a learning process.
One of the first and most important lessons I already learned so far is that it's important to pick the right people to work with. I trust the guys I’m working with and I know they do their best. The second would be that you should never invest money you don’t have. Taking risks is okay, but don’t work yourself into a situation where you have to sell your gear so you can pay your rent.
There are other things you have to figure out. Like, how do you want to present your photographs? I spent countless hours busting my head on so many questions. Do I frame my photos or do I choose a different way to present them? Which type of paper do I use? How big should I print the pictures? How much am I willing to pay for that? And the most important question of all: which photographs do I use? Something like this is not decided in a few minutes, but a good guideline is to keep it simple. The exhibition should have one specific theme; with that, the range of pictures you can use already becomes smaller.
The theme for my exhibition is the spiritual life I witnessed in India.So many people in India have such a strong connection to a spiritual, invisible world that will never be as accessible to me. That is the main reason why it is so damn fascinating to me. Especially when you see how it effects the daily life in India. That’s why I called the exhibition 'Entangled', because both of these worlds (the visible, 'normal' one and the invisible, spiritual one) are so deeply connected that even a simple morning walk can become something spiritual. I have seen that happen so many times in Varanasi. It’s one of the reasons why I love that city so much and why most of the pictures in my exhibition are made there. I can’t wait to go back there!
I didn’t come up with the name Entangled on my own, by the way. A dear friend, who is better with words than me, helped me with that. Never be too proud to accept (or even ask for) help from your friends is the message here, I guess.
Let’s close this post with a message so many photographers told me: get your pictures out there! It’s a risk and sometimes you fly high and sometimes you fall flat on your face. You are going to learn what works for you as a photographer if you are willing to embrace the good and the bad. But if you never try, you'll never know!
P.S. I almost forgot to tell you where you can see my photographs! It’s the Michael Götze Gallery and Showroom in Hamburg untill the 15th of January. Should you be in the area, you are welcome any time!