Musings on Photography

Present at a Hanging

Posted in shows by Paul Butzi on February 3, 2007

(with apologies to Ambrose Bierce)

Yesterday was hanging day.  I loaded up the car, took it all over to the gallery. 

Hanging is a weird thing if you’re hanging your own show (this is a membership gallery, so it’s a strictly hang yourself affair, in more than one sense).  You arrive, and the gallery looks like Cindy Lou Who’s house after the Grinch came through – bare walls with empty bulldog hangers, said walls thoroughly marked with grafitti like pencil marks and empty holes from previous hanger/wall interactions.

(Side note: why do people who are hanging their own work feel obliged to mark the walls with the darkest, heaviest pencil marks possible?  One previous show was apparently put up by someone who felt obliged to trace the outline of each frame in pencil.  I keep expecting to show up to hang a show and find the walls marked with lines drawn in Marks-A-Lot marker.  I mean, really – all you have to do is mark the position for the hanger.  The tiniest little mark will do.  There’s no need to write your autobiography on the wall just to hang 5 prints, folks.  End rant.)

So you sort out your stuff, and you measure, and put up the hangers, and put the prints on the wall.  For the more OCD among us, there follows an anxious five minutes or so with the torpedo level, making sure all the prints are level and hung at the proper height.

And then you take a step back, and instead of looking at the presentation, you look at the show, and it all seems to snap into focus.  This show, you think pridefully, is not half bad.  It is not arrant nonsense.  It is not manifestly ugly.  Perhaps someone wanders past, looks at the prints, and makes a positive comment.  You actually start to feel good.  The work is all done, except for the depressing takedown.

And I did.  I felt good.  Right up until I got home, and saw the pile of trash in the corner and the full trashcan and the work table littered with stuff.

Instead of cleaning up, though, I started making a complete set of prints to go into a portfolio case, to take around to show at various venues and perhaps get another show out of this stuff while it’s still framed.

Show is at Gallery f/5.6, which is in the admin building of Eastshore Unitarian Church, at 12700 SE 32nd St., Bellevue, WA 98005.  Hours are M-F 9-4, or whenever the admin building is open.  Show comes down at the end of the month.

5 Responses

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  1. Gary Nylander said, on February 3, 2007 at 10:40 pm


    Congrats on getting your show together, I hope it goes well for you, I live in Kelowna B.C., so will not likely get down to see it, best of luck !


  2. Lisa said, on February 4, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Congrats on the show and best of luck with the opening!

  3. Eric Hancock said, on February 4, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Congratulations on the show! I’d love to see a photo of it (being on the other side of the continent, I won’t be able to see it in person).

  4. Frank said, on February 6, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Why is there always a post show depression? What’s that all about?

  5. Mom said, on February 6, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Wish I could pop in to see the show. I know it’s looking great.

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