Putting together my second photo exhibition

By gregebersole

June 5, 2013

Category: Travel

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I’ve been busy working on putting together my second photo exhibition in Cali. Last year, it was easier. I had the help of Juan Carlos, a teacher in Bocas del Palo. He was able to talk to various people at the library where I had my first show. He could help me know what all I needed to do to have an exhibit, how to fill out the paperwork, etc. The show was a great success. Afterwards, the directors of the gallery and the library told me that they were interested in me having another show this year. I decided I wanted to photograph Siloé, one of the most dangerous barrios in Cali. I wasn’t sure if or how I could do it. After taking photos for a month or so, I felt that I would be able to get enough photos for a show, even though it was not easy working in Siloé. I approached the gallery curator and director. I showed them some preliminary photos and they were on board immediately. The curator really liked my photos. I began to work hard for another 2 to 3 months off and on, taking photos in Siloé. It was harder and a lot more difficult than working in Bocas del Palo. There I could use my large camera and two lenses. The people were friendly and knew me after a short time there. In Siloé, I was only able to use my small point and shoot which I carried in my jeans pocket. People were always suspicious of cameras or even strangers. I went many visits alone to the lower part of Siloé. I went to the upper part with a couple different people. A few weeks ago, I decided I had enough photos and needed to start editing them. I edited about 1,000 photos or so down to 57. The curator and I tried to get to 50 but gave up. The show will have 57 photos, sized 45 x 30 cm. and mounted on retablas, narrow light wooden boxes. I then started taking photos on my memory stick to Feriva, the photo lab I used last year. When I had done 30 prints, they all of a sudden ran out of the paper I use. I didn’t want to change to another paper, so I’ve been waiting about a week for a new shipment to arrive. Yesterday, I was told that it should arrive tomorrow. I have 27 more photos to have printed. Last Friday, I went to the location of the shop that did the mounting of the photos on the retablas. When I arrived, I saw that the shop was not there anymore. A woman selling food there said that the man had left and she didn’t know where he had gone. She asked if I had his phone number. I said I think so. I went home and found the receipts from last year and sure enough there was a cellphone number. The next day I happened to be downtown and decided to call him to see if he was nearby. He answered and said to wait and that he would come see me in about 20 minutes. Within about a half hour, he came walking up the street. We talked about the project. He wanted to charge me more this year. I said no and that I had more to do and I wanted to pay the same. So he agreed. He said he would come to my house the next day to get the photos I had ready. In the afternoon, he showed up on foot again. I made a down payment and then he walked away with 30 of my precious 45 x 30 sized prints. I trust him. He did good work last year. I have no clue where he is going to do the work this year. He said to call him when I have the rest of the prints and he would come and get them. Also, last Saturday, I took the front and back of the announcement cards for the show, which I designed, downtown to look for a printer. The photo above shows the front of the card. Feriva would have charged about $115 to do 750 cards. I didn’t want to spend that much. I stopped in at two other places and talked to the people. I decided to use the second place. They would print 1,000 cards and charge me about $43. The cards will be ready tomorrow afternoon. I hope they look okay. They couldn’t do a test print for me. Last night, I finished writing all my captions for the photos in Spanish. My good friend, Liceth, helped me. She read them and changed the grammar when needed. Everything is starting to come together slowly. I still have plenty of time so I’m not worrying about anything yet. The photos will be up and on display starting June 25 of this month. The opening will be the evening of the 28th, a Friday. More of my friends and people from Siloé will be able to come to an opening on Friday evening. I decided that rather than have it Tuesday evening, I would have it on Friday. I am so happy that I’ve been able to have two photo exhibits in Cali. I’m excited about this show featuring photos of Siloé. None of my Colombian friends here have been there. They say it’s too dangerous. I don’t know what people will think of the photos. I hope that I have given a good glimpse of what life is like there and what the people look like. To me, it’s just another place with people living their lives. It was an adventure to go there and meet people and take photos. The curator of the gallery shows has already asked me what I will do next year to top this show. That is a good question! At this point, I’m not even sure that I will be back in Cali next year. But, if I return than I will have to do something pretty amazing.

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