The Job of the Photographic Gallery Director


Gallery Director Flashing his Red Dots; photo by Lachlan Gardiner, 2013.

The role of the Gallery Director is mixed and varied.

Curating images with the would be exhibitor and then booking the space should be the hardest part of the process.  Even assisting in choosing wines is fraught with discord – how can a Chardonnay drinker cope with the current trend to guzzle Sauvignon Blanc?   Selection of cheese comes with its own little traps – too much camembert or brie will break the bank, and a too mature cheddar will break the dentures of the targeted collector whom you are trying to woo.

The recent opening of NEPAL, the Himalayan Kingdom and it’s People by Damian Caniglia at the Gallery I am involved with (Gallery Frenzy), is a case in point.


Opening Night – Nepal; photo by Lachlan Gardiner, 2013.

With fellow Director Darren Jew, we worked with Damian in selecting his photographs – a process that took several meetings from which various combinations of images were discussed prior to formalising a layout to fit the gallery.  Damian had the clever idea of involving the local branch of the Nepal Australia Friendship Association (NAFA), who generously provided Nepalese food for the attendees.  This went down a treat.  Whilst Damian and the NAFA Chair were to speak on the night, it was my role to host the evening, declare the Exhibition officially open and diplomatically bring forward the concept of purchasing a photograph from the many wonderful images hanging on the walls.  Damian had not only a wonderful set of photographs, but a wonderful group of attendees and we made some great sales on the night.  There can never be enough emphasis given to the selection part of the process.  It is here that a successful exhibition is created.  Sometimes great photographs have to be excluded because they do not add to the mix that is going up on the walls.  A wall full of great photographs that is disparate in its selection is jarring compared to a wall full of themed, balanced and complementing images.  In the Nepal Exhibition we were able to gather various and quite different styles into areas separated from each other.  Thus portraits (that were quite haunting in style) were clustered together and away from the panorama photographs that were dramatic and bold and striking.  This is where the artist and the gallery must collaborate to good advantage.

From both the Gallery and the Exhibitor’s point of view, it is wonderful when the venue is crowded, there is much discussion and debate about the photographs, the food disappears (as does the Chardonnay) and the RED DOTS start to appear!


One thought on “The Job of the Photographic Gallery Director

  1. Hi Ian, A great discussion on the gallery process – It is indeed more than pictures on the wall. The work you and Darren do with the artist is truly remarkable and this collaboration makes for a great and rewarding exhibition – not only for the ‘collector’ but also the viewer and the aspiring photographers amongst us — And those who come for the wine, the brie and the conversation about life and art.
    A Frenzy well done …. Cheers Doug+Vicky


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