On October 30th, 2021 the time had come. I opened my very first exhibition. I already had this idea of ​​showing my pictures to the public for a long time. I didn't just want to show any pictures, I wanted people to relate to the pictures. For this reason I have decided to exhibit IN Vechta pictures FOR Vechta FROM Vechta. I chose my favorite café in my hometown for the exhibition. 
The first discussions took place at the end of July. I showed the owners of the café (Charivari) what I photographed, mostly photos from Vechta, but also what else I photograph in Germany and Europe. For this I brought small 10x15cm prints. This was a big advantage, because you could put the pictures on a table and look at them in total instead of just one on the smartphone. The owners were immediately enthusiastic and could well imagine an exhibition in their café. They had just as little experience of such events as I did.
And then it went into the detailed planning: Which pictures should I show? How many pictures should I show? Which pictures work together? Should the people in the pictures be easily recognizable or rather just silhouettes or people from behind? Do I advertise? Should there be a product available for purchase? What do I tell at the vernissage? There were so many question marks floating around in my head. Out of a gut feeling, I only decided on images in which people cannot be clearly recognized. 
At the same time, I wanted to design a calendar showing street photos from Vechta. The calendar should be able to be purchased at a fair price. Discussions took place with a print shop near Bremen, which I became aware of through contact with a local print shop. The exchange was very customer-friendly and constructive. So I commissioned my calendar there. The prices and the quality were right for me. That was a good feeling. 
I also wanted to do some advertising for the exhibition. I prepared a picture on the computer and had two posters printed out of it. One hung in the Charivari and one in a bookstore right on the shopping street. I also called the local newspaper to see if they would like to report in advance. They were there immediately. An interview was quickly arranged. The article appeared three days before the vernissage, both in print and online. This article can be read here.
After a few days the selection of the pictures was finished. 10 pictures should be exhibited. A total of 15 pictures are printed in the DIN A3 calendar in portrait format. I tried to adapt the pictures to the months a little. In August, for example, I showed a picture of our leisure market from the Corona period. In August the big "Stoppelmarkt" takes place in Vechta, Northern Germany's largest leisure market. However, the September picture wasn't good enough for me. I still had an idea in my head. So I went to the spot again on a Saturday at noon and waited there. It worked and I changed the prior September picture. 
Now I was still faced with the big question of how I wanted to show the pictures? Framed? Aludibond? Acrylic glass? A mix of everything? I chose the latter. There were several reasons for this. In the Charivari you could have Aludibond pictures hung from the curtain rods in front of the window front. Framed pictures fit perfectly on the counter and other places within the café. I also showed a picture behind acrylic glass. My absolute favorite picture. It's usually hanging in my office and I took it with me. Of course, there were also economic reasons for this. I also designed small price tags, which I printed on very thick paper and hung under or next to the pictures. Then I ordered frames and printed the pictures. It happened as it had to: the first delivery of the frames was damaged. Thank goodness I got a replacement straight away without any problems. In addition, the printed photos were a bit larger than the size allowed, which meant that they did not fit into the frames. This is a mystery to me to this day. So I had to cut them by hand. Fortunately, everything went smoothly. But I only noticed this two days before the vernissage.
The last big question still remained: what should I tell the audience at the vernissage? This was certainly one of the biggest challenges for me. I thought about what would interest me if I went to an exhibition and had no connection to this topic. So I decided on the following: First, I informed about the genre of street photography. What is it? What are the approaches?  Then I gave a very brief report on the history of street photography. How long has it even existed? Who paved the way and how did it all develop? Then I told how I got into street photography and what fascinates me about it. Finally, I wanted to give an overview of street photography in Germany. Is it practiced a lot? Is there a good network and opportunities to obtain informations? And of course: what is the legal situation in Germany? This structure was conclusive to me and I prepared this. 
The day before the vernissage, I went to the café and hung up the pictures. That was the first really really big hurdle. Is everything going as I thought it would? I'll keep it short: it was fantastic. I finished hanging the pictures in about 2.5 hours. The feeling of seeing one's own pictures hanging in public was powerful.
On the day of the vernissage, I was pretty excited. There were family members, a few friends and acquaintances and luckily a few unknown interested people who became aware of the vernissage through the newspaper article. After the short speech, I was available to answer questions from the visitors. Interesting conversations developed. I sold some calendars and also two pictures. This closes the circle with the choice of motif and the type of presentation. My favorite picture from the Metropolitan Theater, which hung behind acrylic glass in the Charivari, also fascinated two visitors who wanted to buy it immediately. It is an incredibly great feeling when someone wants to buy YOUR picture and is willing to spend money, sometimes even a lot of money, to hang it in their house. The delivery is still pending, but I think the handover of the picture will be a real highlight for me. 
My conclusion: The preparation time was intense and exciting, but very instructive. There are things that I would certainly do in the same way, but of course I also learned what to change in future. The calendars are selling well and I am satisfied. So far I have sold three pictures (by the way, always the metropolitan picture in different versions). I would have wished for 5-10 more unknown visitors at the vernissage, but I am still satisfied with the result and the evening. The pictures are still hanging in the Charivari in Vechta until November 28th, 2021. There are only a few calendars left at a price of 14 euros.
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