Creating an image that conveys a meaning is as old as mankind. The tools change but the drive to communicate remains.How do we learn this visual communication thing?  We begin by learning rules.  Rules of composition.  Rules of color.  Rules of values.   Rules of handling materials and equipment.  How do we progress?  We learn from what others have achieved.  If someone else has produced works that we admire, we look at them with an analytical eye.  Was this rule followed here?  Was that rule bent there?  Did it work?  Sometimes we  follow what they publish.

Entering a Juried Exhibition is part of an artist’s education.  You feel ready to be judged by a standard of excellence.   It is not for those who are still overly emotionally attached to their “babies”.  It is for artists who believe they possess sufficient analytical  expertise to meet the challenge with a good image.  If the Juror thinks otherwise, those artists can maturely continue striving to improve.  It may have been a fine image – as a piece of music can be technically correct - but did it speak to this particular expert?  Carefully review the body of the Juror's work, which you can access online.  Ask yourself questions about the compositional elements in each image, also reoccurring elements and devices used by this photographer to convey mood or message.  You will begin to understand the elements which are important to this particular expert.  Then review the images that were accepted for the exhibit - analyze those also.  You will then begin to understand, and learn, by all that you've analyzed in the Juror's works, and in the qualities of the accepted works.    Communication is not easy – we continually learn to increase our vocabulary.  As the French say:  “Courage!”   I have known many rejected artists who have gone on to lead productive lives!

On the other hand…Your acceptance by a Juror who is at the top of his or her field is a major achievement in your artistic career. You have addressed a challenge and won!  This success will forever be part of your professional biography.

Those who persevere will go on to produce works that  touch the spirit.

To those that may be submitting for the first time to a juried exhibit - pay attention to basics such as:

  • Composition
  • Tonal Range
  • Framing
  • Background
  • Depth of field
  • there are more

Not getting these right can cause an image who's subject fits the theme beautifully to be excluded.

Here is an article by one of our past jurors, Douglas Beasley, Decisions & Dilemmas: Day in the Life of a Juror It should you understand what a juror goes through.

Michele Roberge
Manager, Maine Art Gallery
March 24, 2010