Terri Bell is a terrific artist who runs her own gallery in Denver — a thoroughly delightful and charming woman. Last October I got a note from her asking if I’d consider being a juror for a photography exhibit she was planning. I didn’t have to consider it at all. I agreed immediately. Who wouldn’t want to work with T. Bell?
The project was limited to black and white photographs, but the subject matter was wide open. Thirteen jurors with varied backgrounds and skills would review the photographs offered for submission, then render their thirteen different opinions. The twenty photos that received the most positive attention would then be hung in Terri’s gallery. I’ve been a juror in these sorts of things before; picking twenty photos without regard to genre sounded like it would be fun and interesting. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, as they say.
I wasn’t expecting — I don’t think anybody was expecting — so many photographs would be submitted. How many? About 480. Four hundred and eighty! Out of which we were expected to pick twenty? What had originally sounded like a fun, interesting project turned out to be…well, fun and interesting. It took a bit more time effort than I’d originally expected, but I didn’t regret a moment of the time I spent on the gig. There was a LOT of really good work there.
The exhibit opened March 29th and continues until April 14th. If you’re anywhere in the Denver area, go see it.
But I’m not writing this to plug Terri’s show (though seriously, go see it if you can). I’m writing this because a couple days ago I received a package from Terri. I opened the box and found a nest of black tissue paper, beautifully crinkled. Inside the tissue — a black envelope and a slim package wrapped in elegant glossy white wrapping paper, tied with a black satin ribbon and bow. The black envelope contained a white card; the white wrapping paper contained the show catalog (which can be purchased here).
It’s not unusual, when you act as a juror, to receive a copy of the show catalog. What is unusual is the extraordinary care and thoughtfulness and artfulness Terri put into the packaging of the catalog. It says a great deal about Terri as a person and as an artist that she would pay such close attention to detail.
I love the show catalog.The photography is brilliant. I’m very pleased to have played a small role in the project. But I think what I’ll remember most about this entire process is slowly unwrapping the package.
You’ll note that the title of the catalog is 20×13 [+30]. That’s because the book not only contains the twenty photographs selected for the exhibition, but also thirty more that are so damned good they could be hung as well.