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Self & Others - Leanne Surfleet

Self & Others - Leanne Surfleet

I’ve been wanting to put on my own photography exhibition for a very long time but never had done before because of various reasons such as not being able to afford it or the fact that I didn’t live anywhere that any kind of art or creative scene. I moved to Norwich in November and since I moved I felt more and more inspired and motivated to finally put on my own show. It was one of the first things I started planning and organizing once I had settled into my new home and job.

I started off by researching local art galleries and reaching out to them about possibly putting on a show. I found a really sweet little gallery called Two Fat Ladies on a lovely street filled with independent antique shops, cafes and bakeries, I emailed them and also went for a visit to view the space. It seemed perfect for my first solo show as I didn’t want anything too big or too overwhelming as I was organizing, curating and installing it by myself.

Once I’d booked the space I got the measurements and started planning how many prints I could fit into it and knew from the beginning that I wanted a separate Polaroid wall. It was actually really difficult editing my work down to around 15 prints. I decided to do one wall of my square format Polaroid prints & the other wall of some bigger 35mm prints. The back wall was reserved for my original Polaroids and the front of the gallery was a big window & door.

I went to pick up the keys to the gallery the morning of the 28th April, my opening was that night at 6pm so I had plenty of time to get the work up and extra time incase anything went drastically wrong. I started by laying out my prints on the floor, as I hadn’t decided beforehand how they would all sit next to each other. It didn’t take me very long to curate and decide in which order they would be displayed. I hung my work unframed with pins and bull clips as I had done this before in a show I was in in Amsterdam and really liked how they looked – if I had more time and funds I might have framed all my work but I was actually really happy with the outcome all the same.

The night before I had searched through my thousands of Polaroids and picked around 60-70 of my best to display. Again I had no idea how to display them and in what order so I started making some shapes with them on the floor and then transferred the pattern onto the wall which ended up taking the shape of some kind of droplet, I didn’t want just a uniformed square of Polaroids on the wall as my other prints were very straight and in line. All in all I think it took me and my partner Ben around 3 hours to install.

The opening night was a success and it was so exciting / nerve-wracking to have people in the gallery looking at my work and talking / asking me about it. It was such a great experience that I really don’t know why it had taken me so long to do this. I'm now excited and eager to find more places to exhibit my work. There’s really nothing like seeing work printed in a larger format and being able to get up close & personal with it.

Words and images by Leanne Surfleet

Exhibition info:

Title: 'Self & Others'

Date: 28 April - 1 May 2017

Location: Two Fat Ladies Gallery, Norwich http://www.tflgallery.co.uk/

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