Personal Gallery - 18th December 2015 - Stephen Beecroft

A few years ago myself and Kara visited Whitby for a weekend. I wish I could remember the name of an Italian Restaurant that we visited because it would form a large part of the inspiration for our Italian Restaurant - Cara Mia - and also the inspiration for this blog post. Basically the large open restaurant was covered in Black and White framed photographs. The frames were different sizes but all had the same theme which I suppose you could class as Italian Documentary style.

I loved the idea and I wish at the time I had got an a photo of the place but at the time I wasn't that far into my photography journey and so did not envisage that I would have the volume of images that I would want to display, never mind owning our own Italian Restaurant.

A lot of the time as a photographer you are shooting for other people and perhaps selling prints for other people to hang in their own rooms. It is very easy in the digital age just to see your own images just on social media and your own web presence. As soon as we bought a house with a separate dining room I knew I wanted to put together my own gallery wall of prints.

I wasn't sure when I began designing the layout of the wall what the theme would be. But it soon became apparent of the images that I was picking that they would be landscapes that are generally local as in Northumberland or Newcastle. Some are slightly out of the official boundaries so please don't jump on me. As I went through my back catalogue to find suitable images I realised I was selecting images perhaps not just for their artistic merit but also because they were linked to a particular story. Now I am to going to go through each story for each photo. But by selecting photos that have a story it makes the wall have more meaning which considering it is taking up a full wall in my house I think this is important.

Once I had started to get the images selected the next more challenging task was to put them in a display that I was happy with. I found the easiest way was to mock up a scale model of the wall -including door space and drag scale images on to this plan so it would be much easier to see how things would work.

Once I had the plan printed off I got it approved by Kara - maybe the most stressful part of the exercise! As I knew Kara would have her own opinions on my images and what she would like to be displayed. Thankfully the plan was approved.

So the next stage was ordering and framing. Probably the most straight forward part of the project. Then into the most difficult hanging everything on the wall. Many different options were considered but in the end I went for just a Velcro system. A side each to the wall and frame and the Velcro will hold in place. And if I wanted to remove them off the wall it should in theory not leave a mark.

Putting this many frames up took some considerable planning and the assistance and patience of my Dad. But we got there in the end.

Having a wall dedicated to your own work might sound like a vanity project, but you have to remember that really not many people are going to see this. I like to use this wall as a form of inspiration. It reminds me of what I am capable of producing. As well as being able to recall the memories and attached story's to each image.


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