About Me

My photo
Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Art in the Park : Show the Work!

So I have a tent and a couple display racks, but that does not make me a summer art fair professional. I say this as I am sitting in my Easy-Up 10 x 10 toward the end of the first day of this weekend's "Art in the Park" show in Keene New Hampshire. It is hot and humid, but as long as it isn't raining, I am not allowed to complain. This is the third year that I have done the Keene event. This year there were over 80 artists displaying their work during the two day event.  It is a hassle to haul all the work to the Ashuelot River Park along with the tent, tables, display racks, chairs and a cooler full of empty calories to keep me functioning. If you have not done one of these shows,

I want Mike's tall chair
it is difficult to appreciate how exhausting it can be to spend a day meeting and greeting, but I have met many people here who thrive on these shows. They spend most summer weekends traveling from town to town like artistic migrant workers. I assume that they are much more social than I can ever expect to be. I enjoy meeting people especially when they express appreciation for my work, but there are many other lovely thing to do in the summer. 

Why do I do it?  First this particular show is a community affair sponsored by my Monadnock Area Artist Association and filled with wonderful local artists. It is a great chance to catch up with friends and to meet visitors from throughout the region. Of course it is pleasant to have folks tell me how wonderful my "paintings" are, even though this typically occurs just before they move on to the next tent. I generally sell enough work to make it financially viable, but the primary reason for doing this comes down to the most important marketing technique that I have applied ever since I began trying to establish myself as a regional landscape photographer, SHOW THE WORK. I believe that for a new photographer there is nothing more important than to show your work as often as possible and in every available venue. Of course I have worked to get my work accepted at a number of regional art stores, but in the course of the last 4 years I have also participated in about 15 group shows and over 30 solo exhibitions. I have displayed my work in town halls, civic centers, churches, stores, banks, hospital hallways, and almost every restaurant in the region that happens to have a wall. Sometimes these shows have resulted in sales, but the primary goal is to show the work. I also try to keep my web presence up to date and fresh on my personal site as well as on Flickr and more recently 500 pixels. I have collected a surprising amount of private and commercial business from people who found my work as a result of a simple Google search.  Over the last few years my New England Reflections Calendar has raised over $40 thousand dollars for the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center, but it has also been an effective tool for making my images of the region more generally know. What could be better than displaying a fresh example of my work on a monthly basis to hundreds of local families?  Increasingly I have been receiving requests for donations of images for inclusion in local charity auctions. These opportunities are valuable on a number of levels. Most importantly it is wonderful to feel that my work can, in a small way, assist in fulfilling the needs and aspirations of my community at a time when support is required more than ever. Of secondary importance is that charity auctions introduce my work to groups of people who might not frequent exhibitions or art stores. I find it remarkable that so many artists view charitable donations as a opportunity to unload unpopular pieces that have been languishing in the old photo bin. The value of your donation to your business is, once again, the opportunity to SHOW THE WORK. It costs me the same to produce an average image as it does for one of my "hero" shots. By only giving my best work both the charity and my business get the most from the donation.

Shows like Art in the Park are just another opportunity to show the work. Sure I sold some pieces and collected some orders, but the real value was that hundreds of local people got to see my photographs. In the future when they are trying to think of a birthday gift for gramma or a going away present for a co-worker, and they want something that reflects the essence of our region, they may just remember me. 

How many times did I say "show the work"? Not enough.

More about the Monadnock Area Artists Association

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