A meeting was held in the Gallery of Photography on Friday March 16th, 2016. Trish Lambe and Pete Smyth met with students and gave them an overview of the gallery’s workings day to day and for exhibition. Lambe is the Co-Director and Company Secretary of the gallery while Smyth is in charge of exhibition installation and darkroom facilities on site.
One interesting part of the meeting concerned the destruction of prints and work after an exhibition in the gallery comes to an end. The gallery chooses to destroy the prints meticulously and thoroughly. They are destroyed to the point that the work can not be recognised in the pieces they discard. Using an example of Pieter Hugo’s prints, the staff used spray paint and a blowtorch to obscure and burn the work. After this process, the prints were then broken into smaller pieces before being disposed of.
The issue of protecting photographic prints for transport and shipping was also discussed at the meeting. Pete Smyth showed the students custom built crates that he built for this purpose. Each crate costs between €500 and €1000. The objective being safe and correct storage and transport for works that the gallery handles. Dimensions and size were of importance in the building of these crates. He also pointed out that the choice of wood is important. There had been issues with the fact that the wood chosen was not treated. There are issues with shipping of prints overseas. Not only must the paperwork and logistics be organised, customs authorities often need to inspect the crates as they assume the art work has been sold and shipped, rather than shipped for exhibition.
Lighting plays an important part when photographic prints are on display on the gallery wall. While the gallery’s main window is north facing, this would still not provide enough light for exhibition. The gallery must use artificial lighting also. The colour temperature of the bulbs used inside the exhibition space is uniform. Although there is an occasion when this might change depending on the work. The students heard how the bulbs are daylight balanced but time can be a factor in their deterioration. As the bulbs age, their colour temperature shifts. Current funding for the gallery does not allow for replacement of the bulbs on a regular basis so this issue is something that the gallery must overcome.