Meeting with Trish Lambe & Pete Smyth at the Gallery of Photography

Updated: Mar 17, 2018

Today Laura and I held a meeting with Trish Lambe and Pete Smyth; Trish is the the Co-Director/Company Secretary and Pete controls the darkroom, installation & facilities aspect of the Gallery of Photography. We came in to the meeting with preplanned questions in order to allow for a smooth transition through the meeting and I feel this choice worked very well as we had plenty to discuss and there wasn't any pauses in communication. During the meeting we discussed a number of aspects of the Gallery of Photography (#galleryofphotography), the questions we asked revolved around the day to day operations and the work which goes in to setting up and dismantling exhibitions. Both Trish and Pete were very accommodating and answered our questions with no hesitation, their answers were very interesting. Laura and I received insight into the daily operations of the site and learned of their constant battle for funding; they have at least two funding deadlines per month.

We saw two crates which were used to transport artworks, I was surprised that each crate costs between €500 and €1000 and are often made by Pete. We discussed the logistics of transporting these crates and Trish described what seems like a nightmare; when shipping overseas the authorities are often suspicious of their contents, they feel that the art works have been sold thus request invoices,etc. One example which Trish mentioned was of the US authorities rejecting a shipment of crates which hadn't been kiln treated. Pete detailed how they often hang the works, a seemingly easy task is actually quite difficult. Pete has a distaste for mirror plates as he feels that they're ugly and the wall attachments shouldn't be seen. For this reason they use the nail and rawlplug method which allows the work to hang without seeing the wall attachment.

We asked about the types of lights which they use in the gallery, the colour temperature of the bulbs used are all the same; but this may change depending on the exhibition. The bulbs are daylight balanced and this works well with the large North facing window which is located at the front of the building. Pete described that as bulbs get older their colour shifts, in this case the bulbs aren't changed as they're expensive and the gallery's lack of funding doesn't allow for the changing of bulbs for this reason.

An interesting insight was given when discussing the layout of exhibitions, the Gallery often use scale to make the exhibitions more visually interesting. Trish described how an exhibition is quite like music, it has a rhythm which accompanies the viewer as they navigate through the space. Planners don't want the exhibition-goer to fly through the exhibition barely moving their head, they want peoples heads to move up and down as well as from left to right, they also want the audience to move in close to certain details but also to stand back to see the image from a distance.

When text is included in an exhibition the Guardian Newspaper advises the language used should be for a reading age of about 14. When academic language is used the exhibition become inaccessible to most of the audience and they quickly lose interest. For this reason the Gallery tries not to use too much academic language in their captions and artist statements.

I've scanned an attached below my notes from the interview which also shows each question we asked Trish and Pete.

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