I arrived in Atlanta to the Self Discovery Center (http://selfdiscoverycenter.com/bedandbreakfast.aspx) on Friday, late in the afternoon. My room there was so beautiful that when I arrived, I lay down on the bed and cried. After a resting, I did a mantra meditation with a professor from Africa who had been doing mantras for 27 years. It was very soothing.
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My Room at Self Discovery Center, Atlanta by Beth Thompson
Up early on Saturday, I arrived by 8 AM to the Georgia Tech Conference Center and Hotel. After registering, I was directed to my table. Since I already had a table, I went back to the car and brought up my table supplies. I had all my marketing material, magnets, business cards, mailing list, and postcards out and available. In addition, I set up 2 table easels I had modified to hold big stuff, and put out all of my smaller prints for sale, along with my Pricing Guide.
Beth Thompson at Portfolio Walk by Dorothy O'Connor
Once that was done, I was free to socialize and look at what the other photographers had brought with them. There were so many wonderful photographs and interesting photographers in the room it was amazing. To cover some of the high points: I hit it off immediately with Ruth Dudley-Carr, (www.ruthdudleycarr.com) from Boston. We ooo-ed and ahh-ed over Dorothy O’Connor’s (www.dorothyoconnor.com) elaborate work with a set in her back yard.
Water by Dorothy O'Connor
The photographer next to me, Santiago Vanegas, (www.santiagovanegas.com) took pictures of amazing landscapes, and had had a beautiful book of his work created. Iceland and Antarctica were two of his travels.
I had 5 reviews. Before each one, I got major butterflies in my stomach. However, all went well. I got lots of great suggestions on where to pursue showing my work, places like nature centers, churches, synagogues, non-profits, and also a geographical direction, Florida. I got confirmation and validation of my creative instincts, that the new style of kaleidoscope a good direction for me to pursue. I got a lead on a group show, and I had something else too, I just had to turn it over in my head for a while.
Between remarks and questions about concepts and a reviewer’s take that the new style, below:
1/20 24" x 22.5" Fiber Based Print: $540 USD
is another viewpoint on nature, I got to thinking about concept versus percept. Is my work conceptual or perceptual or both? What will I call the new style? First I came up with names for the new series, Possible Places and Possible Pilgrimages. Then it came together in an overall name, Possible Perceptions. (You can view the Possible Perceptions Gallery here.)
The “Possible” came from Jean Houston’s (www.jeanhouston.com) work, The Possible Human. The concept there is that we as a species are only using the smallest portion of out capacities, and in order to survive these times we need to begin using all of our potential capacities of being, doing, and knowing, perceiving. After I had decided to call the new series Possible Perceptions on my way to work, I sat down on break to read The Possible Human. The chapter on perception was enlightening. Houston’s Law states “concept louses up percept.” In other words, as soon as I look at the world, sense reality with a concept in mind, I stop seeing and sensing what is actually there and start fitting it into my concept, whether or not it actually does fit.
Charleston Bridge Kaleidoscope Photo by Beth Thompson
I realized my work is perceptual. Yet by calling it a Possible Perception, a Possible Place, a Possible Pilgrimage, I challenge viewers to expand their concept of what perceptions are possible. So my work is both conceptual and perceptual, with the concept that our perceptual abilities can expand beyond our current concepts of the world. After all, my Possible Perceptions Series is a possible human perception; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to create the series.
Possible Place 6010 by Beth Thompson