Will someone discover me and make me famous?
I am a great fine-art photographer. Really! All I want to tke is create beautiful work. It's not just me and ego saying that -- lots of people say so. I've had successful exhibitions both in Israel and New York and published a book of my photographs. And people stop me in street to tell me how beautiful my work is and how much it has effected them.
But, it seems, there is a long way between that and getting them to buy my work.
My first [one-man] exhibition was entitled Eating Out in Thailand. It ran at the Little Gallery in Efrat the West Bank town in which I live. The gallery is located in the vestibule of the local library and they installed real gallery lighting just before my exhibition. It was my first exhibition, a one-man show. I didn't really know too much about what I was doing, so my orientation was very non-commercial -- and in fact I didn't sell any photographs. But I got a lot of compliments and that really boosted my ego. I managed to draw over 200 people to opening night and was honoured by the presence of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the "Chief Rabbi of the City of Efrat".
The exhibition ran for six weeks and I know many people viewed it by the comments people made to me when they bumped into me; some were even nice enough to phone.
During the anti Gush Katif expulsion period I held an exhibition at Maoz Yam, the former Gush Katif Hotel. This showing was attended by between two and three hundred people, mostly from the Gush, but a bus load of "Women in Green" arrived from Yerushalayim and yonder. A number photographs and birchonim were purchased, even though the lighting in the hall was very poor.
I wrote a small article after the expulsion describing what I saw.
My next foray into exhibiting was the launch of my first book, Actualities in Black & Orange. This was held at the Gush Etzion Judaica Center about 3 kilometres from Efrat. I managed to draw about four hundred people to the book launch which also included an exhibition of over fifty of the Black and Orange photography collection.
You would think this would have put me on the map -- I certainly allowed the Judaica Centre to make a lot of money selling all their other trinkets. We sold over fifty book -- I wrote a lot of book dedications that night -- but it received no publicity. My publisher (who did bear all the publishing expenses) failed to bring any journalists to the event or during the subsequent two months that the gallery exhibited the Collection. The only press was local (and I thank them very much for their
I have produced 2 benchers, Birchat haMazon, "Grace After Meals", Gush Katif and Hevron. I was interviewed by Arutz-7 about Birchon Gush Katif. Though this was recorded well before the book came out and before the expulsion form Gush Katif, we also discuss the Black and Orange photographs.
Later we published Birchon Hevron, displaying photographs of Hebron, Hevron.
In November last year we travelled to New York with an exhibition of photographs of Hevron including photographs of Ulan Yitzhak, the part of Ma'arat haMachpelah that is only open to Jews for 10 days each year. We also displayed some photographs from the Actualities in Black & Orange Collection as well as some from Givat Eitam.
We sold quite a few photographs, books and benchers. The exhibition was part of dinner in support of the Hevron Jewish community. It was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, New York City. Over 800 supporters of Jewish Hevron attended and a majority stopped by the exhibition. I think we must have given out 500 business cards, many with photographs of Hebron on the card.
So after all of the above, why am I a poor unrecognized artist? Who will help me reach out to my true audience?
Anyway, I've just put two up new galleries, Efrat, my home town, through the eyes of a local photographer in honour of the City of Efrat's twenty-fifth anniversary and Flags in honor of Israel's sixtieth anniversary.
I have also photographed in Thailand, Australia, New York Ciy, Hungary and Slovakia. Have a look at my site for galleries from these and other locations in Israel and around the world.
1st June, 2008
Don't forget to stop by Menachem Kuchar's photographic exhibition site to look at my latest (and classic) photographs.
Previous writings and essays by Menachem Kuchar: