The work you will find on this page was not submitted for competition. No forms were filled out, no submission fees were processed, there was no call for entries at all. These pictures did not even exist yet - not until they were dropped off for processing and printing. Furthermore, we do not set out looking for exhibition entries, show stoppers and prize winners. They just happen. We develop the film, we print the pictures, we quality-control the orders, just as we do thousands of times throughout the year. All very routine.
And then something occurs.
Something makes us stop what we are doing. We're busy printing, sorting or spotting an order of photographs when an image will come into our hands that makes us stop. We stop, and we feel compelled to share it with our peers. It may be especially creative, it may be a perfect execution of technique, it may be touching, profound, or just plain lovely. And so we talk about a photograph, and we share it with each other, and sometimes we argue in defense of it. When a majority of the staff comes to the conclusion that this photograph is extraordinary and ought to be shared, we enter it into our end-of-the-year anniversary show.
Maybe the image was an incidental snapshot taken by a six-year-old of his father and baby brother with a disposable camera. Perhaps the photograph was taken by a twenty-something art student with his home-made Holga half-frame. The print may belong to a seasoned veteran of the photographic arts who has simply captured yet another beautiful landscape with her Leica.
These are the folks that inspire us. These are our customers. At the close of the year we celebrate our anniversary with a show comprised completely of these unsubmitted, often unrecognized images. It is our hearty salute to the incidental art that happens to us all when we pick up our cameras.
In a sentence, it's a year's worth of outstanding images made by our customers in normal, everyday orders which are curated by our staff as we go about our lab duties.
While your film makes its way through our production line, we are always checking for quality and balance. Usually, we're concerned about the quality of our printing and processing, but sometimes we discover an image that is particularly striking. When we come across a photograph that makes us look twice, we nominate it for the Customer Show. With a majority vote from the staff and the photographer's blessing, an extra print is made that becomes included in the collection.
No. We do not at any time accept submissions to the Customer Show. You can continue bringing us your film and continue getting prints with the hope of being selected, but we cannot guarantee inclusion as the result of frequency or persistence alone. But the more film you expose, the more chances you have of capturing that elusive moment of artistic clarity. So keep it up! But do it for yourself, and not for the show.
he year of the show is the year that the images came to us for printing and were selected to be shown. Film that we receive in 2018 could have been exposed in 2018, for example, but it could have just as easily been exposed in 1950. We do not limit the show images to a certain year made, just a certain year they passed through our lab.
Really truly, yes. We are blessed with a very talented pool of customers, but the point of the show is that art can come from anywhere, and can happen whether you're trying to create art or not. We believe that it doesn't take a professional photographer to make a beautiful image, and we aim to celebrate the everyday art that we see in the film our customers send us.
Because we are incapable of not doing it. There's this feeling of responsibility that comes over us when we hold in our hands an image that has thrown us out of our normal routines. We couldn't live with ourselves if we let such an image fall into obscurity without being seen and appreciated by a large audience. So in a way, we do it for ourselves, so that we can sleep at night.
Most of the time, yes. If there is an image that speaks to you, let us know. We can usually introduce prospective buyers to the photographers directly, without you needing to work through us.
There are several ways you can enjoy old Customer Shows after December. The first is on our website galleries, where we've posted each year's Customer Show images for you to enjoy at your leisure. We also hang the previous 2-4 years' shows each December, so you can always come back when it's Customer Show Season and see some of your old recent favorites on the walls again.
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