Planning your gallery show: THEME

By January 27, 2013Blog, Gallery Shows, Photography

On January 16, I did a short presentation called Planning Your Gallery Show at the Winnipeg South Photo Club. So that the presentation reaches more people, I’ve decided to convert it into a series of blog posts. This is the first of five and it focuses on THEME.

In addition to displaying my work in a number of shows that our photo club has put on, I’ve also done two full gallery shows to date. The first was called ‘Outlet‘ and was co-presented with my friend Jeope Wolfe in order to showcase the best photographs from our respective 365 projects. The second was my first solo show, and was called ‘The Spaces Within‘.

My presentation explained the process that I followed in pulling together my solo show — from deciding on the theme, to figuring out the layout and flow of the show, to designing all of the necessary promotional and informational pieces, to promoting the show and finally, to holding the opening night reception. My hope is that this information will be helpful for photographers in the early stages of planning their own gallery show.


My first step was to figure out an overarching theme for my show. In this case, I hadn’t been shooting a series of photos with a theme already in mind. Instead, I had a number of photos from approximately a year-long timespan that I was proud of and wanted to display. So I did a shortlist and roughed them all together on a page to see if a theme popped out at me. My photography work includes self-portraits, landscapes, nature and objects, so at first glance, it seemed fairly random. However I felt there was a common feel to the photos and ultimately decided that they were a representation of my finding and exploring both internal and external spaces. So, I decided to name the show ‘The Spaces Within’ and described it as follows.


It doesn’t matter what theme you choose for your show, but whatever it is, make sure it is one that you identify with, that makes sense with the collection of photographs that you plan to display, and has a strong enough concept that you can thread it through everything created for the show. It’s important to brand your show in a cohesive way.

Stay tuned for the next blog post in this series…

Leave a Reply