An Afternoon in Watchung: The New Jersey International Photography Exhibition

Full tank of gas in the car. A couple of soda bottles in the cuprests. American Top 40 on the 70’s on 7 satellite radio channel.

And I’m on my way to Watchung, New Jersey – where four of my artworks are hanging on the gallery walls of the Watchung Arts Center as part of the New Jersey International Photography Exhibition.

And just as American Top 40 reached the #1 song that week (apparently it was a 1973 episode, and for all you trivia buffs the #1 song on that episode was “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips), I arrived at a roundabout in the township of Watchung. Destination achieved.

Signage is clear. I am here.

Of course, I arrived an hour early. Not by choice, mind you – guess which of my personal clocks and timepieces didn’t switch off of Daylight Saving Time? Yep.

No matter. There was a nearby park, so I took a leisurely post-2 1/2 hour drive stroll.

Then the gallery opened.

And my four artworks were on the walls. Sweet.

There’s my triple blue Washington County, 2:30 a.m. just above my triple-red (three second places) of We Serve Wayward Strangers. Nice.

And over in another corner …

There it is. The Three-Two Pitch finally gets its due. I’m happy for it.

And, of course, one of my hammer pieces …

There it is. That mixture of Kodak Verichrome Pan and Kodak Instamatic, all blended together in an analogue day-night juxtaposition.

And I must say this … there were plenty of eyes at the Watchung Arts Center. And lots of discussion about all the artwork – I asked as many questions as possible among all the artists, because I wanted to know their inspirations and their techniques and their ideas and their concepts.

And in that moment, I realized. For all these years. For every photo I’ve taken, and every one I’ve shared.

All these photos are essentially my children. And gallery shows like these are their coming-out party. I feel like the parent at the school Open House.

But as I said, it’s important to share knowledge and technique. That’s what helps photographers improve.

And in the end, event organizer Nancy Ori offered me this deft piece of advice. As much as I would love someday to get my artwork in a New York City gallery … having four of my works in this show is even more important, because these shows are more open and more fulfilling. Not everybody can get into New York City just for an art gallery viewing, and the artwork in those gallery shows might be of a different genre or style. But a show like the NJ International Photo Exhibition draws from a broad talent pool. And it appears for a large and varied audience.

So I’m definitely good with that.

Heck, I even got Nancy Ori to share a selfie with me.

And then it was back in the car, another long drive back to the 518. I will note this – Lightning’s Girl made it on a full 8.9 gallons of 93 octane with maybe two gallons to spare. I am definitely digging this car.

Oh, and one other thing. In about three weeks’ time … it’s possible I could capture some incredible photos for consideration at next year’s NJ International Photo Exhibition.

There’s no time like the present to prepare for the future before it becomes the past. In other words, keep up with the times, Miller. 😀