Week Three Reflections

mickyatesBusiness, Cambodia, Coursework, Critical Research Journal, Photography, Plans & Notes, Practice, Reflections, Social Media, SPWeek3, Sustainable Prospects, Webinar Leave a Comment

Still frustrated.

On the plus side, had a really good conversation with Krishna and Isabella in the webinar this week. It was fascinating (and inspiring) to look over Isabella’s work, in a  very small group. Lovely work, and very attuned to the kind of things I am trying to work with in ‘traces’.

Krishna also delivered on the ‘what would she commission’ question that I asked last week. She really likes and wants to see more of the black and white negatives, as something both unusual and appropriate to my project. She also wants me to explore how ‘people’ could be part of this approach.

And Krishna encouraged me to continue collecting and working with stories, as in ‘I Missed My Mother‘. As noted before, she would however like to see more ‘human’ payoff and portrait work. Lots of food for thought for the upcoming Cambodia trip, which I will be planning in detail in the next week.

I have also found some of the recommended resources interesting – although frankly the ones I was most attracted to (Lister, Cotton) I had looked at before in other modules. Still I decided to write some new posts – digital and contemporary art.

On the down side, whilst I really do want to know more about the photography business, I continue to feel that the materials (and tonality) are more intended for people starting out in business in general.

I have read both Alain Briot’s How Photographs are Sold, and Lisa Pritchard’s Setting Up a Successful Photography Business. I found the former far more interesting than the latter, as it contains case studies, albeit rather American-Landscape oriented ones. The latter was a useful set of checklists, but, frankly, the kind of thing I have done in business for decades. There were some useful points about the distinctive features of the photography business, but not many, and hard to find amongst the general stuff – and it was not really up to date on, e.g. social media.

I have always been an ‘early adopter’ (using digital cameras, Photoshop and building websites in the mid 1990s, and in the early user group of social media). I am certain I have things to learn, but I really don’t need ‘digital’ 101.

Exercises like ‘get 30 followers/viral images’ really don’t do justice to building sensible, long-term marketing strategies, in my opinion – especially when comments around the legal / ethical side appear unwelcome by the faculty. This is either about building  grown-up business or it’s just a bit of fun. Hard to totally see which, right now. I am not here to start a new business, so I guess my observations would not apply to everyone on the MA.

Still, reading other CRJs, I know that I am not the only one that feels this way. But so far, any suggestions for improvement seem to be unappreciated.

I would finish by noting that the current workload for the two tutors seems unsustainable. There must be 3 cohorts, 60 students or so, with just 2 tutors. That makes it extremely hard for any kind of continuity for the student, and also any in-depth time for the tutors to study our work and our posts on the CRJ.

Needs fixing.


Briot, Alain. 2014. How Photographs are Sold. Santa Barbara: Rocky Nook.

Cotton, Charlotte. 2004 (2014 3rd ed). The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson.

Lister, Martin (Ed.). 2013 (2nd ed). The Photographic Image in Digital Culture. London: Routledge.

Pritchard, Lisa. 2011. Setting Up a Successful Photography Business. London: Bloomsbury.

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