So, week two.
I found working through the mission statement useful. Writing strategies is hardly something new, as I have been doing that literally for decades. I still consult and occasionally teach on the subject, in business and non-profit. That said, working through things from the viewpoint of a photographer and the photographic market was useful, as I have a great deal to learn.
I ‘unpacked’ the generic ‘mission’ paragraph, as I know from experience how many interpretations it could get. In retrospect, I think that ‘artist’s statement’ is what is really needed. I have some of that, but frankly one of the reasons I am doing this MA is to clear my head on the issue, whilst also deciding how much I want to get embroiled in ‘professional photography’. So I would definitely consider the statement I prepared as a placeholder and work in progress.
On the other hand, I continue to find some of the introductory material very basic, almost lowest common denominator stuff. The ethics debate (Richard Prince et al) was interesting though we have actually covered a lot of that in previous modules. I think positioning ethics more clearly from the perspective of a working photographer might help.
I am on this program principally to improve my photography and creative process, so I hope that there is more on to come. Again, I have lots to learn about digital from a photographic perspective, Instagram and the like. But I do have a pretty solid base of knowledge and presence, digitally. I’ll cover that in a separate post.
As noted elsewhere, I was preparing a video tribute for Dad. Going through some of his things, I found a book that he had kept from 1966 on Travel Photography. I remember that this was the first book I ever really picked up on learning to be a photographer. My brothers did the same. It seems appropriate to have it as the header, here. The opening words have always stuck with me:
‘Cameras don’t take pictures – people do. That is why we have written this book about pictures, not about cameras’.
Funny, though, in the past week I found myself giving a little photographic instruction to an A Level Student. She wanted to know more about camera settings – aperture, ISO and so forth. I was surprised to hear that the A Level doesn’t include that …
This week, I read Alain Briot’s book, How Photographs are Sold, amongst others. It’s on the recommended resource list. He is clearly a master of self-marketing. The book covers his own approach, alongside stories from other photographers. Unfortunately, whilst it has lots of different marketing ideas, the book is rather focused on the selling of American Landscape work, with a sole exception of one family portrait photographer. It also misses the power of Instagram. Nevertheless, a useful and easy to read reference work. I could perhaps offer Alain some advice, though – get that website updated!
I am now working towards the next Cambodia trip. Frankly, it is not as well prepared as I would like. I did however take a decision to ask Krishna if she, as an Editor, was commissioning me, what would she challenge me to shoot on this trip? One of the issues with theCambodia project is defining its scope. This would be an interesting way to consider that issue.
Briot, Alain. 2014. How Photographs are Sold. Santa Barbara: Rocky Nook.
Setter, Ronald (Ed.). 1966. The Traveller’s Book of Colour Photography. London: Hamlyn.