Week 4: The current commercial environment

15 October 2019 : I have been grappling with the questions of “who I am, what do I do and who cares” of late related to the recent post prompts. I have had some public exposure- through exhibitions and social media. However, I don’t know if people like my work, or would ever want to purchase it. I had great feedback yesterday, however, when co-workers expressed interest in my work specifically to decorate their offices. What struck both of them was the fun, feminist message contained in the photo. I thought – oh good, I am not crazy– that other people who work in this same very hierarchical environment may feel the same as me– disgusted by being asked to take minutes, or prepare a PowerPoint for a man who could do it himself. We do have administrative assistants who could do the work, but sometimes it seems that any person with xx chromosomes can be asked to clean up the lunchroom. So there is a potential market! The other thing I did today considering marketing myself was apply for a contract position as a news photographer. The advertisement stated that one could work as little or as much as desired– even if I could cover a couple of stories per month I would gain experience.

I met with the CityID Brief B group last night- three of us were able to get together. While we are still developing the ideas for what our visual recommendation will be, we also have started work on our timeline and I will attempt a written recommendation for our approach. At this point, we are thinking that we could shoot in film and take an experimental approach. While there is an inherent risk to a strategy like this, we feel that using a retro approach could be helpful in emphasizing future vision.

October 16, 2019: Update– I did not get selected for the Leica Women Foto award. This opportunity was open to female photographers in the US whose art expressed a female perspective. The artists who did produce inspiring work. I have a tiny bit of disappointment: however, I knew it was a long shot for me, but also that it’s important to put myself out there in hopes of being selected.

In response to ‘all genres of photography are commercial: Hearing the delineations of commercial vs art and how the two can work together is really helpful. I had wondered if my thought about taking on commercial work and doing my own work was unrealistic, but know now that this model is common. What was uncomfortable was thinking about what my personal style is. I don’t know and I don’t know how to know this.. Will continue to think.

October 17, 2019: Update on the freelance position at The Vermont Standard: The editor said that he and the publisher liked my work, so responded that I can start. First assignment: Halloween and fall decorations on the green in Woodstock VT. Will receive very little pay ($50/39 pounds) per assignment. I will try to do an assignment every weekend, or every other weekend. What I hope from this: I am excited to have the opportunity to produce commissioned work. I like the challenge of thinking through how I am going to get the paper what they want, in an interesting way. I also wonder if, by covering events or stories, I will be exposed to interesting things I might want to pursue as a project. Lastly, I really like the area of the state where the newspaper is based- it’s beautiful.