Week 9: Presenting your pitch

I had worked with two colleagues to develop a solution to the question of “what does agency look like in a ever-more automated city”. We all selected images from other artists that had created work similar or related to our work. We had agreed on style and characteristics and created image samples for the presentation. I put it into a power point and saved as a PDF. One member had written down ideas of language choice and approach to the descriptions of our work which I incorporated in the notes section of the presentation.

I was very nervous the day of our pitch and was quite happy that one other group member was able to put work aside to present with me. The first group presented a vision for the first brief, then we were able to present. The company was very polite and engaging with the group prior to our presentation, which gave me some hope that I wouldn’t be hung out to dry.

My team member and I switched off presenting our material, and I was happy to get through it. We were given very positive feedback about our work, with comments which indicated that they could be some interest in working together further. I am writing the very abbreviated version of this story, so in short, people who watched the exchange believed that our concepts and images would be the start of contracted work.

After our presentation, the company which we presented to asked for a pdf of our work as they wanted to get in touch with us and give more feedback. I did hear back from the company who said, basically, thanks but no thanks. I have to admit disappointment, and a little confusion. I understand that finding the best creative match is highly individual, and that there was no obligation on the part of the company to do anything other than look at our work. It was just a bit off putting to get really great feedback publicly, then be quietly rejected privately. I have a theory: As the pitches were open for any student to observe, the company reps were restrained from giving specific, and pointed feedback. The nature of the set up may have inadvertently created an environment where the feedback becomes falsely positive. I would recommend that Falmouth consider offering this opportunity again, but that the feedback sessions with the companies would be private.

So, what did I gain? I really enjoyed working with two other students who I might not have gotten to know otherwise. I appreciated the camaraderie and laughs we shared, as well as the challenges of creating a shared vision. I had to push myself technically to produce professional quality blended images using Photoshop. I learn best by doing and am making some significant gains in my Photoshop capability. In addition, I also learned how to create a pitch from a brief, and how to pitch work. I will be pitching a visual project at work and be using a lot of what I learned in this term.

France to Japan: Agency in the city.
From Chinese Market to Paddington: Agency in the ever more autonomous city.
Lake to Sky– What does autonomy look like in an ever-more autonomous city.
Draft– A blue print of autonomy

Week 7: Who buys photography

November 3, 2019:

I have taken a look at the week ahead and we have a couple of things to do. Set up a peer review of our work, watch a lecture, complete some reading and I will also be meeting with my brief group. I noticed that the activity posted for this week is exactly the activity which was posted two weeks ago. I am assuming that this was in error. I feel like the pressure is building as we have 5 weeks left in the term and all three assignments due on December 9th. I am working on my oral presentation and feel pretty good about the theme I am writing about. Of note, my entries are not always in the technically correct section. Sometimes coursework becomes research, etc. I hope that it all makes sense in the end.

November 4, 2019: CityID group B met today to review the feedback which we received from our instructors. We have decided that we will all create images with the blended approach with the expectation that we will have 3-4 strong images to present during our brief. This has been very exciting and challenging work- firstly, to try to understand the brief then to try to come up with a shared solution. I think that we are onto something here- though perhaps it’s just that I like the blended photograph approach.

November 6, 2019: Though I do read and think about photography constantly, this week, i have not been able to write much. Been looking at the next LensCulture contest and reviewing pictures for the possibility of entry. Though it could be a possibility, the probability of being a winner of a contest like this is very slim.

November 8th: Peer Review session with 4 other Sustainable Prospect students this morning. I regret that I had to leave to go to work (we started at 6AM my time), however I was able to present my work and review the WIP of one of my peers. I enjoy the varied impressions and feedback from peers, and left feeling a little more confident about my work and approach. It’s fascinating to see what other student’s have focused on as everyone’s approach and subject are so different. One suggestion for my work was to print one photograph as large to allow the viewer to enjoy the smaller details. I think that going large is a good approach the viewer will be put in the same position as the figures: dominated by the out of focus backgrounds. I may try to ship the printing out rather than trying to print on my outdated printer at home. I think that we have the opportunity to meet again as a group on Sunday morning, which I look forward to.

Week in review: What I learned this week is that personally, the recent change of having two demanding roles at work is exhausting and I am very tired when I get home. Working at photography or reading is difficult, but this will probably change over time. Regarding our weekly discussion, I was surprised that we received the exact same assignment as we had two weeks ago. I was honestly going to ignore it, but my colleagues posted, so I did, too. Regarding blogging like this, I think that I may be posting entries in the wrong categories as there is overlap– for example, coursework can become research, or work in progress may also be research. I am still not sure who buys photography, and for that reason, am glad I don’t have to depend on selling it for income.

Week 5: Stronger together

October 19, 2019: Update on Group Brief CityID/B. I had an idea for a visual strategy which was difficult for me to describe in a web conference. I decided to see if I could create something like what I saw in my imagination. My original idea was to create a negative of a visual collage demonstrating the elements of brief B: Personal agency in a smart city environment. City ID also identified other key elements such as diversity people and geographies, physical, social or economic barriers; agency and belonging in the context of technology and place. I would then print the negative using cyanotype, thus create a blueprint. As in a blueprint toward a smart-city future.

Boston,Portugal, Sweden, California, France, China, New Hampshire, Vermont and Tokyo

October 20, 2019: I heard back from the newspaper and a few of the pictures I took have been sent on to layout. I received very helpful feedback about the depth of field (deep, not shallow), telling a story, taking names (of people in the photos), think postcard rather then art. It’s a steep learning curve but I think that this will help me grow as a professional.

This place has an Instagram account. The owners posted a small sign inviting people to take pictures, but asked that the the photos posted are tagged with @houseanddog.

October 22, 2019: Our CityID/B group met for 90 minutes today. I think that we are moving along really well and have some work to do to get ready for our mock presentation which is next week. I will be working on creating the proposal after another student did an excellent job describing the company and our objective, among other things. Another member shot a roll of 35mm film to see what the effects of exposed sprocket holes would do to our images. This has been a really nice experience and checking in with the group weekly has added to my experience this term. My suggested approach will probably not be one that we will take for this project, and that’s an appropriate choice. My work expresses a sense of frenetic while we were going for a more peaceful approach.

October 23, 2019: Received word back from the newspaper that they are using one of my photos. Yay! First paid photo job. Will wait to see if there are any further opportunities this week for additional work.

October 25, 2019: I really appreciate the opportunity to have a one to one conversation with my tutor. We reviewed my recent concept of demonstrating willful blindness in the context of historical events, such as America’s nuclear testing program. I received helpful feedback and will pursue this idea but without the dinosaurs. The dancer and dinosaur concept works well when the figures are isolated in a created world. However, I am wondering if I should pull out the dinosaurs and try to integrate the dancers more closely into the nuclear testing photos. Overall, I am enjoying this project and am awaiting inspiration for my next focus.

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.

Week 3: Art and commerce

13 October 2019

About my work: I don’t know if I have found my personal visual style yet. I have worked on several projects and each has had a different feel- and a different goal. I believe that everyone must have thier own style– even if it is not really obvious yet. Certainly I have visual preferences and experiences that must influence my work in some ways.

Honestly, thinking about style and thinking about commerce stresses me out a bit. I don’t have it now, but i think that I will. My thought about art and commerce is that I will do my own projects on the side, then do portraits when I can, for money. I am fortunate to be a nurse, and can at some point work on photography and work part time. Nursing work is easy to come by here and pays well. I don’t have any illusions about being able to transition yet- I still have a kiddo to put through college.

Steps toward commercial work? : I was honored that my photograph,”1957″, was selected for a juried exhibition in a show themed Women at Work. The exhibition will be on display at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont from November 7-30th. I was even more surprised that my work received the Juror’s Award. I will have my portfolio reviewed by Juror Amy Toensing, a regular contributor to the National Geographic.

Week 3: CityID Brief B

Our group had our second meeting and reviewed the photographs we collected. We were looking for commonalities in the photos so that we can define how we will create a visual solution. We met with our instructors on Friday to present our work to date. I acknowledge that our group needs to move a bit more quickly, create a timeline and have a solid visual strategy.

Week 1: Understanding the Client/the brief

23 September, 2019

Researching for the purpose of investigating photographic content has been a bit challenging for me. I am a nursing practice specialist and am responsible for providing information to inform our nursing practice in a health care institution. I am very familiar with nursing practice and health research methods and use professional databases daily. I haven’t been able to use the same methods with my photographic research. I feel like finding artists who have been influencers or created work similar to mines has been mostly by word-of-mouth, or peer recommendation. I have looked for visual art data base but haven’t found one yet.

For my current project, I am currently considering how I can break down my ideas into constiuent parts, then research those parts using my typical methodolgy. For example, I have done some recent work with model dinosaurs and dancers. Today I stumbled onto Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology and dragons. Dragons have persisted in mythology prior to the identification of the dinosaur, though it is considered that the dragon represents that fear of the large lizard that ancient beings might have had.

Frequently, one peice of information leads to more questions and more information. I love that about research. I value other photographer’s work and hope to be able to identify ways to find pertinent work more easily.

Note about postings on the forum: It’s such a bummer when posts recieve no comments. This happened to me this week and I felt badly. The forum is a bit of a social-media site and it feels negative when there is no comment.

Week 1: CityID Brief B:

We received our group assignments this week and I am really excited about workin toward creating a visual strategy for CityID. In preparation, I created a Google doc for our group and populated it with notes from the CityID Brief. I created a What’s App group to help us communicate quickly. Group members were unable to meet- but have scheduled a meeting for next Tuesday.