Right now I’m working on query letters to a few magazine photo editors to see how I can get my work in front of them for consideration to use in a story they are working on or an assignment to shoot for a future piece. Like any new venture I expect this will take some time to get connected with the right people, provide them the information in the format desired, and build a relationship to fine-tune expectations on both sides. Part of my business plan is revenue from commercial and editorial projects, which this will be a first step toward generating. In addition, though, creating work associated with a specific project enables me to leverage prior skills in research, planning and management that I don’t want to lose or get rusty.
Another benefit, though, is the opportunity to get to know a new group of people who are also passionate about images and how to use them effectively. In my short experience meeting people associated with photography I’ve been pleased to find the crowd generally open, friendly, willing to teach, and overall encouraging to new photographers. The groups I’ve been around feel like a bunch of entrepreneurs focused on the success of their idea, and realizing that a network is more powerful than the single individual.
One aspect of photography is the first creator of unique imagery is met with ooh’s and aah’s whereas the first person to duplicate that uniqueness is met with blank stares and some distain. It’s not so much we are constantly looking for new and novel as much as we each want to put our own spin on it, show our own unique vision of the world around us in a way that becomes recognizable. And it’s just boring to duplicate what someone else has already put out there.
Not that learning new techniques from experts isn’t helpful. Great movements in the arts always advance as a result of students adapting and modifying some core technique of a single person, but always with their own additional touch. I’m reading Ansel Adams’ books on film photography and learning new things from each. Not that I plan on getting that involved in film photography; rather, to think through the visualization process as he has and learn how to adapt that effort to my own compositions and development process digitally.
One photographer I’m getting to know is always trying new things with his compositions and processing. Darrell Gulin just seems to love playing with imagery: creating it, manipulating it, redesigning it. His attitude comes across as one of “have fun with it” while satisfying your child-like creativity, and then find clients who share that with you through your work. Hearing Darrell talk about his composing process, his props, his post-processing – the fun just comes right through. If you ever get an opportunity to attend a workshop with him or hear him speak I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.