Business of Photography

This weekend I attended the I am an Artist workshop at Photo Center NW, a class focusing on the business of being an artist. The course was instructed by Mirium Works, a local businesswoman and artist. We covered such practical information as what an artist resume looks like, how to set up a website, and where to find opportunities for displaying and funding our art work. We talked about our goals, created an “elevator speech”, and laid out time lines for moving forward. The weekend culminated with a networking event where we each showed 10 of our images and spoke about our current projects.

The class was made up of 6 ladies, including myself. One woman’s focus was the darkroom, making beautiful black and white prints. She enjoys her career as an accountant, and sees photography as something to do on the side. After completing the course her goal has become to set up her own website, so others can enjoy her work, too!

Another photographer takes portraits of the kids she works with at a daycare. She recently shot her first wedding, and is booked for another this fall. She is also interested in archiving her photographs. He work reminded me of Alec Soth, maybe because a lot of her pictures were shot in the northeastern US using diffused light. They had a quality of fleeting history, moments that become special because they were captured on film.

We had a photographer who simply loved to shoot. She would shoot anything, and didn’t care if she got paid. Her images were of very unusual angles, and all very balanced. I would love to have those kinds of edges in my photographs- where nothing is ever cut off and the subject has just enough room. Unfortunately, she is afraid to take herself seriously because of some major technical blunders in her past. We encouraged her to check out The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Hopefully she does, because the community needs her!

There was an older woman who lives in Sitka, Alaska. Her and her husband snowbird in Seattle. She is on career number three, and has experience running a small business. Her images were of fishing, Alaskan wildlife, and her travels. She brought her business expertise to the table; such as making sure you know your market. Once you have your target audience figured out, how to sell your product will become more clear.

The networking expert of the group was new to PCNW. She had recently quite her day job and was going to back to school to give photography a real chance. Also, recently married she was able to give insight in what people are looking for when they are choosing a wedding photographer.

My claim to fame in the class was writing the perfect artist statement. Miriam told me I was a “very good writer”. Over the last few months I have been coming back to the idea of making writing part of my storytelling process. This workshop has made me think about how I want to incorporate writing into my work.

We built up a lot of momentum over the weekend talking about our goals, and getting ideas of where to take the next steps. I hope that we can stay in touch, to inspire and hold each other accountable. One of the most important things I took away from this weekend is that the artists are they key to the art world. If you are surrounded and inspired by your peers, you have the opportunity to go far.