Many ideas related to pushing photography beyond the wall were discussed on January 7, 2015. Sharing her projects “WebAffairs”, “The State of Ata”, and “Shelter in Plates”, Chantal Zakari covered themes of the language of the pixel, negotiation of public space, ethics of photography, and responding to sacred images. Joining in the discussion, four presenters talked about using photography to make connections and engage with others.







Chris Yeager showed his images of “The Book of Honk”, portraits of those who take part of the Honk parade. Becoming increasing more engaged with the group over 4 years, Chris makes these portraits juxtaposing the colorful characters and costumes against start white backgrounds.

“It was refreshing to show my project to people who take photography seriously. I appreciated the compliments and even more so the great questions about my intent and where I was taking it. I don’t get enough opportunity to think about those things with other people. I’ll definitely come back and do some more viewing.” – Chris Yeager



Tom Wojciechowski showed two projects. One uses photography to create text with light writing creating complex comments on society.  The other project engages text from gravestones to bring out hidden messages from our everyday world.





Meg Bergstrand has engaged with prisoners gaining an understanding of slang, which she then crafts into logos. Meg engaged the audience as she considers how to use photography to create a book.



Charlie Taylor discussed his work at Wally’s Jazz Club seeking advice on how to continue to connect in this venue to bring it to life in photography.


Whether we make images of people on the street or interact with subcultures our discussions covered how projects change over time as we learn more about our subjects, the public and ourselves. We were asked to consider how to bring photography project full circle from making the image to giving back.

Check out the full Flickr site Here:

-Lydia A. Harris

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The theme for December’s Nights at the PRC, Identity and Portraiture, drew a broad range of presenters and lively participation from an audience of over 30 fellow photographers. Caleb Cole, the host for the evening, presented photos from his series “Other People’s Clothes,”  which is the product of his exploration of private moments of expectation and a visual expression of his experiences stepping into the shoes of the types of people he sees on a daily basis. Caleb also presented work from his new series “Blue Boys,” currently on view at Gallery Kayafas, which continues his exploration of how to visually express identity and personal experiences. Throughout the evening, six presenters shared their work related to the theme of Identity and Portraiture. Some photographers focused on traditional portraiture, while others presented work that questions how we identify ourselves or others through appearance, physical objects or location.

– Alyssa Minahan

Portrait & Identity Night

The evening’s host Caleb Cole.

Portrait & Identity Night

Presenter Renee Ricciardi.

Portrait & Identity Night

Caleb Cole commenting on a presenters work.

Below are some quotes from presenters about their experiences at December’s Nights at the PRC:

I came with specific questions regarding the presentation of my work and went home with some really good suggestions from Caleb and the group.” – Kathleen Gerdon Archer.  Kathleen is an honors graduate of Montsserat College College of Art with a BA in Painting, which has a had a profound influence on her photographic work. Her latest solo show was at The Carnery Gallery at Regis College in Weston, MA, with other solos shows at The Kingston Gallery, The Copley Society of Art and the Griffin Museum. Her work has also appeared in group shows at The Danforth Museum and Endicott College.

Nights at the PRC are a great opportunity to meet other photographers, get feedback and new ideas. This one was lots of fun, and it was a nice bonus to see Caleb’s recent work.” – Daniel Jackson. Daniel Jackson’s work has appeared in solo shows at the MIT Museum and Newton Free Library, as well as in group shows at the Griffin Museum, PhotoPlace Gallery and the PRC. His work is in the permanent collection of the MIT Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

For me, Nights at the PRC are one of the most important functions of the year.” – Skip Schiel. A participatory photographer, photographing while engaging in struggles for justice, peace, right treatment of the environment, and enlightenment, Skip Schiel makes photos for publications, exhibits, slide shows, and individual use. His current projects include a photographic examination of conditions in Palestine & Israel, searching for the seeds of the new Detroit miracle, and Twilight, an exploration of light. Since 1990, Skip has taught at the Cambridge Center of Adult Education, ranging from basic photography to digital darkroom and photographic field workshops concentrating on light in photography. He has also taught photography at the Landscape Institute formerly at Harvard, the Quaker Palestine Youth Program in Palestine, filmmaking for 10 years at Boston College, and various workshops at Quaker gatherings.

 “I had been wanting to talk about my photographs that deal with the concept of identity for a long time. The PRC offers an excellent platform for photographers to show their work and discuss it with a group of local artists. I had never shown this identity series to anyone, but after the night at the PRC I was able to gather opinions, ideas, and useful feedback about the work.” – Renee Ricciardi. Renée Ricciardi is a Boston based artist and photographer. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and is the 2013 Morton Godine Travel Fellowship recipient. Renée is currently working on a personal assignment photographing apiaries, beekeepers, and organic food in cities across Italy.

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An interview with Jessica Burko

By Cindy A Stephens

Did you think that if you hung out your online shingle (i.e., built your website) buyers would find it and you’d be successful selling your art online?  Artist and arts marketing consultant Jessica Burko told me that the biggest mistake artists make about selling online is thinking “if you build it they will come.”

The truth is that selling art online through a personal website isn’t right for every artist.  It involves confidence, marketing skill, and perseverance.  And, even if you have all the “right stuff” to be successful selling online the time you devote to creating your artist presence is time you might prefer to spend creating new art.

See my related blog is selling your art online right for you?

If you’ve decided that selling art through your website is right for you then you’ll want a few pointers to jump-start your activities.  After all, retailers like have made an art (pun intended!) of selling online.  The best approach is to think like a buyer and his/her shopping experience.

Below are five tips that Jessica shared with me to help artists be successful selling online:

  1. Mirror common online shopping practices
  2. Let buyers know they can purchase through your site
  3. Have great photographs of your art
  4. Tell your personal story
  5. Figure out how to pack and ship your art before you make that first sale

Tip #1: Mirror common online shopping practices

“People that are regular internet users are also ecommerce consumers,” says Jessica,   “They are very accustomed to shopping online on clean, user friendly, beautiful websites with very easy to use payment systems.”  Artist websites should be similar.  For instance, she says there should be a smooth transition to whatever ecommerce tool or portal the artist has chosen to accept payments.  Visitors expect it.

While it is important your website is well designed you don’t need to do something out of the box.  According to Jessica, “Do what is expected by internet shoppers for the ecommerce portion of your site.”  For example, she advocates that shopping carts should look like the familiar shopping carts you see on other sites.

If you re-invent something entirely unfamiliar you risk confusing your buyer.

Tip #2: Let buyers know they can purchase through your site

I asked Jessica to tell me the one thing that artists can do to make it easier for buyers to purchase art through their websites.  Her answer may surprise you (it surprised me): “What makes it easier for buyers to purchase art, is to tell them they can!”

“When someone goes to a show or your studio they might not immediately realize that they can buy the work online,” Jessica says.  She adds that “You have to tell them that they can buy the work online and have marketing to point them towards an online shop with easy to use shopping cart features.”  Having an online shop can lead to post-event sales.  “It is a great tool for after an event,” she adds.

As a professional marketer I can tell you that any traditional wall between online shopping and offline shopping (those activities that do not take place on a website) has been torn down.  Consider a TV commercial or program you saw recently that provided a hashtag or website address to visit.

Increasingly buyers move back-and-forth between offline and online experiences and our role as small business owners (i.e., artists) is to recognize that and make the most of it.

Tip #3: Have great photographs of your art

It’s easy for photographers who use digital capture to incorporate great images of their work on their sites.  It is more difficult for painters, sculptures and other artists to have great photographs of their art.  They may need to learn the best lighting to feature their art and how to take a high quality photo of it.

According to Jessica artists need to “Learn how to photograph their work in a good way, and have multiple views of the work.”  This applies to photographers too.  She says photographers may want to have one image that shows only the work, and another that shows what it looks like framed and hanging on a wall.  “Showing your art in a different environment helps potential buyers imagine it in their homes.”

Tip #4: Tell your personal story

Last year around this time I interviewed Aline Smithson about describing yourself and your work.  It is my most popular blog post.  Jessica echoed Aline’s sentiment about the importance of telling your story.  She says that “Your inspiration, what your process is, can be a make or break moment between buying or not.”

If you are interested in learning more about how to tell your personal story I recently recorded a 30-minute webinar on writing an effective artist statement that you might find useful.  I give tips for using written descriptions of work as one element of an artistic brand; the do’s and don’ts of writing artist statements; and the difference between an artist statement and a bio.

List to a 2-minute podcast preview of my 30-minute webinar:  writing an effective artist statement [webinar preview]

Tip #5: Figure out how to pack and ship your art

The fifth tip that Jessica provided about selling your art online may also surprise you: “Before you sell online figure out how you will pack and ship it.”  She said consider offering only matted work and not framed work or smaller prints versus larger ones.

In addition, she says it is extremely important to have accurate shipping costs (don’t forget to  list shipping cost accurately in the shipping portion of your check-out process) and to work out kinks related to packing and shipping in advance.  I agree. I sell through my personal website as well as an online gallery.  Figuring out the sizes of the prints I wanted to make available online and what it would cost me to ship them took time but was very important.

As artists we often spend the most time learning our craft either from a creative or technical standpoint, or both.  The business aspects of how to make a living at our craft are often an after-thought, and one reason why selling art online isn’t right for everyone.  If you have decided to do it, take the time to learn from others.  It can save you a lot of time – time you can devote to making art.

You might also be interested in: is selling your art online right for you?


Trademarks or registered trademarks mentioned in this post are the property of their respective owners.

Jessica Burko has been an exhibiting artist since 1985 and has displayed work in solo and group shows throughout the United States. She holds a BFA in Fine Art Photography from Rhode Island School of Design, and an MFA in Imaging Arts and Science from Rochester Institute of Technology.  To learn more about Jessica Burko and the Arts Marketing services she offers please visit:

Cindy A Stephens is a marketing professional and fine art photographer.  She has more than 20 years of hands-on experience as a marketer and image maker during the digital technology revolution, and now teaches creative professionals how to create artistic presence in a changing art world.  Her series on Boston Photography Focus, Marketing Conversations for Photographers, presents constructive concepts and tips on how to improve success and visibility as a photographer working in the world of art, commerce, or both.  Regular guest contributions for Mosaic offer suggestions on building influence using mobile photography.


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An interview with Ken Kaminesky – 103,000 followers on Twitter and counting

By Cindy A Stephens

I hadn’t expected commercial travel photographer Ken Kaminesky to tell me that he spends too much time on Twitter. Ken has 103,000 followers on Twitter, which is impressive by most standards (certainly by mine). Ken shared with me that his Twitter stream is slowing down significantly because he is on the road so much for business and also for his new photography tour business with upcoming tours in Italy, Iceland, and Jordan.



“I wish I could delegate it but that isn’t the point of social media,” he says. “The point on Twitter is to be a resource and to get to know a person,” adds Ken. In fact, answering, engaging and proactively reaching out to people on Twitter is what Ken attributes his Twitter success to. It is rare, he says, when he doesn’t reply when someone tweets something relevant to him. (Case in point: Ken generously gave me an hour of his time to interview him, despite his extremely busy schedule).

Despite the rather large amount of time that Ken spends tweeting, he is confident that it has helped his career and has propelled him to achieve better strategies for marketing. “My Twitter following gives me credibility.” Ken says that his success on Twitter allows him to reach out to send a media kit to a tourism company, for example. “They see my numbers and say this guy is for real.” This means that what once might have taken months or weeks to make meaningful business contacts now takes days or hours.

How to use Twitter for business

Jack Hollingsworth recently told me “Sadly, photographers spend too much time in the social environment without monetizing their interests. It’s a big problem.” Ken says that he is still learning to be more strategic on Twitter adding “Twitter is the crack of social media – it’s addictive.”

There are many ways to use Twitter strategically to promote a business. Ken shared three of his tips with me.

  • Marketing is a small part of Twitter. Ken advocates a 10 to 1 ratio: Tweet 10 things that are of interest to you for every 1 that is about you. People he says, don’t want to know about your business too much. He sees that people who have good followings are those who talk about the industry and what they are passionate about. “For me those things are curating, architecture, science, travel, and art.”
  • Be personable. Seeing the person behind the photographer is something that Ken is passionate about. He wants to really talk with people, as people not businesses. This echoes Ken’s earlier comment about delegating – people can’t get to really know the person behind the tweets if those tweets are being done by someone else. “Talk to people,” Ken advocates.
  • Network and socialize with key brands. Talking to people extends to magazines, writers, companies that are prospects for your commercial work, and others. “Show interest in what others are talking about and if you find them interesting use that as a strategy to be able to talk to them in their language. Tweet at them. Send a direct message.” Ken advises that if you are researching someone for business perhaps reach them on Twitter first. “It’s a more social thing. Read their Twitter feed. Engage them afterwards. Be a social person and use social media to its full extent,” he adds.

Some of you may remember a marketing conversation I had with fine art photographer Annu Palakunnathu Matthew about building relationships with galleries. Using Ken’s approach , consider reaching out to a gallery owner on Twitter before mailing an unsolicited portfolio. The point would be to develop a relationship first and connect on some shared interest.

See also how to find and work with a gallery

Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+

Facebook is also important, Ken says, for social engagement with people. You can be more personal on Facebook but you can’t reach out to potential corporate clients. “Facebook isn’t about that,” Ken says.

One social media network that Ken would like more time for is LinkedIn. “Networking and marketing, that’s the beauty of LinkedIn”, he says. For Ken, LinkedIn allows him to connect with peers and collaborate on projects together, perhaps globally.

Google+ is also important to Ken in terms of photography these days. He says “the Google+ team is doing a great job and makes it a great social sharing channel. It will be a very important social media platform for years to come.”

Unlike these other social media networks Ken says “the beauty of Twitter and its 140 characters is that it respects your time.” “It is really tough,” says Ken. “Social media has added to the workload for those who already have a full plate to begin with. It’s also opened a lot of doors. It is a double-edged sword.”

Mostly Ken tells me that social media has been fantastic to him although he still wishes it didn’t take us so much of his time. He’d prefer to be doing something creative, which isn’t happening enough these days.

Do you really want tens of thousands of followers on Twitter? Do you have the time that it is going to take to build your following and then engage with them every day? Go into it with your eyes wide open, set clear priorities and monetize your interests to create your artistic presence.

See also 5 tools Ken Kaminesky uses for managing his photography businesses from the road

Trademarks or registered trademarks mentioned in this post are the property of their respective owners.

Ken Kaminesky is a commercial travel photographer and visual storyteller. His work has been featured in numerous commercial publications, including the New York Times and on the cover of National Geographic. He communicates his passion for travel, and for the landscapes & people he meets along the way, through his popular blog, and through yearly workshops in places as far-flung as Jordan, Italy and Iceland. His favourite place in the world is always his next destination. He believes that everywhere has a story that will inspire people, and he’d love to capture it in an image. He doesn’t usually talk about himself in the third-person.

Cindy A Stephens is a marketing professional and fine art photographer. She has more than 20 years of hands-on experience as a marketer and image maker during the digital technology revolution, and now teaches creative professionals how to create artistic presence in a changing art world. Her series on Boston Photography Focus, Marketing Conversations for Photographers, presents constructive concepts and tips on how to improve success and visibility as a photographer working in the world of art, commerce, or both. Regular guest contributions for Mosaic offer suggestions on building influence using mobile photography.

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Opening Reception: Thursday, December 5, 6-7:30pm

By Kaleigh Rusgrove, PRC Intern

Moira Barrett, “Jan 26, 2012,” 2012/2013 from the series “Regarding Beauty: Notes on Turning 60,” archival inkjet print, Courtesy of the Artist.

For the past five years, the Photographic Resource Center and The Griffin Museum of Photography have organized and run the New England Portfolio Reviews (NEPR). The purpose of NEPR is to provide opportunities for photographers of all skill levels to meet with members of the photographic community. NEPR participants meet with gallerists, curators, educators, and other professionals who are able to provide feedback on the artists work.

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By Kaleigh Rusgrove, PRC Intern

Kaleigh Rusgrove, “Siren” from the series “Make Believe,” 2013

My photographic journey began at thirteen when I started taking pictures for fun with a small Olympus point and shoot I found lying around my house. Looking for a place to show these snapshots of flowers and my converse sneakers, I turned to quickly growing social media sites, in which I found a digital home for these random and often pointless shots I was accumulating.

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By Kaleigh Rusgrove, PRC Intern

Paolo Ventura, “Behind the Walls 2,” photograph; Courtesy of the Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston

(Work from Ventura’s series Behind the Walls was recently featured at the Barbara Krakow Gallery in Boston (September 10 – October 9, 2014). Behind the Walls is also the subject and title of a book published by Aperture. Ventura is currently showing his series The Infinite City at Atlas Gallery in London.)

Viewing Paolo Ventura’s first Boston show, Behind the Walls, is much like getting lost in a great story. It is easy to find yourself standing in front of the prints and imaging that the wall may open up and you might join Ventura in this mystifying created world. Standing in the small side room of the Barbara Krakow gallery, I found myself enthralled by these images of a place that seemed familiar and unknown all at once. Ventura’s work is inspiring on many levels, not only because of his gift as a visual narrator but also because of his incredible attention to detail. In Behind the Walls, Ventura has truly mastered his craft in creating miniatures and false realities.

Italian native Paolo Ventura began his career in the 1990’s after studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. Ventura worked in Italy as a fashion photographer for many years before deciding to move to New York City. It was there that Ventura began making miniatures, staging dolls inside of them, and photographing the created sets. In his first series (War Souvenir, Winter Stories, The Automaton), Ventura worked primarily with dolls as subjects. Now skilled in his practice, Ventura has entered into his own world and is the main character in his newest story, Behind the Walls.

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By Audrey Gottlieb, PRC Workshop Assistant

Photograph by Rania Matar

“A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound…” This quote by French poet Charles Baudelaire (1859) was one intricate thread of the conversation opened by Rania Matar in her recent two-day workshop at the PRC. Her eight (nine including myself) students had the good fortune to meet Rania and share a dialogue about photography that came straight from the heart.

Starting with a slide projection of famous and not so famous paintings, Rania introduced the class to subjects who posed for the great masters such as Vermeer and Rembrandt. She pointed out the importance of observing available light pouring in from a window, of learning to see shadow, skin tones, body language and mood. She interspersed photographs made by the late August Sander, Irving Penn and Diane Arbus, as well as those of contemporary photographers Tina Barney, Lydia Panas and David Hilliard. Between the first and second classes, Rania sent us emails listing the other 20 plus photographers’ works she had shown us, as well as a list of poignant quotations about portraits that she had used in her presentation. There had been a lot of material to cover in the vast territory of portraiture photography, so these suggestions to familiarize ourselves with additional images were welcome and useful. Rania provided piles of beautiful photo books to reinforce her teaching us how to see through different creative approaches.

The second class was devoted to looking at and critique-ing the “homework” assignments brought in by the students. Everyone contributed to this exercise. The critiques were gentle, constructive, interactive and expertly guided by Rania. We looked at photographs of children, families, couples, Alaskan fishermen and new Bostonian immigrants. Students talked about how and why they were motivated to follow the subjects they did. The old saying that puts forth “A picture is worth a thousand words” was supported by the fact that story-telling is vital to any personal project. There was a fabulous repartee and camaraderie among the group.

The icing on the cake was at the end of the workshop when Rania showed us her extensive portfolio of beautiful prints from past and current projects.

Rania’s rhetorical yet practical question – “What makes a good portrait?” – was answered time and again in so many ways over the course of our instruction, leaving the class begging for more and for a follow-up class next spring.

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Issue #7: Tips for how to price fine art photography

By Cindy A Stephens

Last month in this column, I reported on my conversation with photographer Scott Indermaur on how to price commercial photography.  This month I turned to D’lynne Plummer, from the Arts & Business Council, on how to set a price for fine art work.  In a time when many artists sell work in multiple channels (e.g., and direct to collectors from a studio), D’lynne advises them to “have different product lines”.

Create product lines for your work

D’lynne shared an example from her experience with the Artist’s Professional Toolbox program.  A recent graduate has very detailed, large and relatively expensive oil paintings.  These pieces are represented by a traditional gallery.  In addition, he sells prints on from different paintings, for a few hundred dollars.

D’lynne says “he would never have these less expensive prints available for purchase in his studio.  Similarly people on Etsy would not be likely to purchase one of his more expensive oil paintings, they would generally make that type of commitment in person.”

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Marketing Conversations for Photographers

Issue #6: Tips for how to price commercial photography

By Cindy A Stephens

As a marketer I can tell you that knowing what to charge for a service or product is always challenging.  There are no hard-and-fast rules to follow.  Unfortunately for photographers, understanding how to price our work has become ever more challenging in the past decade.  The shift to digital imagery has heralded new considerations with regard to digital products, the length of time a digital image will be in use, multi-media work, and more.

Commercial photographer Scott Indermaur tells me that “even people with 20 years in the business, they are still sharing pricing suggestions with each other.”

This is the first of several blog posts designed to help photographers price their work.  While I can’t tell you specifically how much to charge, I can provide examples of how commercial and fine art photographers approach pricing: what are the pitfalls?  What are the best practices?  Should you negotiate, and if so, how?

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