Author Archive

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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Friday and Saturday, June 7-8, marked the third annual New England Portfolio Reviews (“NEPR”). Organized by the Griffin Museum of Photography and the Photographic Resource Center, this two-day event brought together photographers with experts from the New England photography community for portfolio reviews. With a broad spectrum of reviewers from which to choose—educators, printers, gallerists, publishers, and curators—artists had the opportunity to get valuable feedback from a variety of perspectives. In response to feedback from last year’s NEPR, the Griffin Museum and PRC sponsored a “Preflight Panel” this year (May 14). Attendees learned about how to prepare for portfolio reviews and what to anticipate. Panelists included Eunice Hurd, Director of the Robert Klein Gallery, educator Neal Rantoul, the Griffin Museum’s Executive Director Paula Tognarelli, and myself.

Saturday morning portfolio reviews
(Photo courtesy of Randall Armor)

NEPR distinguishes itself as the only regional portfolio review event. For artists it offers the unique opportunity to receive constructive feedback on projects in a collegial and supportive environment. It also provides further exposure–getting work out there that hasn’t been seen or discussed before. For reviewers, like myself, NEPR is a way to see new work and meet new artists. It’s also how I stay informed about trends in photography. I love many aspects of being a Curator, but portfolio reviews are “gravy” because they offer me the opportunity to support artists and see new work. A review is a dialogue, and, as a reviewer, I try to facilitate the creative process by listening, asking questions, and helping an artist clarify his/her artistic vision and direction. I try to make the act of courage that inspires an artist to place new work in front of a curator, worthwhile.

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By Ron Cowie, photographer

I’ve attended AIPAD every spring for years and love every minute of it. There is no other place where I can see the entire history of photography under one roof in one afternoon besides AIPAD. Galleries of every stripe show up and showcase their strongest work to sell. That in itself is interesting because I get a snapshot of current market trends. I won’t say the collection is comprehensive but just about every base is covered by one gallery or another.

 AIPAD is the ice cream parlor in the belly of the “Photo World’s” beast. Something sweet for everyone.

It’s fun to make art and not think about money. However, if you plan to have any career in the arts that is based on the selling of said art, you had better see what people are willing to pay for work that is similar to what you are making. That’s right, if you attend AIPAD, you’re going to bump into some work that looks a lot like yours. This is a necessary dose of humility, which frees up some space for making better work. Knowing there is an audience for the work I create saves a lot of energy in the creative process.

I go to be inspired by the work of old masters and new “stars.”  I also get a better idea of which galleries are “right” for my images by seeing what they are showing in their booth. Websites don’t always accomplish this in the same way. It costs a lot more to ship actual photos to New York than it does to upload images to a website. That kind of commitment to an artist speaks volumes.

At AIPAD, I get to talk to people who are just as interested in photography (gallery owners, artists, fellow collectors, curators) as I am. At AIPAD, I get to I introduce myself to a gallery owner or artist, take his/her cards and get in touch later. Some call it speed dating; I call it a lovely way to meet people who share the same interests for the sake of meeting. It beats Facebook hands down.

After all is said and done about social networks and whatnot, making and collecting art comes down to old fashioned face to face relationships. I don’t go to AIPAD to have my suspicions and cynicism confirmed but to have them dispelled. It is nice to know there is a place at the “Photo Industry” table for just about anyone willing to do the work. Galleries play a very important part in promoting photography. The investment they make to participate at AIPAD is not a small one and should be respected.

Also, I like rubbing elbows with the big shots. I know, I’m shallow for thinking that way, but it’s true. It is reassuring to see people I admire hustling as hard (if not harder) than I do. You can’t leave the Park Avenue Armory without a profound respect for the work that is being done in order to get seen there. No one gets off easy in that regard.

Business woes aside, the main reason I go is just to be an audience member for my fellow photographers. I love being able to look at the photos and buy them. I collect photography because I need to be a good viewer in order to be a good photographer. I don’t have the time or budget to make every opening that I want to attend or collect every piece that inspires me. AIPAD allows me to cover a lot of bases in an afternoon or two. Even if I leave empty handed, I’m encouraged by what I see and the people I meet. That’s worth the price of the ticket alone.

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By Liz Ellenwood, PRC Volunteer

My work at the 2013 Krappy Kamera Exhibition at SoHo Photo Gallery.

The Krappy Kamera just celebrated its 15th year at the Soho Photo Gallery in New York City, and the theme is simple—you can only apply with photographs that were created using “equipment from the low end of the technological scale.”  That means toy cameras, Holgas, Dianas, etc., cameras that you can pick up at a garage sale or even make yourself. My image was created with a Holga that I have had for a few years now, and it has seen better days. There is black tape on the sides to protect my film from light leaks and apparently something inside it broke off so it can double as a maraca if I shake it. Did I mention it’s also a plastic camera (both body and lens)? Regardless of its musical talent and its durability (it won’t shatter if I drop it), it is SO much fun! As is the Krappy Kamera Exhibition.

I was actually made aware of the call for entry for the Krappy Kamera by Jesseca Ferguson when I was her workshop assistant for the PRC’s “Pinhole Madness Workshop with Jesseca Ferguson.”  Ferguson primarily works with pinhole cameras, which you guessed it, are considered to be “Krappy Kameras.” Her work is anything but “krappy” it is eye catching and ethereal. So with her encouragement I decided to apply with my recent work made with my Holga. Needless to say I did a little happy dance when I received the acceptance email to the Krappy Kamera Exhibition. My selected image was Untitled 002, an in-camera multiple exposure that was then printed as an archival silver gelatin print.

I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful show juried by Christy Karpinski, the Founder and Editor of F-Stop Magazine. Karpinski selected 47 artists from 180 applications and pieced together a fantastic grouping of photographs, ranging in both subject matter and printing processes. I am honored to have been in this show with photographers from all over the United States and from other countries. I even knew one of the selected photographers from Boston, Suzanne Revy.

I was able to attend the opening night at Soho Photo Gallery. The gallery was even more beautiful in person: great lighting, terrific wall space, I could go on and on about the space but lets focus on the show. The exhibition celebrates the excitement of cameras that people have written off as “not good enough” because they are not at the top of the camera food chain. Looking around the room I felt proud to be a part of something so simple yet beautiful. We were taking away all of the fancy settings and digital capabilities and just having fun with photography. That was my favorite quality of the show, the lighthearted exploration of photography.

At the end of the opening, I was awarded the People’s Choice Award and won a GOLD Holga. I can’t wait to take this baby out for a spin!

Winning the People’s Choice Award and receiving the “Gold Holga.”




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During my first year of college, a classmate of mine declared that she wanted to work in an art museum because it was the one place where all cultures, represented by objects and visitors, could gather under one roof. Of course our art professors spent the next four years challenging this idealistic view of an institutional space. As a photography curator, I’m happy to say that there are some places where at least those of us passionate about photography can gather under “one roof.” One example is the Society of Photographic Education’s annual conference—an inclusive gathering that promotes dialogue amongst photographers, scholars, educators, critics, students. curators, publishers, enthusiasts, vendors, industry leaders, and gallerists from around the country and some from abroad.

Entitled, “Conferring Significance: Celebrating Photography’s Continuum,” this year’s conference encouraged debate and discussion while providing ample opportunities for sharing work, networking, socializing, and giving one another advice and support. The Society for Photographic Education (or SPE) fulfills a lot of concrete professional needs. Intangible and yet equally vital, SPE fulfills an emotional one: the need for inspiration.

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(Installation view with a glimpse of works by Jesseca Ferguson and Ron Cowie)

As a curator, I spend a lot of time researching ideas for new shows and jotting down ideas for exhibitions as they come to me. “Doors of Perception…” is perhaps a little bit different because I have been thinking about curating a show like this one for many years.

The seed for this show was planted in a workshop at the George Eastman House in Rochester, a few years ago.  Simply titled, “1839,” the workshop, led by photographer and Process Historian Mark Osterman, served as a hands-on introduction to the historic photographic processes from 1839: photogenic drawing, daguerreotype, and Bayard’s process.  A seamless integration of making photographs (in the gardens and darkroom) and viewing photographic objects in the Eastman House’s collection, the workshop was a thorough and rewarding education in historic processes.

At the end of the workshop, I had the chance to see Mark Osterman’s studio, which he shares with his wife, photographer, and teacher, France Scully Osterman.  Having taught so many students historic processes over the years, France had a lot of insight into students and practitioners of alternative processes. During that visit, she said something that really stuck with me.  She said that a lot of people learn alternative processes and think that that’s it; “but you need to have something to say,” she pointed out. In other words, the historical process is not an end in and of itself. It’s only the beginning. To make compelling artwork, one still needs to have something to say. Read the rest of this entry »

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