Posts Tagged “Photography”

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 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., Etsy.com 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 Etsy.com 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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Marketing Conversations for Photographers

Issue #6: Creating an Effective Photography Website

By Cindy A Stephens

You don’t have to be an expert in html to create a website that showcases your photography.  There are many easy-to-use website development tools that help even the most technically challenged build a photography website.

What does require some expertise, however, is an understanding of how to build an effective photography website.   Fortunately, the barriers to achieving this are crumbling for a photographer without the wherewithal to pay for a completely custom website.  It all starts with knowing who your customers are and what your goals are.

Get to know your audience

PhotoShelter’s co-founder Grover Sanschagrin tells me a common mistake photographers make is to “design their website for themselves.”  He says “they ask other photographers for input, but spend little or no time asking their actual customers – photo buyers and editors – for feedback.”  Grover advises photographers to get to know their audience and don’t automatically assume that you know what they want.

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Marketing Conversations for Photographers

Issue #5: Building Relationships with Art Collectors

By Cindy A Stephens

It’s a wonderful feeling to know that as an artist your work has touched someone and that they have purchased a print to have in their home or collection. In fact, many collectors purchase work not because they believe it will appreciate in value but because they love it. (See: Collectors Buy Art Because They Love It  by Kathryn Tully).

If you are represented by a gallery you may not know who purchased your print and will leave it up to the gallery to market future work to these same collectors (See: How to Find and Work with Galleries). For others, interacting directly with buyers is a fulfilling and enjoyable part of their artistic process.

Ask yourself, do you want to interact with your customers, personally? Some artists opt for gallery representation while other artists opt for greater engagement with customers and sell work directly to buyers. Beware that galleries might view it as a conflict of interest to do both

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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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Marketing Conversations for Photographers

Issue #4: How to Find and Work with a Gallery

By Cindy A Stephens

Do you want to be represented by a gallery?  Many of the graduating students from the Montserrat College of Art that I met during their portfolio review had answered that question for themselves with a resounding YES.

There are many advantages to working with a gallery.  Galleries have established relationships with individual collectors, museums, and other buyers so when a gallery agrees to take on an artist they also agree to promote that artist to these important audiences. Fine art photographer, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew tells me ““Some artists are looking for a brand name gallery which can definitely help with their career but I would be cautious if that is always the best match.”

So the real question becomes: how do you find the right gallery for your career?  The gallery landscape is more diverse than a decade ago:  there are artist-run cooperative galleries (e.g., Galatea), online galleries (e.g., Saatchi Online) and traditional brick-and-mortar galleries (e.g., Howard Yezerski Gallery), making it a challenge to find the best match between artist and gallerist.

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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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Marketing Conversations for Photographers

Issue #3: Building Your Online Presence

By Cindy A Stephens

“How do I drive more traffic to my website?” is a question that I hear frequently.  Creating a website is merely the first mile in a marathon of establishing your online presence, which is now fairly straightforward with the myriad digital tools that are available for photographers and other creative professionals.

The answer to the question is that once your site is built, you need to recognize that you have just started a marathon and then make the commitment to complete the journey.  This persistence is critical to successfully building your online presence.  And that, says online influence expert Stephanie Sammons, “cultivates business success.”

Stephanie told me that “most people give up before they reach their desired level of success with the volume of people visiting the site, growing their network or connecting with them.”

It all starts with getting clear on what your goals are and aligning your online presence with those goals, which Stephanie says is “very, very critical to building a successful online presence.”

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