Photography and its Fine Art Markets – Reflection

This week my reflection covers two items:

  • Harwich Pier Revisited – Shoot
  • The Talk between Francesca Genovese and Anna on Francesca Meffeo Gallery

Based on feedback from last week’s portfolio review I decided to revisit Harwich Pier to shoot new work that would align the narrative of the pier more closely to the other piers. I decided to visit the pier early in the morning to reduce the number of people on the pier as Harwich pier is the shortest of the 4 piers. Arriving at the pier I discovered the decking covered in frost so I abandoned the decision to take rubbings from the surface however the surface forest provided me with a new means of capturing the trace of people walking along the pier which was an unexpected bonus. During the time at the pier I managed to capture the required images and left confident that I now knew how these new images would complement the images already identified for inclusion in my work in progress.

In the short term, I intend to continue to operate my practice in parallel with my current employment focusing primarily on personal projects that will result in production of Limited Edition Prints and Photobooks. When I look at the different aspects of my practice my assessment is that I have the ability to identify potential personal project subjects and the technical skills to execute on those projects. These are well established due to my natural tendency  experiment and evolve these will continue to develop within my practice.

Through exhibiting my work at two shows over the last couple of years I have found a printer who can deliver physical prints to my standards plus they are willing to experiment alongside me as I look to push the boundaries of what is possible when delivering art. This included the creation of multi layered light boxes earlier this year when exploring potential presentation solutions for my final project.

For my fine art practice the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle is the channels for distribution to potential clients. I intend to introduce a self-distribution channel using digital direct sales approach though to be truly effective I believe I need to engage with a gallery / agent to create a physical distribution channel after all the intention is for my work to be resolved in a tangible form a print or book rather than remain in a digital form.

To this end I have started to develop contacts with a couple of London based galleries though they represent artists producing work like my practice those artists are established unlikely myself who falls into the emerging or undiscovered classification so the talk between Francesca and Anna is very timely in terms of my development of distribution and sales aspect of my practice.

Francesca’s gallery representing contemporary photographers emerging and established is in Essex which places geographically at the heart of my primary subject matter.

The dialogue provided me with confirmation on feedback from Gallerists Chris Littlewood (Flowers Gallery) and Hannah Watson (T J Boulting) that when approaching galleries be clear on why you have selected the specific gallery to represent you. To that end over the last few months I have been working on the types of materials I need when approaching a gallery. In terms of initial contact I now have produced and artist statement and a pdf version of sample images from different bodies of work. I am now able to put a covering email around that material to explain why I feel it would be beneficial to establish a relationship between myself and a specific gallery.

One area the talk highlighted was the need to refine my gallery selection process to ensure I would complement existing represented artists rather being a facsimile for another artist. That is another reason that Flowers Gallery might not be a good gallery for me because my work has too many parallels to their existing artists Edmund Clark and Nadav Kander.

Francesca confirmed that my current strategy on editions where I plan to sell work as editions of 5 plus 2 artists proofs is consistent with contemporaries in the art market.

In preparation for meetings with different gallerists I have decided to invest in a new portfolio book which is A3 landscape and will hold up to 40 images which is probably more than sufficient for meetings with gallery owners.

Francesca talk about the important of building a relationship and that the speed that the relationship develops depends upon the artist which makes sense from my perspective. I think that over the last year I have compiled the raw components of a fine art practice (my intended outcome) though help through portfolio reviews and developing a relationship with a gallery could help me achieve my stated objectives.

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