You are a business – Reflection

This week week like last week has been occupied with the non-photographic activities for the practice alongside executing on the week 2 activities.

Further work was required for the London Photo Show. The first was to provide the organisers with information to put on their website as an exhibitor. This consisted of statement about my work being exhibited and details about myself as the artist.  I created an ‘Artist Statement’ that is discussed in more detail in a separate entry. I provided the organisers with an image to go alongside the statement.

The next task was to create a VIP guest list for the ‘Invite Only’ preview evening that I will attend which will act as an opportunity to network and promote my practice.  The final task of this week was to review the finished prints delivered by the printers this week. On initial inspection everything looked good with each of the prints. Typically I like at each print a couple of times before giving a final sign-off, as imperfections are not always evident on first inspection. 

This week has involved time looking for potential future shoots for my main project. In my original project proposal I talked about a desire to shoot the Essex coast from different perspectives during the Strategies and Surfaces module I visited Maldon Quay for the re-photography task and during that trip found Top-Sail Charters who have converted Essex sailing barges for leisure purposes. I decided to contact them with the idea of taking images of the Essex Coastline from the barge while the boat retraces the old trade routes along the coast. After a constructive conversation with the owners there is a possibility to get a first trip on the barge before they are moored up for the winter in a couple of weeks time (the shoot will be subject to weather and timing.)

 These two activities represent different ends of the creative process and remind me that running a successful photographic practice is as much about business, as it is about photography. If you are not developing new leads you wont have new stories to record and if you are not exhibiting work to share with prospective customers why create the images in the first place.

The first academic task of week two was all about copyright some that we explored in a previous module looking at Joywar and my deeper analysis of Richard Prince. Protecting your work from theft is an important task for any artist and not always an easy one. Especially in the the digital age where re-tweeting images created by others is considered the norm. I have remained cautious about sharing work on social media platforms to prevent people stealing work and where they use it for personal gain.  However it is counterproductive in a world where your social media profile is considered important when trying to establish yourself in the digital marketplace.

I used to watermark my images but the problem is the watermark then detracts from image that you are using to engage with your audience, so I no longer use watermarks on my images. Though I did discover a service by a company Digimarc (Digimarc.com, 2017) that inserts a digital watermark into the image files and allows the images to be tracked so that you can address copyright or license infringements.

The second academic activity for the week was about creating a business plan or at least a few sections from a business plan Mission, Product and Market.  In preparation for this activity I identified a few different business plan samples that I could use for consideration when writing those sections for my own practice. The nature of my current practice is that I am looking for the practice to break over the medium term, rather than need to generate positive cashflow in the short term. I consider the practice as a long term investment and my current plan does not expect the practice to break even in the next 5 years. This is different from a photographer who relies on practice as a sole source of income. However it still has to be operated as a business, where business principles are applied with respect to investment plans aligned to products produced by the practice.

Reference

  • Digimarc.com. (2017). Digital Media. [online] Available at: https://www.digimarc.com/products/digimarc-barcode/digital-media [Accessed 7 Oct. 2017].
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