Monday, January 30, 2012

Beyond A Portfolio

A perfect art career as a photographer would probably consist of getting a MFA in Photography. Then begin to annually attend Review Santa Fe, Fotofest and Photolucida. Then begin to self publish a series of hard covered monographs and hire a publicist to promote them and then wait to be contacted by a prestigious New York gallery. Regrettably very few young, or even old photographers could follow this path. Having a career as an art photographer has always been a career path that involved a lot of money and/or luck or required one to work primarily as a college art teacher or an assignment photographer.

So which of these pursuits can be skipped today with Western economies being in a depressed state. If one accepts the assumption that galleries are the principal distributors of photographs as art and that despite the growth in sales of photography as art, the number of art photographers has grown too at a disproportional rate, it can only be assumed that it is more expensive and more difficult to become a successful art photographer than was the case in the past. On the positive side it appears likely that several well known art photographers are earning a comfortable income exclusively from selling their prints. This was not possible for previous generations of art photographers.

If one had to pick only one option - grad school, book or photo reviews I have no idea which works best, but it is clear that self publishing a book is the least expensive of the 3 options. However this is still an expensive option especially for someone new to photography or pursuing it as a hobby. Both Blurb and Lulu have some attractive options for people who are trying to sell photographs but have both a limited time and a limited budget. This is good practical step to going beyond having a portfolio.

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved