First week of term

During the first week of term I was unsure in which direction to take my studio practice, I had been looking at alternative processes in photography as I wanted to go down a more experimental route and I felt studio practice could be the place to do this. My vacation work had been predominately photography based, and once set up in my studio space I put up the research that I had completed over summer along with the contact sheets I had printed.

I was a bit torn as to where this work should fall whether it would be Negotiated Photography or Studio Practice, I wanted to keep the 2 modules as 2 distinctly different bodies of work, but I just wasn’t sure at this stage how I was going to do so.

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Studio Space at the start of term

Can I make money out of my art?

This must be a question most art and photography students ask themselves whilst studying, I know I have. This could be as a mature student I have previously worked and am only too aware that bills need paying and children want feeding, once my degree is completed and my student finance has come to an end I will need to earn some money.

Steve McCoy and Stephanie Wynne are a collaborative partnership based in Liverpool, who make a living from their photography, and came into Uni today to talk about their business and how they achieved this. McCoy Wynne work predominately as commercial photographers, with 50% of their work coming from location photography, they also work together on personal projects which are integrated into their business.

They have worked hard on their website which is a showcase for their work, it was important to them to make it user friendly the design works as a contact sheet with ease of use a high priority for both their commercial and personal work. They have built their reputation by using a balance of photography and negotiation skills to politely prove themselves. Whilst they concede that they have had some luck, their success is predominately down to hard work, particularly in the early days when they would knock on doors and make cold calls. They sometimes take advantage of the locations of commissions to work on some of their personal projects, shooting additional images which are logged on various photo library sites such as The National Trust and Millenium, they constantly consider how they can best use their time, thinking about how they can make money from their work.

One of their personal projects which I found interesting is called Triangulation, it is an ongoing project which involves finding the location of various triangulation points in the UK and taking a 360 degrees panoramic image with the camera place on top of the point. This project has removed the need to shot something, somewhere at its best, the viewpoint is dictated by the height of the point and the weather conditions are variable. Introducing themselves as commercial photographers has brought them prejudice from some circles, this is apparent when looking for somewhere to display their personal work but they appear to stay true to themselves, acknowledging that whilst they must earn their livings they can also be actively involved in their local art scene and work on projects which they feel passionate about.

Some of the essential advice received.

* Make sure you keep your copyright, your client has 2 years unlimited personal use of the images, after that you are free to sell again

* Photo’s being stolen from online sources which are sometimes not worth pursuing due to cost implications. Use Tin Eye, backward image search

* Be realistic about your expectations

* Have a story/background to your work and keep working at it

* Photograph things for commissions in a personal way

* Look at the familiar and see how you can portray in a different way

* Does your knowledge of tradition show in your work. Use tradition as a springboard.

McCoy and Wynne were generous in sharing their knowledge and experience with the students who could potentially be their future competition. However after having another look at their website upon returning home, the quality of their work is apparent and it is understandable that they have their market cliental who appreciate the personal viewpoint offered.

The most important advice offered was to learn to justify your own work and in order to convince others that your work is worthwhile you need to be convinced of it.

Why should we use Social Media?

Today’s guest speaker was Amanda Dobbs the founder of Marketing strategist company Koogar, Amanda joined us to talk predominately about social media and how and why we should be utilising it.

“The term social refers to the interaction of living organism.  It always refers to the interaction of the organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary”

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Whilst social media offers an excellent platform to promote your business it is also important to be aware of the risk advertising online poses. Your brand is you, and the way you conduct yourself whilst online could be advantageous or detrimental to your business or future career prospects.

Some of the key social media services available are

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Blogs
  • LinkedIn
  • Photo sharing sites

Social Media allows you to

  • Build relations
  • Listen to requests
  • Respond to needs
  • Develop new solutions
  • Create personal relations
  • Respond faster
  • Change your procedure
  • Review customer service
  • Attract new customers

Advantages of social media

  • Broad reach
  • Find your target audience
  • Free or low cost
  • Personal
  • Quick and easy

Risks with social media

  • Wasted time and money for little or no return
  • Rapid spread of negative feedback or comments
  • Legal problems

 

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The session didn’t tell me much that I wasn’t already aware of, however it was delivered in an interesting way with some surprising statistics which couldn’t fail to make you consider your own use of social media.  It highlighted the importance of understanding your Why. Why you do what you do, once you understand this, other people will get you too.

ExtraORDINARY – Everyday objects and actions in contemporary art

Currently showing at The Lowry, Salford Quays, is an exhibition made up of artists, sculptors and photographers where some the works requires audience participation in the making of the art. The idea behind this sort of interactive exhibition is the exploration of the making of art rather than the finished piece of work.

A couple of the installations really stood out for me.  The first one, ADA by artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski is a helium filled kinetic drawing sculpture. The sculpture shaped like a giant ball has large sticks of charcoal protruding from it and placed in a small white room, spectators were being encouraged to enter the room to bounce the ball from walls to ceiling in order to make marks on all surfaces.  There was something almost extra-terrestrial about this sculpture as it floated around the room, it bounced from wall to wall, the light projected through its translucent body giving it an alien appearance,

                                          

The second installation, Soul City (Pyramid of Oranges) by Roelof Louw,  started life in the gallery as a pyramid, here participants are offered the opportunity to change the appearance of the artwork by taking away an orange. By the time I visited, with just one week left to run the was very little evidence of the pyramid or the majority of the 5800 oranges!

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The exhibition as a whole is playful with some of the pieces of work possibly made with a sense of humour. The use of everyday objects in art is often a matter for debate, with viewers confused as to how a biscuit, Gavin Turk‘s  A Rich Tea Biscuit, or a range of different lengths of nails, and a floor display of ascending sized Cactus,both by Martin Creed, can be called art. These artists see the practice of selection and positioning of these somewhat commonplace objects as  fundamental in their creative practice.

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Martin Creed Work No 701

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Martin Creed – Work No. 960 (dimensions variable) 

This exhibition is an excellent way to encourage spectators, children in particular, to enjoy visiting the gallery by allowing them to touch the installations, becoming part of the process of the making of the art, thus becoming a part of the exhibition.