What Do You Want to Know?

by Disphotic

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-13800-0006 / CC-BY-SA

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-13800-0006 / CC-BY-SA

It’s a sad truism that one of the few reliable ways to make money in photography seems to be to extract it from other photographers, who are often willing to pay for any professional leg up in what is a painfully competitive field. Exorbitantly expensive portfolio reviews, competitions and workshops are all examples of this tendency, and while I have no problem with any of these services being offered for a reasonable fee, the amounts that are charged often seem really difficult to justify.

In terms of cost per minute many portfolio reviews works out as more expensive than a phone call to a premium rate sex line, and some would argue the quality of advice you get can sometimes be pretty similar. That really bothers me because as ever it restricts access to those all important photographic gatekeepers, meaning only those who can afford to pay are able to see them. It underlines the recurring problem in photography, as in so many creative industries, that success becomes not only about a person’s ability but also about the reserves of social and financial capital that they can deploy.

Conscious of this and keen to get some teaching experience under my belt I’ve been thinking of trying to organise some free workshops for photographers in the near future. It’s early days but I envisage a simple format with a small group of maybe ten people and lasting perhaps a couple of hours to a half day.

In terms of subject matter I’m keen to use these workshops as a way to focus on relatively overlooked issues around personal photography practice but hopefully also ones with fairly broad relevancy for photographers working on their own projects. A couple of ideas so far include looking at using print on demand publishers as an outlet for your work, and a session on avoiding the many pitfalls in writing about your practice.

However I’m also really keen for photographers themselves to tell me what they want to learn, and if feasible I’d like to try and get other people involved in teaching these workshops where their own expertise overlaps with the subject and where my own knowledge is found wanting. Equally if anyone has any suggestions for venues or organisations in London who might be willing to collaborate on this then that would be great too.

So if you have any thoughts please do leave comment here, tweet or e-mail me with your suggestions for topics or subjects of interest, and spread the word!

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