For each of my 2 MA exhibitions, I produced a book and self-published it. The first one took me about 2 weeks solid work to produce, the second one about half that. I think that the book is a natural and effective form for photography, so I am keen to pursue this and make further books. But, what should be the subject matter?
The 3 pictures in this post all come from the SSSI (Site for Special Scientific Interest) on Borth Bog: Cors Fochno in the Welsh. Some of the plant life there is incredibly beautiful and there is easily enough scope for a book. It’s close location is also beneficial, and could create local interest as well as some interest within the scientific community.
Working locally seems like a good move for me. There are many sites close to Borth that have ample scope for photography books. Hafod is one other example, but there are many more. My plan would be to work in collaboration with relevant groups, ideally sharing some of the costs.
For myself, I like the idea of making a new book 2 or 3 times a year. As well as being pleasing records of my work for my own use, I could also use them to show prospective clients what I can do. I could even gain a revenue stream from them.
It is all too often the case in any artistic pursuit that there are too many possibilities, too many ideas, which need filtering to leave just the best ones. One of the trickiest things is how to go about doing this. For me at the moment there is a whole world out there that needs photographing. However, I need to consider which are the best subjects to further my career. What I want to do may not turn out to be the best choice.
What I want to do is landscape photography. I want to focus on specific areas, produce a body of work based on that area and then produce a book and an exhibition on it. There are many such areas I could choose near me, and the Hafod Estate is one such. The pictures in this post all come from Hafod.
Alas, that probably won’t pay my electricity bill this winter, nor my council tax, car tax and food bills. But I do enjoy it.
The picture below isn’t related to the content of the post, I just like it! My subject today is taking photographs of art: paintings, ceramics, sculptures. I have done quite a lot of this over the last year or so.
On the final year of my MA, I was one of only 2 digital photographers taking what you might call “traditional” photographs. I point my camera at things I am interested in, and take pictures of them. As a result, I have repeatedly been asked to take pictures of the work of the other artists, and for the Aberystwyth Ceramics Archive. Some of these pictures can be seen on my website Here
Most recently, yesterday in fact, I photographed the exhibition of my friend Stuart Evans.
Galleries are difficult places to take pictures. The lighting is often both low and of low quality, there is a high dynamic range from light to dark,they may be cramped and awkward to work in, and there will be unwanted reflections from glass. It certainly requires a tripod, and working with Raw files is absolutely essential in order to fix the “white balance” afterwards: the pictures will have a yellow colour cast without some work.
Framed paintings behind glass are almost impossible to get well in such an environment because of the reflections. Ceramics can be equally difficult because of their shiny surfaces. And then there is the space issue: a large work in a small space (some sort of installarion, for example) will require a wide angle lens, and this will distort the shape. To some extent this can be fixed afterwards, but you can still tell.
It is challenging work, but I enjoy doing it and through practice I am getting quite good at it. I would love to do more work of this type in the future. Artists are always going to need pictures of their work, for catalogues, internet publicity and so on. I’d like to be the one taking the pictures for them!
My Fine Art/Photography MA is now finished, so my journey towards becoming a professional photographer starts in earnest. This is an exciting time for me and I need to be making business plans and deciding how to proceed from here.The above is one of the 5 pictures from my show. The others can be seen in This gallery.
I will be using this blog to chart my progress towards my goal of being a freelance, professional photographer. Ideally, I want to be doing a combination of commercial work and fine art work, but for the moment I will be happy with anything that helps me move towards my goal.
I’ll be posting here once or twice a week with updates on my progress and every post will include some of my newest pictures. I welcome comments of any kind and will aim to answer all of you who take the time to do so.
My main website is: www.seasideman.com
My flickr stream is: www.flickr.com/photos/seasideman
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