“The digital world is full of noise, and that cacophony of noise makes it hard to be heard. It makes it hard to stand out and make your point, express your opinions, build a client base, and tell your personal stories. Adding to that cacophony without a distinctive voice is therefore pointless. It is better to be quiet while you define what you have to say and how you want to say it. Listen to those who are speaking clearly and observe how they disseminate what they have to say so that it can inform your own language.”
Professional Photography, Grant Scott, p16.
“"I am a photographer, I take photographs,” that is and has always been the spine of any photographer’s professional practice. But is that enough today? You may, of course, perceive that as being a rhetorical question based on what I have written so far in this book. But it is not. It’s a challenge to any professional photographer to take up and address, no more or less than that. Only you will know if your answer to this question is convincing and honest.”
Professional Photography, Grant Scott, p176.
I have just finished reading the book ‘Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained’ by Grant Scott (2015).
This book perfectly amplifies the work we’ve been covering in the Sustainable Prospects module and has given me much food for thought, as well as a number of avenues to pursue in my own practice moving forward.
Scott makes a very compelling argument for the existence of what he describes as a new and ever-changing landscape of professional photographic practice. He states repeatedly that the practitioners who will be best-placed to exploit this changing landscape to create opportunities and survive the economic squeeze that has affected the entire photographic industry are those who accept that the old norms are no longer given and who are open to adopting new skills and developing familiarity with new media. This will allow them to create and disseminate their work as well as engage with a potential audience who are no longer to be found in the traditional places.
These messages are of course very similar to those we have been presented with throughout the MA and more particularly during this module, where the focus has been squarely on positioning oneself and defining our own space in the professional landscape. The questions that must be answered by all of us are similar to those which are alluded to in the quotes above – what are you trying to say, how are you going to say it, and how are you going to define your practice?
As Scott also argues, without a clear appreciation of and willingness to tailor one’s efforts towards the needs of the client, it is not possible to consider oneself to be a professional practitioner. As such, as the client’s demands change thus must the photographer adapt their offering in order to remain relevant, and economically viable.
As I have written elsewhere, I’ve had a continuous internal discussion going on during this module in particular, trying to articulate to myself and subsequently to potential clients and collaborators, what sort of photographer I am and how I plan to engage with the professional world. This book has really helped to make certain elements of this challenge very clear and has also helpfully provided some clear and practical advice as to how to proceed, that I can take forward.
This also comes at a time when I have been trying to reconsider my project in light of advice given to me by tutor Krishna Sheth about the direction my project should take. This has left everything somewhat open to question and I am unable to progress without heeding the very pertinent advice that I have been given and which is echoed in Scott’s excellent book.
As such I am planning the following over the next few weeks, including the module break over Christmas/New Year:
1. Explore how to gain some basic skills shooting video
2. Get some basic audio recording equipment
3. Shoot a trailer for my project using these skills gained (I already have a broad outline)
4. Promote the trailer via current social media channels
5. Commence research for a new personal project
SCOTT, Grant. 2015. Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained. New York & London: Focal Press.