Archive for March, 2007

Jen Bekman Gallery: 4 Years Young Today!

The Jen Bekman Gallery in New York City turns four years old today! Her juried competitions “Hey, Hot Shot!” have been the launching pad for countless artists. Be sure to check out her website and blog “Personism” frequently to see work that will challenge, inspire and delight you. If you are in NYC tomorrow night, go to the gallery’s opening of Ben Donaldson‘s exhibition “Summerland” from 6-8 p.m. Hat’s off to this dedicated follower of new talent, named to “2006 Innovator: Galleries” by Congratulations, Jen, on all your efforts on behalf of emerging artists!


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SELF-PROMOTION: Marketing Do’s and Don’ts!

Lisa Selin Davis interviewed me this week on effective self-promotion efforts for a forthcoming article she is writing for PDN. Here are a few of the thoughts I shared with Lisa on that important subject:

Most common mistakes people make in their marketing strategies:

Invest in what you can sustain! Many photographers take on a marketing campaign that they can’t sustain, either because of time commitment or financial commitment. Perhaps bordom factors in as well!

Know your strengths! Too many photographers try to be all things to all people, and feel that be creating a marketing campaign with broad diversity of skills that will “sell” them to a viewer, when in fact it only confuses them as to what the photographer trying to convey.

Know your audience! Too many photographers don’t research the audience they are seeking and whom within that market will be most likely to respond to the work. I encourage photographers to write and and design promo pieces that “speak THEIR language.” The way one communicates with a curator is different from a gallery director from a photo editor, from an art buyer, from a graphic designer… one’s marketing tools should reflect that: from the choice of format, choice of copy, right down to image selection and image information. If you are sending a piece to someone you hope will collect or represent the work, you would want to present the work in such a way that it conveys the BODY of work, captions might indicate “from the series ________” and size//edition information will further convey your goal. If presenting to a photo editor, show examples what you want to be hired to do – work that can give an editor that confidence. If presenting for advertising or design, they too need to remember your strengths from your presentation, from having a strong consistent style to revealing your production strengths. When producing a CD-Rom, don’t assume everyone will bother to open a folder full of loose jpegs….besides, building a slide show as a PDF or QT movie will ensure that that work is seen in the sequence you prefer they view.

Ultimately, whatever promo piece(s) you invest in should be strong enough to drive your targeted audience to your website, which must be PERFECT, and CURRENT. My best advice regarding websites: less is more, and reveal your “business model” – ask for what you want! Let people know if the work is available for sale, if there is body of material available for exhibition, if you would be interested in discussion creative commissions (or assignments, depending again on what market your are talking to. And, if you are open to granting reproduction rights for the work, again, ask for that by saying that you are.

Sometimes I’ll receive a promotional piece from a photographer, will be intriqued by it and go to their website and to my surprise it has a completely different graphic identity! I wouldn’t know it was the same photographer! What a mistake. Your branding of business cards, print promotional piece and website should be similar in their “look, ” from similar fonts, color palate, style and overall design. To me, that is an effort wasted. What are we left with? Confusion. What do we remember? Not the work…

Mistakes I see too often:
– CD’s shipped in plastic containers that arrive in pieces.
– CD’s with folder after folder, no clear path to viewing…
– CD’s with a slide show but no pause button…

– Websites with black backgrounds and tiny white (or other color) type.
– Websites that take 5 clicks (or more!) to view to an image
– Websites that have so much work featured that the artist must be 200 years old to have complete that many bodies of work

– Print promo piece sent as self-mailers; always arrive damages, and wearing barcodes
– Print promo pieces with envelopes that rip apart when you try to open them
– Print promo pieces with pre-printed labels that are sloppy, indicating a mass mailing produced at 3 a.m.

Use your marketing budget wisely, and to your long-term advantage!

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Communication Arts Magazine Photography Competition deadline EXTENDED to 3/20

The submissions deadline for the 48th Annual Communication Arts Photography Annual, “The best of photography used for advertising, design, editorial, cinematography and any other area of the communication arts” has been extended to MARCH 20.
Details here. Check my earlier post on this competition and the value of exposure to the advertising and design community.

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Students and teachers: New York Times Contest, Deadline April 6th

It’s education week for many of us, as SPE starts on Thursday. Here’s a contest that the NYT is sponsoring:
“Are you an intellectually curious student at an American college or graduate school? Are you a middle or high school teacher eager to open your students’ eyes to the world? Here’s your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win an all expenses-paid trip with Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas D. Kristof, Op-Ed and TimesSelect comunmist fo the New York Times.” One college student and one educator will be chosen to accompany Nick on all-expenses paid reporting odyssey to the African Continent this summer. Read Nick’s letter describing the trip here, his video on the project here, and the blog from last year’s winner, Casey Parks, here.
See official rules, here. Apply now!

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Award winning entries, “The Art of the Photography” Juried Show

The results of this recent juried competition are in, and you can view the selections deemed award winners by Juror TIM WRIDE here. The specific awards (1st Place, 2nd Place, etc.) will be announced and the award prizes given at the Opening Reception Gala in San Diego on April 14, 2007.

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International Student Photography Show Deadline April 18th

The Center for Fine Art Photography has announced the “International Student Photographic Show” open to College, High School and Art Program Students. Juror is Hannah Frieser, Director of Lightwork, a non-profit organization founded in 1973 in Syracuse, New York that offers artist-in-residencies, exhibitions and publications (CONTACT SHEET) as well as operating a community darkroom. There is a range of prizes, including exhibition, publication, equipment and cash. Encourage your students to enter! Submissions are accepted on-line; deadline is April 18th.

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PODCASTS! Jeff Curto’s History of Photography Podcasts, and more!

Long-time colleague photographer JEFF CURTO, professor and coordinator in the department of Photography at the College of DuPage (IL) is a pioneer in podcasing. His History of Photography class podcasts have a world-wide listening audience among the thousands of subscribers. You can sign up here, or go to the itunes store here. Also, Jeff’s personal podcast “Camera Position: A Podcast About The Creative Side of Photography” has an even larger number of subscribers! Subscribe on the Camera Position website, or go to the itunes store to subscribe. I love listening to these podcasts on airplanes! Perfect companions.

Jeff wrote me recently to suggest other podcasts to check out:
“A good podcast I found is from Zoom-In; they’ve done interviews with John Sexton, Eric Meola, Martin Parr and Brian Paul Clamp from ClampArt Gallery in Chelsea.
They mix up a variety of “new media” items in the podcast so sometimes it’s photo, sometimes film, sometimes technology.
They’re also on the iTunes store (click here). Another podcast of note that I thought was interesting was “Making a Living in Stock Photography.”

Another interesting podcast comes from The Candid Frame: also available on iTunes: It’s hosted by Ibarionex Perillo; he did a FABULOUS interview with Joel Meyerowitz a few months ago… here’s a direct link to the .mp3:

Speaking of Meyerowitz, he did a really nice piece on the WGBH “Morning Stories” podcast. Here’s a direct link to that download.
The WGBH podcasts are really good, though rarely about photography.

And last, but not least, there’s TED Talks… podcasts from the TED conference. If you’ve not seen/heard these video podcasts… I’m tellin’ ya… TED is about Technology/Entertainment/Design. Phil Borges, Gregory Colbert, Edward Burtynsky, and then also non-photo but completely relevant ones like this one… my favorite of the bunch from Sir Ken Robinson:”

Thanks Jeff! If you are heading to SPE in Miami this week, be sure to catch his presentation/demo on Friday March 16th at 9:00 a.m.:

“Teaching the World: Using Podcasts in Photo Education”

Description: Through podcasting (distribution of audio files over the internet for “anytime” playback) my History of Photography course, I have opened the door of my classroom to the rest of the world and started a “class discussion” that is not constrained by the classroom walls or by the cultural, educational and personal backgrounds of my physical students. I’ve also been able to help my “live” students learn by providing them with asynchronous delivery of course content. I will offer a brief overview of podcasting and discuss and demonstrate tools needed to produce podcasts and get them uploaded to a server space for distribution.

Jeff has agreed to allow my posting of the handouts following this presentation – I’ll happily post the links during the week of the 19th.

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