Week 4: Independent Reflection
Begin at the Beginning…
Looking back over my early photography I am reminded of my passion for the outdoors and my love of rugged landscapes. Life on the edge of Dartmoor could be harsh at the best of times and particularly so in the winter months. I suspect it was the hard nature of the landscape that helped prompt me into the use of ‘hard’ printing techniques. I have always been a somewhat insular person, happy with my own company and have a real preference for taking photographs devoid of people. I still love being outdoors and my undergraduate years were spent reading Geology with routine trips to Devon, Cornwall and Scotland. I remain inclined to photograph often stark landscapes… though no longer on 35mm and rarely edited in black and white. I definitely miss spending time in the darkroom and have sadly sold all of my kit, but have an worryingly large collection of 35mm film cameras!
These days, more of my time is spent on ‘reportage’ photography, predominantly for the school. My own reaction to the different forms of photography I am involved in varies notably: while photographing landscapes, I find myself feeling at one with the location, working in harmony with the landscape, eager to depict the mystery, solitude or beauty of a location. By contrast, when photographing sports, drama or concerts, my work tends to be fuelled by adrenalin – I feel excited to be part of the action, always driven to capture ‘that moment’ that best summarises the event.
A Marketing Plan…
It has been quite a challenge to progress my marketing plan, trying to make contact with a host of companies who exist in the 9-to-5, Monday to Friday timescale, while I work 8-to-7 and beyond, six or seven days a week during term time.
I have deliberately not committed any time to my Getty Images account as this requires very considerable thought and involves significantly more permanent decisions than any of the other options. Likewise, the production of postcards or greetings cards specific to individual colleges, or for marketing within the various tourist shops is an involved development that requires me to have discussions with the colleges, shop owners as well as publishers… definitely not a job for the small hours following an 11+ hour day!
However, progress has been made in other directions…
Prints: My hopes for promoting work on VA Prints website are somewhat in the balance: in a meeting with Ian Fraser, the photographer who runs the site, he advised that while the addition of my work would bolster his site and offer a harmonious counterpoint to his work, he has witnessed a decline in print sales since the Brexit referendum and is currently reviewing how much longer he will be running the site. His print sales over Christmas this year will define the direction he takes in 2019 and beyond. He and I will revisit this in the New Year.
Christmas Cards: working within a school that contains some of my favourite stained glass windows, including a series relating to the early years of Christ, provides a straightforward opportunity. Because time is so very short between now and Christmas, and because the three windows in question are best illuminated by the sunlight in early summer, I opted to use some of my archive images, taken five years ago.
Commercially printed on the very finest 340gsm iPrint card, there are three designs of these large Christmas cards, two depicting the magnificent Henry Holiday stained glass windows in the Chapel of St. Nicholas and the third being a copy of the original vidimus hand-drawn drawn by Henry Holiday himself.
To ease distribution and simplify permissions, the sale of the cards is restricted to the staff within the school. Thus far sales have been promising and response pleasing.
Website: careful consideration is needed in tackling the redevelopment of my website. Currently it reflects my previous work for greetings card sales – interestingly in square format, years before Instagram normalised that format. http://www.dpplimited.com
I do not wish to consign these images to the bin, but they might form the basis of my Getty Images portfolio as my work transitions.
Gallery progress: I don’t doubt the frantic nature of managing an art gallery and while I have been extended an open offer to exhibit my work in the North Wall Gallery, for which I am most grateful, my preferred options lie elsewhere.
The Aidan Meller Gallery is my preferred location for an exhibition, but my communications with Mr Meller have achieved nothing more than the following response:
Many thanks for this. Send some attachments as a first step. My time is very limited – sorry. Aiden
Two brief and polite follow-ups enlisted no further response. I hold courtesy and etiquette as fundamentals in business. To that end I have made an initial contact with the Sarah Wiseman Gallery and await a response.
Within the school, the addition of my gallery has sparked considerable attention from those interested in improving the general décor and I have been asked to develop two further installations in Year Group-specific areas.