The most important thing I learned at PhotoLucida was how much time and energy it takes to sell your work. It can be a lot. In fact, for some, it seems to be more time than they spend making photographs.
That isn’t a happy realization for me. I love to make images. I like to have people enjoy my images—the more people, the better. I like to show my work to the photographic gatekeepers. I enjoy trying to fit what they say into photographic reality as I see it. While I don’t mind traveling to get to where I’m going to make pictures, I don’t like traveling to show my work. I don’t like making cold calls or knocking on doors.
Above all, I hate the thought that getting people to see my work could mean that I get to make a lot less of it.
Since I’ve gotten back from Portland, I’ve done no follow-up with the people I met at PhotoLucida. It’s worse than that. A few days after I got back, I received a voicemail message from a local gallery owner who expressed interest in the farm workers images. I called and left a return message, and then forgot about it. I’ve been really busy with CPA work, but is that the behavior of a photographer committed to getting his work out there?
When the CPA workload eases up a bit, I need to come up with a plan with limited goals and manageable demands on my time. I may need some help, and I’ll consider talking to a marketing consultant. Probably I’ll keep things fairly local: only places I can drive to.
I’ll let you all know how it goes.