Week 7 | Presentation – Commercial Commissions with Amy Simmons

I found this lecture insightful and interesting as it provided a roadmap on how to get commercial commissions. Within my current practice as a wedding photographer, I had familiarised myself with the methodologies of getting work however the commercial works outside weddings always appeared a bit of a mystery.

I was particularly interested in the section where Simmons highlights what she looks for when selecting a photographer to work with. And I was surprised when she stated that an important factor was the ‘primary subject matter’ of the photographer. I understand that when a wedding couple choose to book me for their wedding they do so on the basis that they have seen my work, I have probably photographed the venue they are getting married before and they like the work. All of which represent a total opposite from my personal project which revolves around patriarchal culture.

In previous weeks I have been looking more and more at photographers who shoot editorial features as I feel that this is where I would like to take my work. Looking at the likes of Jooney Woodward who shoots regularly for the Guardian, I am drawn to the prospect of using my skills to produce work on a variety of subject matters. Making portraits and listening people stories from different echelons of life. And throughout the MA I am now feeling that I have developed the contextual understanding which is informing my work and resulting in much stronger photographs.

I have begun to research editorial photographers en mass from news outlets such as the Guardian with the intention of providing inspiration on how I might align my own personal projects to create a diverse portfolio capable of attracting the attention of commissioning editors. My research quickly led to the discovery of Christopher Andreou who contributed to an article in the Guardian by Goodinson, E (2020) on the subject of black heritage in Ridley Road markets in Hackney. Upon further research of Andreou’s website I observed that his website was rather small but encompassing lots of high quality work. What was further interesting was the clear sense of style with his approach.

This led the reflection of my own work and the raising of major questions that I am still grappling, the most important being the style of work that I would like to pursue? The answer to this is still emerging although what I do understand is that I like to take environmental photographs of people. I am further drawn to the buzz of going somewhere without a clear idea of what it is, or who I am going to meet and photograph.

Listening to Simmons talk about the importance of having a portfolio was also useful as in my ignorance, I felt that a digital portfolio would be more useful. However, especially in the instance of having a portfolio review and understanding that editors and producers spend large proportions of their working lives at computer screens. I see how having a portfolio is important to offer an alternative experience to the reviewer. This is something I will address immediately.

Finally, the subject of usage was useful as this was an area that I have very little knowledge in this area. Understanding the different contexts of which photographs are used was important and will will become relevant when I encounter such issues. At present though, breaking through and into this world remains the number one priority.

Christopher Andreou Photography. [Online] Available at: https://www.christopherandreou.com (Accessed 8th Nov 2020)

Arnold, R (2014) The Courtauld, ‘I Spotted You There’: An Interview With Jooney Woodward. [Online] Available at: http://blog.courtauld.ac.uk/documentingfashion/2014/03/24/jooney-woodward/  (Accessed 30 Oct 2020)

Goodinson, E (2020) Do go back to Dalston: Ridley Road market’s black heritage – in pictures. The Guardian. [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2020/nov/05/do-go-back-to-dalston-ridley-road-markets-black-heritage-in-pictures (Accessed Nov 2020)

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