SUSTAINABLE PROSPECTS COURSEWORK WEEK 4 FORUM
In June 2019 I started my MA with Falmouth university as part of an accredited education programme.
19th October 2019
For this week’s forum discussion, think about your current market and audience: Are they the same?
Then think about who you would like to call your market and audience in five years time: How do you plan to get there?
Provide all of us with an insight into where you stand commercially and where you would like to see yourself in the future.
I actually found this a really hard forum this week, and it definitely took me the longest to answer this prompt by far, than all of the others weekly forums we have had so far in the MA. Why is that I ask myself? Quite simply, it is because I find it hard to say, or to ‘admit’, that I came on the MA to try and elevate my work, without feeling pretentious, and having a serious case of imposter syndrome. I have been a photographer for years, a successful one, but I wanted to be more than that. I saw art in my breastfeeding, baby-wearing and birth photography, and I wanted to be able to call myself an artist, something I didn’t feel able to do, for whatever reason. I came to the MA as a way of focusing my own mind, and art, and looking for answers, that to be truthful, I am not sure I am going to get. Only because, I now think, that no-one is going to be able to tell me when this magical day will come when I can say “I am an artist” and Why, why does it have to be I am an artist, OR , I am a photographer, why are they not one and the same thing, why is one deemed ‘more’ than the other. The Ma has made me grow in so many ways already , as a photographer and artist, as a mother, as a woman, as a home educator, when I try to envisage what I will be thinking and feeling in 18 months , at the end of this journey, it is practically impossible, to know how I will feel about my art at the end of that time is also impossible. I would hope I had at least got over my imposter syndrome, as something this MA has taught me already is, I am most definitely able to hold my own here. I thought I would struggle and be swapped and struggling to keep my head above water, but I am finding I know a lot more than I thought, have many exciting ideas for projects and my thoughts around my work , if not quite yet the works of others, is much more sophisticated than I gave myself credit for. I am not struggling to tread water on this path, I am swimming along quite happily, enjoying the ride.
Here is my response to the weeks forums…
This is the only week since starting the course that I have looked at a forum and not been able to organise and collect my thoughts straight away. The boundaries between audience and market are so blurred for me, and for the different avenues my practice takes, theres a definite cross over, which makes me think after many years I am eventually getting somewhere close to where I want to be as an artist.
Commercially , I have been operating as a pregnancy, & documentary birth / family photographer for years, with the pregnancy and birth work slowly taking over any family work. I’ve tried the whole studio thing a few times, weddings, family work, and stopped and started and tweaked many things to get to the very comfortable place I am with my practice now.
That comfort comes in not doing any type of photography I don’t feel passionate about , and that means I only stick to photographing what speaks directly to my soul. So for me that is pregnancy, birth & breastfeeding photography, I am a mother who photographs other mothers, because I understand whats in their hearts and what they want to feel when they look at their images. I still do documentary family photography , but only really for families I have photographed the births of, or that I know very well and have a relationship with.
In five years time, I would just like to be on the same path I am on now with regards to my birth work, and that is capping commissions at 4-8 births a year. Enough to make a decent wage but still be able to love it , to still have enough time to be involved in the birth community, & not be overworked. I’m then happy to take pregnancy, breastfeeding, and family commissions as and when I want, picking and choosing.
Where would I like to be in five years time with my own personal and artistic practice is different. I am nowhere near where I want to be with that. I want to be getting my work featured in magazines and galleries, and be at a place where I feel like an artist, not just a photographer with a commercial practice. These two things will invariably cross over , or hopefully cross over, my passion lies in the stories of mothers, and that is what I want to represent in my personal, commercial , and artistic practice, I just need to develop a way of that working for me, like I did with my paid work.