Strategies in Marketing my work

Now that I have my zine set up for sale on my website, I am considering a number of options to promote it.

Potentially, I could leave it as is for the duration of the Landings exhibition to see if there is any interest in the publication. This would be reliant on organic sharing of the work, which thus far I have not been successful with. What was the most valuable during the launch if landings was doing the 90 second Instagram Live video with Bekkie, which actually provided me with some great feedback in the comments and I also have since had a few additional followers and messages about the work.

To capitalise on this, I could promote the work through Instagram via a sponsored post that targets an audience interested in such publications. There is a great deal of debate as to whether this is actually worthwhile, some noting that sponsoring a post through Instagram is quite limiting with mixed results (Speer, 2019). Even though, I have only had limited engagement after the Instagram live, this does feel like the most successful way to increase an audience for my work.

That said, I find Instagram useful to share work quickly but it can become more of a time-consuming distraction in the hunt for likes and shares. More and more I am thinking that direct forms of marketing would actually be more effective in putting my work in front of people actually interested in commissioning and licensing images. There is still a lot of value to be had from the platform but other sites, such as Linkedin may actually be a better option as a way of achieving this. However, I am still reliant on a proprietary platform to share and market my work.

Classic mail
Figure 1: Phil Hill (July, 2020) Preparing to mail copies of my zine.

Another option that I am intending to do is use the zine as a marketing tool and send it directly to editors and other potential audiences (Fig: 1). This has the benefit of cutting out the use of social media platforms, which are noisy and is easy to get swallowed up within the sea of images already present. Sending my zine directly has the benefit of placing a tangible photographic object into the hands of someone who is potentially interested in the images. If they spend all day looking at work on a computer screen it also has the added benefit of a changed experience for the viewer.

It is crucial that I research carefully into which publications to send my zine to, in order to match my work with their output. Editor of Huck Magazine, Andrea Kurland notes that it is important to match the work that you produce with the ethos and values of the magazine you are pitching to and to not create generic pitches that target a large number of publications (Kurland & Creativehub, 2020, p. 32). A focussed approach in sending out fewer higher quality pitches is what I should be doing. Therefore, I have identified 15 publications to send my zines. I will mail these and, which will also contain a cover letter and business card and links to the gallery on my website.

Figure 2: Clementine Schniederman & Le Monde (2018) Feature in Le Monde Magazine.

Clementine Schniederman noted during her guest lecture (2018) that French Newspaper ‘Le Monde’ tend to be interested in British themed stories (Fig: 2), so this will be one of the publications that I send my zine. My project from the view of a media publication could be used to illustrate some kind of editorial, or opinion piece on the current situation. As I am looking at community, connection, and identity, these are all things that have been fundamentally affected by the pandemic. Much of the media will be reporting on the human impact and post-analysing of the event, which is where my work would sit together with supporting copy (Fig: 3).

Figure 3: Spencer Murphy & BBC (2020) ‘Coronavirus: Strange Days in East London’ feature on BBC In Pictures website.

Kurland also discusses the importance of considering how the image will work with the broader context of the publication. You might be more valuable to them if you can also write, or at least be able to supply images together with words, whether your own, or in collaboration with a journalist (2020, p. 32). This makes a lot of sense as the images may be fantastic, but there is nothing to contextualise them.

Figure 4: Phil Hill (2013) Words and Pictures feature for Thai Airways inflight magazine.

I have had some experience with feature writing to accompany my images whilst working as a freelancer, albeit for the travel and lifestyle work that I used to do (Fig: 4). Words in support of my current work is quite a significant difference, although I am aiming to develop this through a number of essays that I have written during and between the modules (Fig: 5). I did produce an editorial style experiment earlier in the module (only posting now because the zine took over), which utilises images created for the last module together with a short article I wrote on the impact of covid-19 whilst trying to find a place to live. I have not taken this any further just yet, but it was valuable to think about how my images can work with words and also how they can co-exist on a magazine-style layout (Fig: 6).


Figure 5: Phil Hill (May – July, 2020) Top and Bottom, two essays written during Surfaces and Strategies.

Figure 6: Phil Hill (June, 2020) Editorial spread exploration using images and text together [click link to download].

Another avenue that I am interested in exploring is sharing my zine with the ‘Self Publish Be Happy’ library, as it states:

“Since issuing an open call in 2010 the library has received over 3,000 self-published books and zines from photographers around the world and become a key resource for academics, researchers and anyone interested in contemporary photography and visual culture. It continues to be open for submissions and anybody can send us their book.”

(2020).

This of course is fairly generic and my zine would get swallowed up into the many others that already exist there, however on a personal level I quite like the idea of sharing my work in this way and it seems much more focussed towards other photographers and artists who are interested in the medium.

Bibliography

Kurland, A. & Creativehub, 2020. How to show your work. 1 ed. London: Printspace Studios LTD.

Schniederman, C., 2018. Guest Lecture, Falmouth Flexible. Falmouth: Falmouth University.

Self Publish Be Happy, 2020. Library. [Online] Available at: http://selfpublishbehappy.com/library/ [Accessed 29 July 2020].

Speer, M., 2019. Promoting Your Instagram Posts: Is It Worth It?. [Online]
Available at: https://medium.com/@realmikespeer/promoting-your-instagram-posts-is-it-worth-it-e80787f59c31 [Accessed 29 July 2020].

Landings Zine outcome

I have received my zine back from The Newspaper club. It has turned out quite well and looks quite good on the newsprint. I think that maybe the images could have had a little more contrast, however feedback from my peers is that this works quite well (Fig: 1).

Figure 1: Phil Hill (July, 2020) I hope this finds you safe and well zine outcome [top and bottom]
Figure 2: Phil Hill (July, 2020) Producing my zine for Landings exhibition.

I have discussed the process of creating the zine previously (Fig: 2), however to recap, I decided to create my zine in newsprint to create more of a tangible link to the place that I am focusing my research project this module. Watford has had a significant role in UK printing, including printing all of the colour supplements for Newspapers based here. I feel that this is a great link to pursue as my work can be viewed in a Sunday supplement context.

Workshop Planning

To link to my research project, I would be keen to run a workshop about creating work within the community. This could potentially be about how to approach people and places within the community and identify the cultural signifiers that make that place unique and why you are drawn to it – the reason why you want to take the images in the first place.

I am still getting to grips with grounding my project in this area, so I think the workshop would be just as important for me as it would be the participants. Especially. Plus, if the participants were also from the same community that I am making my work it would create valuable insight into how others perceive the same place, which I also live.

My workshop would comprise of peer discussion and Q&A to establish prior knowledge, understanding of socially engaged photography, and provide me with an opportunity to outline any learning outcomes and introductions. The workshop should take a day to complete, including practical time to go out and start to create images with the potential for a later plenary, or online presentation of work once participants have had the opportunity to create imagery.

Workshop Plan

Ways of Showing Work

The Creative Hub by the Printspace put together a really useful guide in the different ways to show and promote work (2020). I am going to attempt to analyse these approaches compared to what I have already done and what I could to towards them. My notes are numbered in red.

Budget of £0 – £250Instagram 1Website 2Magazine/Blog Feature 3
Cost:£0£120- £250 per year (if using a template) £0
Time to Launch:1 week1 monthDepends on publisher
Post Launch:7 – 20 hours per week4 hours per weekDependent on the reach of the feature
Getting Noticed:Make interesting content and engage with other users, which will organically build your followingImprove SEO blogging and regularly refreshing content. Link to your site from all from all social accountsShare/Publish the feature on all your social media accounts
Key Tasks:– Making interesting & original content
– Post scheduling
– Engagement with other users
– Domain registration
– Logo & corporate identity design
– Choosing & adapting site template
– Set meta tags & meta descriptions for pages
-Choose SEO friendly URLs
– Find publications that suit your work
– Create press package, email, supply images in correct format
– Ensure your website is working for when people click through
Figure 1: Creative Hub (2020) Table showing different methods of showing work with a budget of £0 – £250
  1. Instagram: Having run an instagram account for quite a few years, I find it quite challenging to maintain the level of consistency and sustained approach to sharing and commenting. I understand that this is important and do maintain my presence on the platform
    • I have found that when i was freelancing that platforms, such as Linkedin are far more valuable for building a focussed interest in my work as i am sharing it with professionals who have a vested interest in seeing what I can do
    • That being said, Instagram feels much more accessible and is an important part of getting my work in front of audiences
  2. Website: My website is a self hosted WordPress site after many years of running template sites, I actually enjoy the flexibility of WordPress. However, consistency in the presentation, although might be considered dull and formulaic, is useful for clients and editors who would easily navigate the work knowing the formula of Squarespace et al.
    • Maintaining my website in this way is flexible but also much more cost effective than using a template site. My running cost for my own site is roughly a third of what Creative hub is suggesting. Not including the recent update to my website that included a custom theme, which was the first time that I invested in a premium version.
    • The downside of running this myself is that I must invest much more time in the setting up and really research SEO techniques (which I still have much to do).
  3. Blogs/Magazines: In addition to the promotional side of sending work to be shared and reviewed. I am also keen to pitch my work for syndication and publication, which would also mean payment to me. This of course, is how I would operate as an editorial freelance. That said, there is an expectation that I would need to share work for free in certain circles in order to generate the interest required for paid opportunity.
    • In order to make my work more valuable to publishers it is also worth creating written work in support of my photography.
    • Also worth considering any secondary markets for the work to make it as accessible as possible outside the usual photographic channels.
Budget of £250 – £1,250Printed Portfolio 4Zine 5Group Exhibition 6
Cost:£300 – 700£500 – 1,250£250 – 1,000
Time to Launch:2 – 4 weeks3 – 6 months2 – 4 months
Post Launch:2 – 4 hours per week4 – 6 hours per week10 – 15 hours per week during show. 5 – 10 hours following up interest after
Getting Noticed:Attending portfolio reviews & festivals. Meetings with agents/ art buyers/creative directors/marketing/creative agenciesHaving a launch. Selling online & getting reviewed blogs/magazinesPromoting the event extensively across social media, press reach-outs, emailing invites, posting out printed invites
Key Tasks:– Confirm edit
– Print test strips
– Choose paper
– Choose presentation method
– Arrange reviews/meetings
– Confirm edit
– Write copy
– Research print/bind methods
– Design layout
– Print/bind final version
– Space hire
– Curate/install
– Private view/refreshments
– PR: marketing/press/social media
Figure 2: Creative Hub (2020) Table showing different methods of showing work with a budget of £250 – £1,250
  1. Printed Portfolio: I am thinking at this stage of the MA, that I am not in a position to have a completed printed portfolio. I am a proponent of a well presented printed portfolio and am keen to pursue this in the future for the FMP.
    • I already own a box for presenting prints, for example (Fig: 1). The argument for allowing readers to construct their own narratives from my work supports this method of printing and presenting work. They are also useful to spread prints out and see how they might work together – An important consideration for clients.
    • I also have a courier case, which is useful to protect the box and send it out to potential clients. This might include: publishers, galleries and other potential audiences for my work without necessarily having to spend the time travelling around myself. The more traditional method of getting work out there.
    • Portfolio reviews can be quite costly and it is really important to only attend those that represent value for money. Better value would be to really research potential clients and buyers of my work and set up meeting with those people instead.
    • A downside of this method is the need to replace prints as they are frequently handled, which would be a concern of a blurb style book and folder style folio, however print sleeves might circumvent this.
    • In terms of what might represent the most value for money in presenting work, this might be the best in time and money spent, over a book dummy for example. it also allows others to see sequences in the work that will work for them.
  2. Zine: I produced a zine collaboratively during the task in week 3 and learned some really valuable lessons in the production and printing. Primarily in the setting up and compromises required. Taking on board these lessons, I have also produced a zine to support my Landings exhibition.
    • What could be quite useful about zines is the ability to make a self published object that I can then sell myself. The main challenges is the initial outlay of this can be quite costly, especially when I do not have the £500 stated by Creativehub above.
    • To truly make a success of self published zines, it would be useful to already have an established audience, which is where platforms like Instagram would be useful.
    • For Landings, I have produced a short run of 20 zines (the minimum required by The Newspaper Club for printing).
    • Even if I do not manage to sell any copies of my zine, they can become a useful promotional tool to send out to potential audiences of my work.
    • I can also submit the zine to the ‘Self Publish be Happy’ library.
  3. Group Exhibition: Not something that I have lots of experience with outside of an academic setting. That said, the Landings 2020 experience will be useful to understand the process and potentially see how disparate bodies of work can be curated together.
    • Additionally, all of the work that I am carrying out towards the creation of my own zines and website updates will support creating promotional material for group shows in the future.
Figure 1: Seawhite (2020) Archival print box
Budget of £1,250 +Solo Exhibition. 7Art Fair. 8Book. 9
Cost:£1000 – 7000£3,500£5000+
Time to Launch:3 – 6 months1 – 3 months6 – 12 months
Post Launch:40 – 60 hours per week during show, 20 hours following up interest after12 hours a day during the show, 20 hours following up interest after8 – 20 hours per week
Getting Noticed:By promoting the event extensively across social media, press reach out and direct emailGood presentation, understanding the type of attendees to the fair, following up diligently on interestHaving a launch, finding stockists, entering book awards, attending publishing fairs, selling online, getting reviews
Key Tasks:– Space hire
– Curate/Install
– Private view/refreshments
-PR: marketing/press/social media
– Create show catalogue
– Set up print sales; online and in the space
– Design & curate the space
– Create catalogue and takeaways for attendees (e.g. postcards)
– Setting up digital capture of details
– Set up point of sale terminals
– Create edit, produce dummy
– Get text written
– Review/critique
– Final edit
– Research printing techniques
– Design
– Promotion
Figure 3: Creative Hub (2020) Table showing different methods of showing work with a budget of £1,250+

This block is potentially a bit beyond me at the moment due to financial and where a solid audience will need to be created in order to justify some of these.

  1. Solo Show: There are opportunities to exhibit work in venues that do not cost as much as this, or would even be free for a percentage of any sales. The compromise would potentially be in the location of such venues however.
    • promotion would inevitably still cost money to produce the materials necessary.
    • Many of the options that have been outlined above might also need to be put in place before I am in a position to be able to put on a solo show.
  2. Art Fair: This is another one that I am fairly new to. It could present a good opportunity to build an audience for my work if the right fair was selected. Quite risky with the budget that CreativeHub suggests.
  3. Book: Book publishing is an interesting one. As I understand it, if you even manage to secure the interest of a publisher, you might still have to put together a substantial investment of money in order to realise the book.
    • There are a number of dummy book awards and Mack’s for example is free to enter.
    • As I work for an FE college, there are a good amount of facilities to help me realise a book dummy should I wish to pursue that in order to keep the costs down
    • Sequencing is vital for the success of the book as it could be easily overlooked.
Bibliography

Creative Hub, 2020. How to Show your Work. London: Printspace Studios Limited.

Producing: Landings Zine

As my intention for the Landings exhibition was to not compromise locations and spaces to show my work, I decided to focus on an online exhibition, which I discussed earlier. Owing to the nature of the online exhibition, I still wanted to offer some kind of physical object (Fig: 1).

Figure 1: Phil Hill (July, 2020) Digital version of Landings Zine ‘I hope this finds you safe and well’

After the last webinar it was suggested that I try and ground my research project in the place that I am taking the images. I have found that Watford was an influential printing hub up until very recently. It was responsible for the printing of all of the major newspapers and colour supplements as well as government propaganda during WW2 (read more here). I decided then that it would be good to use this in my own publication and create a zine as a mini colour newspaper. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get this done in Watford so in the end I opted to get my zine printed using ‘The Newspaper Club’ who have been responsible for producing a number of high-profile photography newspapers and zines.

Figure 2: Phil Hill (July, 2020) Zine front cover
Figure 3: Watford Borough Council Logo
Figure 4: Watford FC (2020) Watford’s football team logo.

I wanted the design to be minimal so not to distract from the images (Fig: 2), however, to maintain the link to the place, I have chosen to create the cover background using yellow, and the typeface in red, both from from the Watford town coat of arms (Fig: 3), and more commonly associated with the Watford football team (Fig: 4) and can be seen all over the town. As my images are black and white, these are the only elements of colour in the series.

Figure 5: Atipo (2020) Calendas Plus Bold Typeface.
Figure 6: Phil Hill (July, 2020) Zine back cover.

The typeface used is called ‘Calendas plus’ in Bold by font foundry Atipo (Fig: 5) and is also going to be used for the landing page of my exhibition and also in the social media promoting the show. The typeface is a clear serif that links again back to newspaper headlines and Watford printing. To maintain the minimal style of the zine, the cover only displays the title and my name, and some additional information on the back as well as a QR code, which links to my website (Fig: 6). My design for the cover was inspired by ‘Out of Place’ books, who have employed this kind of cover for a number of their zines, including ‘Spark’ by Andy Pilsbury (Fig: 7) and ‘This Must be the Place’ by Daniel Lyttleton (Fig: 8). The books that ‘Out of Place’ produce are primarily about places, and those not normally photographed, so I feel that my own journey through Watford may have an audience there.

Figure 7: Andy Pilsbury (2019) Cover of ‘Spark’ Zine.
Figure 8: Daniel Lyttleton (2018) Cover of ‘This Must be the Place’ zine.

As mentioned above, I have also produced a landing page for my exhibition, which also utilises the same cover design as my zine (Fig: 9). This creates a consistent branding that should feel more professional when clicking through whilst also providing a differentiated experience other than just viewing my existing web galleries on my website. The landing page utilises a simple enough HTML coded index page that has the same typeface embedded into the page and a fade in code so that the title is not too abrupt on visiting.

Figure 9: Phil Hill (July, 2020) ‘I hope this finds you safe and well’ landing page.

Instagram Collaboration & Dissemination

Figure 1. Phil Hill (April, 2020) Discarded Gloves found during walking (Posted to The Long Exposure)

A few weeks ago, I suggested to the rest of my cohort that a positive way to spend time in this lock down period could be through collaboration and create an Instagram account called ‘The Long Exposure,‘ which we could all use to share images created in isolation (Fig. 1). This also gave me the opportunity to start to engage with audiences and share some of my latest work that is also part of my WIPP and gauge its reaction.

Instagram creates a direct means of dissemination via an accessible platform, which easily puts together images from a similar body of work and share it with an interested audience. This, of course depends on the ability to utilise a number of specific hashtags that direct the work in front of the right people searching for that content. There is an opportunity through platforms such as Instagram to put the work in front of a wider audience than if, for example, it was only to be an exhibition, which would be limited by the time of display and location of the exhibition space together with the demographic of the audience, which might be limited to those already only interested in the arts. Similar could be said of the photobook, which I have discussed previously (Fig. 2).


Figure 2. Phil Hill (March, 2020) Are You Drowning Yet? Discussing audience, social media, and the photo book.

There are many positive to displaying my work on Instagram, however there are a number of challenges too associated with Instagram, and platforms like it. For example, the display of the image is limited by the way that Instagram forces you to upload and present it in the square format that is synonymous with the platform (Fig. 3). There are some that work around this by adding a white border and is also something that I have also adopted with my uploads to the platform (Fig.4). This seems to be used by many creatives as a way of denoting more serious work, which Kat Stoeffel refers to as the “Anti-Filter” (Stoeffel, 2014) and notes of photography blogger and prolific Instagram user, Andy Adams: I’m guessing the trend originated with professional and fine-art photographers, and those who promote their work, like Andy Adams, the editor of online-photography blog FlakPhoto. Since the beginning of the year, Adams has been teasing the art featured on his blog on Instagram, using Photoshop to add the white space necessary to render the photographs in their original dimensions. To him, the rise of the white border implies “photographers of all levels” — i.e., those who can make photographs without their cell phones — are “recognizing Instagram as a powerful tool not just for making but for talking about and sharing photographs.” (Adams in Stoeffel, 2014). Therefore creating a differentiation from the many thousands of images that are uploaded to platform, which are vernacular in their nature and one that signals that this work should be considered instead of consumed.

Figure 3. Phil Hill (December, 2018) Images from my photography Instagram feed before adopting a white border.

Figure 4. Phil Hill (April, 2020) Images from WIPP posted to ‘The Long Exposure’ including a white border.

However, it is the many thousands of uploads that become part of the challenge of using a site such as Instagram, as we have looked at previously, during ‘a sea of images’ (Fig. 5). Any upload is ultimately mired in a deluge of imagery shaped by the algorithms that drive the site and that creates a homogeneous effect, as Lev Manovich informs us: “Different elements of photo culture that throughout 19th and 20th century were separate, now have been combined in a simple platform” (Manovich, 2017), in which he is referring to how of of the technological elements of photography have come together, are more accessible and easier to use for the average user and you can see how this is shaping the similarities in the images posted to the site (Fig. 6), even in the white bordered ‘serious’ work uploaded (Fig. 7).


Figure 5. Phil Hill (March, 2020) Discussion on the ubiquity of images and their value

Figure 6. Insta Repeat (2020) Image from @Insta_Repeat
Figure 7. This Ain’t Art School (2020) Profile aggregating and curating more serious work based on submissions to a hashtag.

During the last module, I produced a zine and postcard set (Fig. 8) to help disseminate the work with the aim of sharing my project with a range of editors. I won’t be able to produce similar under the present lockdown circumstances, so Instagram is one way that my work can be continued to be shared, however I feel that this should be supported through other channels, so not to be too reliant on just one. This would include my own website, where the work can be displayed as I intended. I would also be looking at sharing the work via Linkedin, as the audience for the work is more tailored to industry professionals who might be more inclined to engage with it.

Figure 8. Phil Hill (November, 2019) Zine and Post Card set produced for ‘The Wessex Grand Prix’ project.

Moving forward, I would ultimately want to produce physical materials to share the work. My postcards for ‘The Wessex Grand Prix’ were well received and I would want to replicate this with this more developed work. I also am quite interested in continuing the collaborative approach with my peers, I believe that on the other side of this pandemic, there is an opportunity to curate either an exhibition, or some kind of publication from the images that we have collectively been sharing.

Bibliography

Manovich, L., 2017. Instagram and Contemporary Image. Online: Manovich.net.

Stoeffel, K., 2014. Introducing the Anti-Filter: The Rise of the White Border on Instagram. [Online]
Available at: https://www.thecut.com/2014/04/whats-up-with-these-white-borders-on-instagram.html
[Accessed 22 April 2020].

Notes on Dissemination

I am continuing to consider the ways in which to disseminate my work, which is a continuation of the discussion I had in my post ‘Are you Drowning Yet?’ and also in my post ‘Hunters and Farmers’



Simon Norfolk’s critique of the photo book is a valid response to a sometimes esoteric world of photography, however there are photographers who are able to both create a work in the form of a beautifully presented book whilst at the same time disseminating that work with a broader audience, or at least with the people that helped to create the work.

Clémentine Schneidermann
Figure 1. Clémentine Schneidermann (2018) From ‘I Called her Lisa Marie’

I have been following the work of Schneidermann since the start of this module, after having the work recommended to me at the end of the last one. I really connect with the aesthetic of her work, especially ‘I Called her Lisa Marie’ (Fig. 1), which contrasts Elvis fans of South Wales with images from Elvis’s home in Memphis and really creates the idea of community formed through a connection to the culture and music of Elvis Presley and blends portraiture with environmental imagery, that Schneidermann says “help to breath between each portrait” (Rosenberg, 2016).

Figure 2. Clémentine Schneidermann (2019) From ‘It’s Called Ffasiwn’

Her commitment to working with communities as well as within them is something that also resonates with me as I look to work closer with my own community. For example, her project ‘It’s Called Ffasiwn’ is a collaboration between Schneidermann, stylist Charlotte James, and the youth clubs of the South Wales Valleys (Fig. 2), which is referred to as a “fashion-cum-documentary-cum-participatory community project that challenges the static way the region has been portrayed by the media through celebrating the creativity of its younger inhabitants” (Wright, 2019). The work seeks to work in collaboration with the people who live in the South Wales Valley region, one of the most deprived areas in the UK in order to change the perception of how the area is represented through images of deprivation left after the decline of the coal industry in the 1980s.

Figure 3. Clementine Schneidermann (2019) ‘It’s Called Ffasiwyn’ exhibition at The Martin Parr foundation.

Although the series is primarily a fashion work, I find the tools of collaboration a positive way of re-framing the way a culture can be depicted, which is a kind of decolonisation of the poverty that we automatically attribute to these areas. The project has been exhibited at the Martin Parr foundation, which has been set up to focus on work created in the British Isles, something that I feel my work could aspire to. My own work is fundamentally about British community and would sit quite comfortable in this space (Fig. 3). Schneidermann has produced photobooks as part of her work, however for ‘It’s Called Ffsiwn’ a magazine was produced and was also shared in the local newspaper to share the work with the community. In this way the work becomes more inclusive of the people who helped inspire it.

Figure 4. Clementine Schneidermann (2019) for Vogue Italia.

Additionally, for Schneidermann there is also a secondary market for this work, creating opportunity for wider dissemination. Schneidermann also completes commissions for publications such as Vogue Italia (Fig. 4), and continues to utilise the aesthetic of her documentary and collaborative work by staging many of these shoots within the Welsh Valleys where she is based. This supports the discussion that I had regarding publishers such as Hoxton Mini Press who also work in this way in order to create a larger audience for the work and by extension making then work more attractive to these publishers to put out into the market place.

Figure 5. Clementine Schneidermann (2019) for Gucci x Vogue Italia.

If there was to be a critique to this approach however, it would be in the potential gaze of this kind of imagery; taking advantage of the people depicted in the images (Fig. 5). However, I don’t believe that this is Schneidermann intention, who does not operate in the way that traditional documentary photographers have done in the past; As Sontag points out “The photographer is supertourist an extension of the anthropologist, visiting natives and bringing back news of their exotic doings” (Sontag, 1979, p. 42). Schneidermann is not a tourist in the Welsh Valley, she also lives with the community and works with them to create this photography, and continues to do so.

Considering the secondary market for my work
Figure 6. From BBC Article ‘ Coronavirus: The month everything changed’ (Kelly, et al. 2020)

Now that my project has evolved to include reaction to the current Coronavirus pandemic, it does present an opportunity to disseminate the work in an editorial setting. For example, BBC has already started to create reflections on how the UK has changed as a result of the virus, and illustrating this with stock imagery edited to present a before and after view of how life has changed (Fig. 6). In the weeks during the pandemic there will be inevitably be a range of content produced to help illustrate and understand what is happening and my work would fit very well in this. Especially as my intent is to look at the connections within community and society at large.

Figure 7. Huck Magazine spread (2018) from ‘Teen Activism’ issue.

Another example could be through a publication, such a Huck magazine, creates themed issues (Fig. 7) for content that could feasibly produce an issue on the impact and outcomes of the pandemic. Huck’s editor Andrea Kurland suggests that in this context it is the story that they are able to put together is just as important as the visuals when considering commissioning a piece of work “start thinking about what that editor would need to turn that into a feature” (Kurland & Creativehub, 2020). It would be good start thinking how my work can exist in these kinds of contexts as they have established audiences and built on the basis that if it is published there must be an inherent quality to the work and worth seeing. However, there is the issue of compromise to consider when pursuing publication in this kind of media. Both of the examples that I have given will have their own editorial guidelines with regard to the kind of work that they publish, and this could also exist in a particular political standpoint (although less so for the BBC), which could have a fundamental impact in the way that my work is read, potentially compromising the intent and dominant reading of my work. An important consideration that could have implications on how I am able to create work in the future.

Bibliography

Huck Magazine, 2018. Teen Activism. Huck Magazine, 15 May.

Kelly, J., Getty & Alamy, 2020. Coronavirus: The month everything changed. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-52066956 [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Kurland, A. & Creativehub, 2020. How to Show Your Work. London: Printspace Studios.

Rosenberg, D., 2016. Elvis Presley’s Biggest Fans. [Online] Available at: https://slate.com/culture/2016/01/elvis-presley-fans-around-the-world-photographed-by-clementine-schneidermann.html [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Schneidermann, C., 2018. I Called Her Lisa Marie. [Online] Available at: https://www.clementineschneider.com/i-called-her-lisa-marie/cz93s22tomb7f4jbr8radnwqtgxpal [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Schneidermann, C., 2019. For Vogue Italia. [Art] (Vogue Italia).

Schneidermann, C., 2019. Gucci x Vogue Italia. [Art] (Vogue Italia).

Schneidermann, C., 2019. It’s Called Ffasiwn is a collaboration with Charlotte James & youth clubs. [Online] Available at: https://www.clementineschneider.com/ffasiwn-1/lwqc0f3qqhdc4s3fznz34vv6tavez7 [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Schneidermann, C., 2019. It’s Called Ffasywn’. Bristol: s.n.

Sontag, S., 1979. On Photography. London: Penguin.

Wright, S., 2019. It’s Called Ffasiwn. [Online] Available at: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/clementine-schneidermann-it-s-called-ffasiwn [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Are you Drowning Yet?

I have written about parts of this topic a couple of times since the start of the MA and I think it is definitely important to really consider the context of how my work is displayed, and the audience of that work:

Photo Books, for example. I absolutely adore them and spend many hours looking at my own small collection. However, I was interested to listen to Simon Norfolk in a recent Small Voice Podcast (Norfolk, 2019), who said that he himself is done with them. His reasoning for this is down to the audience of photobooks, which is almost entirely that of other photographers, and a middle-class demographic of photographers, which can be problematic for a number of reasons. When you consider that many of these books have small print runs of around 150, and can be exceptionally expensive, this can be limiting in the dissemination of the work; for the socially concerned photographer, what you are actually doing is creating esoteric works for other people like yourself which does not bring issues to a wide and diverse audience.

Norfolk’s critique continued, and he also discussed the way that some of the major awards operate to only reward those that are part of the same cliques within the traditional photography world and this kind of self-congratulatory feedback loop will ultimately harm the practice of photography and its relevance.

Figure 1. Simon Norfolk (2020) Instagram Profile.

Interestingly, Norfolk cited Instagram as the space where the most current photography is happening and has worked to increase his own audience to around 150,000 followers (Fig. 1). Norfolk also discussed photographers such as Joey L as potentially moving the medium forward in this sphere, yet wouldn’t be considered by the traditional gallery system. Added to this, I also read recently of the TikTok photographer Derek Harris with a 3.6 million fan base (Harris & TikTok, 2020). These two examples are not who you might consider as legitimate photographic artists and social media creates a homogenised view of photography (Fig. 2), yet they draw audiences that clearly cannot be ignored, and to a great extent show that photography still has a large audience, albeit a younger demographic than those who might follow the Photographers Gallery; this could be considered a gateway into other parts of the photographic world. The rise of these photographers is surely a reaction by a generation that only consumes media via an online platform and technologies potentially considering the way we consume imagery archaic and obsolete.

Figure 2. Insta Repaet (2020) Image from @Insta_Repeat

Norfolk’s comments on Joel L were an interesting one however, he stated that he did not really like his work, a statement of which I tend to agree with owing to L’s highly exoticised gaze which is similar to the discussion around the National Geographic gaze we are looking at this week. However, Norfolk did have a great deal of respect for his ability to create an audience, and L’s aesthetics and technical ability can’t be discounted wholly. When I looked up Joey L’s Instagram however, he was actually using his most recent posts to promote his own first photobook, ‘We Came from Fire’ (L, 2019). So, even with L’s large online audience it seems he still places value on the tangible medium, albeit with a much larger print run no doubt.

Continuing this point, Last week’s reading of Bright’s ‘Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men, I was struck by her discussion regarding Lisa Lewenz’s ‘Three Mile Island Calendar’ (Bright, 1985) which consciously presented the work using a highly mass produced format playing with the notion of how these images would normally be viewed – primarily in a corporate report setting. This kind of presentation has impact over how you might expect to see a landscape image within its black borders and hung on white walls. To do something similar in a contemporary form of mass production, which ultimately would be using an online platform such as Instagram, the context could quickly drain away (Sontag, 1979, p. 106) as the image gets swallowed up by the countless others uploaded every second.

Where the photo book may hold more resonance with audiences outside of the photography world might be through publishers such as Hoxton Mini Press who will look for secondary markets for the books that they produce. For example, the book ‘One Day Young’ by Jenny Lewis (Lewis, 2015) is a beautiful series of portraits of mothers and their brand new babies, which was bought for me and my wife when my daughter was just born, and I have also seen it for sale in stores such as Oliver Bonas, creating an opportunity for those unaware of photography in the esoteric sense to access it. However, and I consider my editorial print background here, market forces shape the creation of photography for the masses and ultimately leads to its homogenisation, as broad appeal and aesthetics take the place of challenging work, which was certainly the kind of images that I shot for airline and travel magazines. There are advertisers and increasing market share to think about.

Bibliography

Anonymous & Instagram, 2020. Insta_Repeat Instagram Profile. [Online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/insta_repeat/ [Accessed 2 March 2020].

Bright, D., 1985. Of Mother Nature and Marlborough Men. Exposure, 23(1), p. Online.

Harris, D. & TikTok, 2020. derrekharris TikTok Profiles. [Online] Available at: https://www.tiktok.com/@derrek.harris [Accessed 2 March 2020].

Lewis, J., 2015. One Day Young. 1 ed. London: Hoxton Mini Press.

L, J., 2019. We Came From Fire. 1 ed. New York: Powerhouse Books.

Norfolk, S., 2019. A Small Voice: Conversations with Photographers [Interview] (12 June 2019).

Norfolk, S. & Instagram, 2020. SimonNorfolkStudio Instagram Profile. [Online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/simonnorfolkstudio/ [Accessed 2 March 2020].

Sontag, S., 1979. On Photography. London: Penguin.

Hunters and Farmers

I am not sure that I completely subscribe to the ‘Hunters’ and ‘Farmers’ analogy from Jeff Wall (Wall in Horne, 2012). If all images are constructions, which I do believe, then this is surely a spectrum in which all photographies fall and even within the distinct extremities of the continuum, even the hunters subjectively construct the reality of the actual (Berger, 2013, p.8) , which is based on the real world.

As such, I do not feel wholey comfortable subscribing completely to either title, however, I believe that my work is rooted in this actuality. I do not consciously or emphatically try to deceive with my work, however this is not to assume that what I do is not a construct with every decision that I make creating a version of reality, although naturalistic in its appearance & indexical in its traces, I am starting to appreciate that representation can only be a part of the whole narrative, an informed – if you will – overall opinion of what I am trying to say. If I was to consider which end of the spectrum that my work falls, it would inevitably be on the side of the hunter as I tend to look for the photographs that I want to create in the actual, my work is less about the gradual constructions and more about the constructed actualities. On the face of it, my practice does little to tend to my images over time, however perhaps this ‘tending’ could be through the development of personal style and aesthetics in the way that I approach my image making, it is easier to suspend disbelief when viewing my images because they are based in the real world.

As I reflect on this, I realise that my work on this end of the continuum is still rooted within my own comfort zones of how I take pictures, which is founded on my commercial practice as an editorial photographer. During the presentations, we have been continually asked to consider the importance of the reality of the image to determine meaning (Cosgrove, 2020) so moving forward, it would be good for me to play with this notion and create some work that consciously moves further toward the ‘Farmer’ end of the spectrum.

With this in mind, I am thinking of returning to two areas that I identified in some earlier research, the term idiorrhythmic came up when reading a text by Barthes and the reference to how we can live our separate lives but co-exist within societies and communities, Barthes considers this view non-paradoxical and considers that for a proper Utopian community to function there would be a removal of identifying information to distance ourselves from ‘spaces of Manipulation’ (Barthes, 2012, p.101). I wonder if the people that I am aiming to include in my look at the local community need to be ‘real,’ or could this be part of a constructed reality that plays with this notion of the spaces of manipulation and links to why I chose community as an area of interest for my photography and my fractured sense of connection to the place that I live.

Figure 1. Desert Places by Robert Frost (1936).

Another related area to Barthes notion of living together and apart is through the metaphor of the desert which Barthes uses in his text and also unpacked in the analytical paper of his work ‘Roland Barthes, the individual and the Community’ (Stene-Johansen, et al., 2018), from here links can be made to this kind of monoclastic living balancing isolation and attachment (2018, p.16). Robert Frost’s poem ‘Desert Places’ (Fig. 1) is also referenced here and an area that I wish to explore (Frost, 1936, p.44).

How are my images consumed?

My work has always sat in the printed media category, in that for the majority of my commercial life I have worked as an editorial photographer primarily for the airline publication sector, with other magazines and newspaper imagery too. So far, I have treated the work that I have produced for the MA as a kind of extended editorial shoot with the intention of displaying it in printed media, or its online equivalent. For example, after the last module, I produced a postcard series of the project to be distributed to a range of magazine and online editors (Fig. 2&3) with some interest in the work and a few shares on social media platforms. As is the way with publishing lead times, timing has been an issue for some of the publications that I sent my work, citing that my images of the carnival needed to be published to coincide with the next carnival season in the autumn. My intention here is to follow up in the spring to see if the work can be published later in the year.

Figure 2. Phil Hill (November, 2019) Postcard Series created to market ‘The Wessex Grand Prix’
Figure 3. Phil Hill (November, 2019) Postcard cover and graphic for ‘Wessex Grand Prix’

The topicality of the project lets it sit comfortably in this editorial category and would be considered professionally as an interesting look at British culture in the southwest region of the UK. The context of any kind of publication would omit much of the intentions that I set out in the creation to the work, in terms of the fractured sense of community that inspired to look again at the Carnival culture.

I have been testing the limit of this view through the submission of the work to dummy book awards, such as the Mack First Book Award (Fig. 4). At this stage, I am not sure whether my work sits comfortably within this category. 

Figure 4. Phil Hill (November, 2019) Wessex Grand Prix Book Dummy cover

Reflecting  on my decision to create a postcard series was primarily from a marketing perspective. In our digital image world, I wanted to let my project stand out from the plethora of emailed submissions that these editors would inevitably receive. Viewing images in an online gallery form can be very linear, as you are bound by the sequence and flow of the gallery in which they are presented with the knowledge that the job of the photo editor is to produce a narrative that fits with the intent and the editorial guidelines of the publication, this could be considered quite limiting to the potential of publication. This presents a slight irony in that the postcard mailer, which traditionally was a primary way of marketing for photographers, allows me to stand out. Presenting my work in a tangible medium also allows it to be laid out in full and viewed in a way that may work better within the context of the editor that I send the work. 

The postcard and the book dummy that I have started to explore also marks a departure in the ways that my work can be consumed, albeit an esoteric one. Simon Norfolk, for example has remarked that the world of the Photo book has become a self-congratulatory loop, where photographers are celebrating other photographers belonging to the same clique, and the same can also be said of the gallery and award system (Norfolk, 2019). Any move into other ways that my images are distributed and consumed should consider the esoteric and have an awareness that any meaning that could be derived from it needs to be viewed by more than a small group of taste makers. 


Bibliography

Barthes, R., 2012. How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of some Everyday Spaces. Translation ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

Berger, J., 2013. Understanding a Photograph. London: Penguin Classics.

Cosgrove, S., 2020. Week 2 Presentation: Is it Really Real?, s.l.: Falmouth.

Frost, R., 1936. A Further Range. Transcribed eBook ed. s.l.:Proofreaders Canada.

Hill, P., 2019. The Wessex Grand Prix. [Photography].

Horne, R., 2012. Holly Andres, ‘Farmer’ of Photographs. The Wall Street Journal, 3 February.

Norfolk, S., 2019. A Small Voice: Conversations with Photographers [Interview] (12 June 2019).

Stene-Johansen, K., Refsum, C. & Schimanski, 2018. Living Together: Roland Barthes, the Individual and the Community. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.