Part one of my 2015 retrospective & 2016 plans blog. Better Photographer ? Better Person ?
Part one of my 2015 retrospective & 2016 plans blog.
First published for :
So, last year Chris Gampat over at The Phoblographer asked me to write up a small that that wrapped up the year, this year Chris asked ‘Over the next year, how do you plan to become better as a photographer and business person? What’s your overall goal, and how do you intend on getting there?’
2014 & 2015 have been wild ones – seriously, you could not of made it up if you tried. Both in good and bad ways. I got my teaching job at Wolverhampton Uni. Guest Lecturer on a Wednesday afternoon – it was and is a massive step for me. More than anything it was somewhat of a personal achievement to myself. Lacking in confidence and direction is something I have been guilty of for long time now and this was one of those things I used to get over the invisible hurdles that was in my way. I did it, I set the challenge and I did it.
So 2016 – whats next…
Personal work – that is my 2016. I still don’t have much spare cash in the bank but I have a little more confidence, and in this game – that can be worth it’s weight in gold. Watching photographers like Ben Von Wong, Lara Jade, Felix Kunze and to some extent Joey L grow is a daunting prospect. It’s hard to not self blame when you see people grow at such an increasing rate, do all the things that you want to do yet make it so look so easy. It seems so effortless for them, but I seem to get stuck in the mud whenever I try and just live day to day. I have had shoots where I just was not able to get the camera in focus this year. So – in 2016 I am going to try something, total 100% positivity. Yup, everyday…. no more self blame and no more self pity. I am going to finish my two projects – both are small things and nothing major – but I need to finish them. For my own needs, I need to finish this chapter in a positive way and move forward. I am going to get my new portfolio finished and up before the end of February.
Don’t get me wrong – 2015 was not a bad year, by far it was the most successful year I have ever had, I have created some of my personal favorite images this year and after January will see me hit a target I have been working on for 5 years. That’s FIVE years ago I said something to my self and it will happen, just a few days away from my 33rd birthday. But all year I still had that feeling that I was going at full steam, 2016, I want to take that step up and mentally shift into another gear.
In 2016 will see the start of another element of my photography kick in. Ideas & Images have been working with a printing company called Fotospeed under the radar for a couple of years on a few small projects. Next year, with Fotospeed’s backing I am going to exhibit more and more work into gallery spaces. This is, for me, a nerve wrecking thing. But as part of my new move towards a fearless approach – getting my work out and showcased has to happen. For a long time the idea of being judged did worry me and put me off.
Business wise, we have been working very closely with Simon Ellingworth and his new project Amersham Studios along with strengthening ties with companies like FujiFilm. In 2015 we did both the 16-55mm and the 35mm lens sample images – as a fan these jobs are pretty much the best jobs I could dream for. We have just finished a job for Peli in the UK too – that was pretty cool as we shot it in Wovlerhampton Uni with the students as my team. Growing and strengthening the brand is always the key goal and if we can help educate along the way then that is going to be amazing for me. I was not working on the Photography show this year, but was invited to talk for a couple of companies – which was just as amazing. We did a couple of talks for Smug Mug & Fotospeed & a FujiFilm walk around Birmingham. Next year for the show, we have already had a number of requests from even more people. I guess everything is building day by day. Personally for me, the show each year is a interesting thing. It’s a way I can work out how well I am doing year to year – in regards to my photography profile. A few years ago I was that young kid looking up and dreaming of working with Fujifilm or some camera company. And now I am that person. It’s pretty bonkers really. This neatly takes me on to another thought….
Photographers and Social Media. Still don’t understand it all. I know for a fact I am loosing money as my social stats are not that big. Like, nothing compared to the people around me. I am VERY sure I loose money these days when companies look at my social stats before my portfolio. The idea that I need to put more time into ‘social’ is something on my mind daily. In 2015, I did make a noted difference in the way I used FB. I do the – never post anything negative thing. It worked a little bit but the, not posting anything personal was too tough and I caved in. I noted that most of the people with big followings ONLY post directly about what they work wise and strictly keep to it – it seems to work for most people but I like to Instagram my life as well as my work, it seems to hold back my social stats from growing. I dunno – maybe my work is just crap and no one likes it… the most simple answer is usually the right one. Either way… growing the social awareness of my work has to be one of those things I tackle in 2016.
I have just been reading back on what I wrote last year too. I mentioned the work / life balance – and shooting less. Still firmly agree with both of points. And I still think that the work you turn down is just as important as the work you take. This year has been filled with better jobs and better paying jobs too. I did put more time into personal projects but in some ways failed to do what I really wanted. I didn’t do enough on this front. There was another thing I wrote last year and it’s odd because it seems way more relevant that ever –
The personal things that have happened around me this year and the people who known me personally might really of noticed this more but, yeah. I have been stubborn, selfish and tempestuous. I have been arrogant and at times less respectful of the help given to me. I have got a few things wrong this year and I have been bitten. Quite rightly in hindsight.
We are photographers. We document. We see. We observe. We create happiness and capture sadness. We are all human and many of us wear our hearts on selves. We are emotional people and react as such. We are not perfect and we need to look after our minds just much as we look after our wallets. That is what I have learn’t this year.
The silly thing is , I don’t really think I did learn it. I feel like I have now, but maybe that is the point. As time moves along, our view points do too. We never stop learning and we can always look back and see better ways to be human. The other thing that this makes me think is that, no matter what happens, stand up, dust yourself down and get back up. It’s not how many times you fall over that counts, it’s how many time you get back up again that counts.
As to overall goals, I should really make some I think. Proper ones, So lets see, by the time Chris sends me another e-mail next December. I hope to of ….
• Had my first tattoo.
• Been to Japan.
• My first Kitten.
• Finished both my personal projects and have a blurb book made.
• Shot a major global advert for Fuji.
• Had a gallery exhibition in London & NYC.
• Dinner with Chris Gampat, Ben Von Wong, Joey L, Lara Jade, Sylivie Blum.
• Shot a cover for a Major music artist.
• Shot a major advert for an airline.
• Cover of Rolling Stone.
There we go, in public, that’s my 2016…. hummm I better bet busy.
Read more at http://www.thephoblographer.com/2015/12/13/how/#s8M1YjDbud7QjRLu.99