Thursday, 20 March 2008

Strength and weakness

I am still adjusting to the challenges of the course and I am trying to organize my life better to be able to explore all the opportunities and take advantage of the experiences that almost every day unfold in front of me. So far I have realized that being a photographer involves a lot of work before and after the shooting of interesting stories.
Research, networking and organizational skills are important if you really want to get some depth in your projects. Producing strong single images is not enough if you don't have a powerful and clear idea about what you are trying to achieve. Great images can be pointless if you don't know the story behind. Yo need to be informed about the news and understand the issues and the people involved.
From now on I will try to make notes about the subject, the image or the idea I am trying to develop, and to record sounds and interviews of the people I came across while on assignment.
Understanding the financial side of the business is also important to identify potentially successful creative ideas and to analyze the feasibility of turning ideas into products and services in the real world. Fundraising, sponsorship and intellectual property protection law for instance are subjects I suppose I still need to learn, so I am planning to attend the New Creative Ventures course organized together by University of Arts and London Business School.
And finally regarding the creative and technical side of the course, you just learn when you do it. So I will keep looking at the work of others and learning from my mistakes.


Dean C.K. Cox said...

I hear you, brother.

Sco said...

Yeah, that sounds like me talking. And never forget, the media industry can be incredibly unimaginative when it wants. With a documentary film made for Irish television in Cuba under my belt it still took me two years to get a Cuban commission for broadcast television in the UK. I spent vast amounts of time researching subjects and sending scores of sophisticated and fascinating proposals, each of them tailor-made to fit the right strand and/or editorial priorities of the day… and all of it falling on deaf ears. It was only when I realised that the 40th anniversary of the Cuban revolution was just around the corner and I subsequently scribbled a couple of lines together for a proposal with as good as no programme ideas in it at all that I had any success. Of the nine proposals I sent, I got five replies within a week. A week after that I was in discussion with both the BBC and Channel 4, all of it because they were primarily interested in the anniversary, and were looking for interesting programmes to hang on it. I don’t mean to belittle commissioning editors at all, but I learnt a huge lesson from this, and I suspect there are similar things going on in the world of photographic commissioning as well. The fact that nothing is seemingly ever entirely straightforward is both a blessing and a curse I guess.