Sell the Thread of Vision not The Subject of Your Pictures


.


Expanding Your Repertoire May Be Rewarding

.

Changing directions and adding new material to your repertoire may be rewarding  –  and even necessary to grow a photography or illustration business in the early 21st Century. For some, it means exploring new markets or categories and sometimes redirecting efforts toward different markets. An artist may be established in the editorial market, for instance, but recognize opportunities in the advertising market.

A common mistake made by some commercial artists is to adapt their work to fulfill a market’s needs and desires, rather than creating work they’re passionate about and seeking a market for it. The former demands second-guessing, and generally this means compromised rather than vision-driven portfolios.

.

Passion Through Diversity

.

I worked with a food photographer who wanted to follow her passions. She wanted to add lifestyle and portraiture to her repertoire, after accidentally sliding into shooting food for two decades. While she was passionate about what she was shooting and was making a handsome living, she felt an emptiness. She wanted more.

She attended one of my Photo Plus talks about 15 years ago, this one discussing diversity and passion. My talk was radical then, as the popular trend was to choose a specialty and shoot it for an entire career.

Diversity meant creating a new body of work appealing to a market that she had yet to explore.

Some artists may be overwhelmed or absorbed or fearful. Many believe creating something new means giving up what they already have. Perhaps it’s all about confidence, competence, safety or reputation, or perhaps it’s all just a fear of change.

..

Fear Itself

.
Change is difficult for many people, but I have always welcomed change. I’m energized by change. If I just did one thing over and over, I would not only bore myself, I fear my work would bore others. Creative growth may lead to career growth. One cannot grow a career without change.

Of course, change demands risk. Some of us are motivated by standing at the edge. It makes for a more dangerous journey. You can fall.

But in order to grow, we must be willing to let go. We must learn to suspend security. You cannot grow without risk.

.

Unique Vision, Pure Energy

.
Artists may be so passionate about what they’re doing that the energy may whoosh through their body and take over their heart. That energy may lift them off their feet, upset their balance or generate fears of failing – or even fears of succeeding.

There are those who are addicted to the energy, so much so that the energy – not the manifestation of the idea – is what excites them. Some become addicted to ideation.

I love ideas, but I’m not willing to be thought of only as a dreamer. If the dream moves me, I’m going to manifest it, no matter what.

Something dramatic has happened to our industry during the first decade of the 21st Century. We do not have to do one thing for the rest of our careers. I’m not so sure that would be a wise decision for an artist anyway; as artists, we’re interested in many things. We have the opportunity to be this AND that, rather than the conventional 20th Century wisdom that demanded artists choose one thing and stick with it.

.

This OR That v. This AND That

.

In our business, the word ‘or’ is no longer necessary. The ANDs are connected by the thread of vision. Your motivation in a new market, therefore, is your passion.

Sell the thread rather than the subject or categories of your work, and that will separate you from your competitors. Your vision makes you unique. Your passion will drive your success.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Photos by Dave Moser

www.davemoser.com