Thinking of starting a Canadian Film Photography Collective

Discussion in 'Member Organized Functions' started by jordanstarr, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I've been toying with the idea of starting a Canadian film photography collective for some time. I like the idea of a group of Canadians who are dedicated to the film processes to band together and utilize the knowledge, resources and "hook-ups" we might have to further our exposure (pun intended). I'd like to band photographers (serious amateurs, professionals, etc.) who are doing their own documentary work and small projects that say something about Canada or have some kind of "Canadiana" spin. Not all our work has to be within Canada or have that spin, but as a collective, we would encourage doing work that is "close to home". The purpose wouldn't be like magnum, to get commissioned work for jounalistic purposes, but to focus more on small projects and galleries. However, the focus would be on similar documentary/editorial-style work in a Canadian context, but it could also be abroad for certain purposes (if we do a portfolio show). It wouldn't be limited specifically to that style, as much of Canada is defined by other things such as landscape, arcitecture, etc.

    ...question is...I don't know where to even begin, how to recruit other photographers (how many is too many?), how we would organize ourselves, etc, etc.

    My thought was that I have already completed a loose/rough "who we are" statement, mission statement, objective, values and a vision. From there I would finalize it into a solid and clear description, pitch it to community darkrooms, galleries that showcase a lot of photography, schools that have photography programs, etc. and get some people to apply, submit work, etc.

    Some forseen problems I have is that: 1. I'm not the greatest photographer, so what gives me the right to judge other's work and reject proposals/applications from photographers who are as good as myself. 2. Do collectives generally lose momentum, get lazy, have internal drama that causes the thing to collapse? 3. Not reaching out enough (we need representation all over -northern Quebec, Northwest Territories, Nunavit, Yukon, etc. -not just the major cities. 4. Digital. I'd like to leave it out of the collective because there's already Canadian photography collectives that are digital. But what about photographers who use both on a serious and equal level? 5. How do you have meetings with a collective of 12 people from across the country?

    This is a loose write-up that I just did off the top of my head. It will be modified. Any advice would be well-received.
    Who we are: A group of Canadian documentary film photographers.
    Mission: The ________________ Collective exists to showcase the work of film photographers in Canada.
    Objective: The ____ Collective will take on various documentary projects within Canada to promote in galleries and other artistic forums.
    Values: We will only display our with as a collective using film photography as our medium. We will strive, where possible, to showcase work that has a sense of Canada. We will encourage eachother and share useful information. We will support eachother any way we can for the better of the collective.

    I shot this idea to Colin Corneau in Winnipeg, who has been shooting a serious body of work that I've been admiring on Brandon, Manitoba. He loved it and felt it would "get him off his ass", even though I think he's been doing a good job at it. I think the collective would motivate us to get out and be more serious about what we do, while at the same time, be able to pool our skills together. For example, I have a darkroom, capable of developing 20 rolls of film at a time, 20x24 prints, lots of space, build my own quality picture frames and I'm a pretty damn good spotter. I have some Leica and Hasselblad equipment that can potentially be loaned out to members of the collective along with a stockpile of different film I may never use. I'm sure there's other people who bring skills, equipment, resources, etc. to the table and if we work together, we could come up with some pretty impressive results.

    I haven't thought it out to a degree where I'm very organized yet. Also, I just wrote this thread in beat style, so my ideas are probably all over the board.

    Any advice, expertise, experience or "good lucks" are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    Jordan Starr
    www.jordanstarrphotography.com
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    You really need to repost this ASAP to the Canadian regional boards--otherwise, it will just collect dust here unnoticed.
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I think it's a great idea Jordan! Make it happen! And I hope that you will get some positive suggestions for how to pull this off. This really needs to happen.
     
  4. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I tried, but I have to pick a Canadian city to repost it. I don't know anywhere else to post it -seems most suitable here, but I agree, if it's not under equipment or something like that, it can be easily overlooked. Maybe I should have disguised the title as "digital is better..." just to get people clicking on it...haha.:whistling:
     
  5. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    +1. A great idea. Let's make it happen!
     
  6. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Interesting to see where this goes.
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    There are only 3 Canadian boards. I you want to connect with Canadians, more will see it there than here. Otherwise it just slips into oblivion. It's a worthwhile project but it needs all the help it can get.
     
  8. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Cross post to Calgary and Vancouver subsections.

    Also, and it's just my opinion and this is APUG after all so take this for what it's worth, but do you really want to be film specific as a collective ? I get that people are committed to film (you should see my film cupboard) but it's also a hook and that hook can work against you as well. People who are serious about seeing important photography DON'T care about the media used, they just want to see good work. You may marginalize yourself, but I've been wrong about lots of things so ymmv.
     
  9. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Dunno. I'm thinking tentatively that the film-only angle could work--provided the emphasis is on a shared interest in doc style shooting instead of the usual gear-fondling show+tell BS. Still, finding people into this type of shooting who also shoot film could be a hindrance. I'd like to see any local APUG groups around the GTA and beyond actually connect and meet more than once or twice annually at best. Maybe this needs help first?
     
  10. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    Jordan, great idea. I own a gallery outside of Ottawa that has a lot of analog photography. If I can be of any help, let me know. The Gallery is 3 Yellow Tulips. Feel free to contact me there or at lightwisps.

    Best of wishes, Don
     
  11. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    I'm just concerned that people will look at the "film only" angle and think they're more interested in promoting film use (a good thing) rather than advancing important issues. I'm just relating my experience with people who look at this type of work and who have a say in whether these things are a go or no go. Getting people on board with documentary work and funding is hard enough for even established photographers, that throwing in something that could be seen as irrelevant, might be counter productive.

    I think if it was a collective where the majority "happen to shoot film", well that would be another thing.
     
  12. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    We sell 10 to one fiber prints to each digital.

    Don
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Agree that any sort of restrictive/prohibitive condition about film use is counterproductive. Too much tension here already whenever mention of any aspect of hybrid workflow brings on charges of heresy. The OP still needs to repost this to the Canadian boards soon.

    I like the idea but have no clue how many around the GTA would participate. It's the sort of shooting I enjoy.
     
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  15. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Fair enough but what the OP wants to do is different from selling art in a gallery. My understanding is that he doesn't want a collective of nature/ landscape photographers. He wants to do documentary work and for this, film is going to be a hard sell unless you're a known quantity.

    I count among my friends and colleagues, editors (WPP judge for example) and photographers (VII, an independent but award winner, etc) and telling them you shoot on film isn't going to register. Honestly, they're going to think if that's your main selling point, you have a lot of work to do before you can talk to them again. Are they shooting film as well, most are but they move between film and digital depending on the project they're working on. Hell, some are even using the film cameras I sold them.

    TPTB want to see good work and they don't care if you used a D3 or an MP.

    I applaud the OP for wanting to get a group of like minded photographers together but to become a quality collective that will make a difference, you're going to have to go up against other Canadian collectives like Boreal or Rogue, both of which have a deep talent pool and both of which put the work produced, ahead of the kind of camera they use.
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    The OP's pitch is obviously preliminary and tentative. Doubt he's anticipating a big league production. Working on a hyper-local basis is one approach. The self-segregation of analog is just plain offbeat for this kind of photography to many. It's a WIP right now.If he won't post to the Canada regional boards, then it's not going to go anywhere.
     
  17. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    CGW...I have requested the thread to be shifted/merged/moved to a more appropriate place as you have suggested.

    As for the film-only issue. The idea of the collective is not to compete against other Canadian collectives -it's to embrace the aesthetics of film developing and printing as a seperate (yet similar) fine art. And if someone who shoots digital wants to be part of a collective, they have more than enough to chose from or they can start their own. I don't have any evidence on this point, but I suspect a lot of collectives embrace digital for it's speedy workflow and web presence and have little patience for the film photographers who need a month to get a negative scanned or printed. I completely buy into the theory that "a good shot is a good shot" whether it's on an iPhone, pinhole camera or a Leica. Also, the point of the group is to have more gallery presence, which is what I stated before -not to approach newspapers or anything like that. The photographers can obviously choose whatever they want to shoot with for certain projects, but the presence and context in which I would want to present to galleries and on the web would be film in nature. I'm also not out to create a quality collective that is destined for fame and fortune. I want a collective of film photographers that pools in knowledge, support, equipment, ideas, etc. to further our own film-shooting agenda and have a lot of fun doing it. The documentaries do not have to be hard news topics. I'm doing a body of work on the lives of the homeless youth at the shelter I work at, without showing them -using only the architecture and their belongings/rooms/lockers. Subsequently, others can do a body of work on their town, a forest they like visiting, a year-long camping trip, igloos...whatever. We don't need any groundbreaking work here. But if someone is doing something great, I don't think doing it on film will hinder it getting out to the public. In fact, the collective would prop up the exposure if anything. If they shot it on digital for whatever reason, well...they will likely have their own site for that if they're serious enough to cover those kinds of topics.

    Basically, I'm not saying the photographer only has to shoot digital, but as a collective, we would be only showcasing work that is done on film. Because our main focus would be a fine-art perspective on documentary photography with the aesthetics of film, we would be focusing on galleries and the like to display those works. We know we're not gonna get rich or famous or that we will be big or produce ground-breaking work in international media (like VII or Magnum), we're just doing this to push one another, pool resources, bounce around ideas and get as creative as we possibly can with film. However, you do have a good point in that if we do look for funding as a collective for a big project that could be done cheaper with digital, we may run into problems.

    Also, I think a major point of having a group of film users is that collectively we can be more supportive and helpful with each other's art. What am I going to do to possibly help someone shooting digital? What is someone in the collective who shoots digital going to do to help me? There's no mutual relationship there. Someone might be doing amazing work, but lacks in a certain skill like scanning negs, which is something I can do to help out on my night shifts when I have downtime. Subsequently, if they have a lot of extra paper, they could ship some over to me to print. We can't help each other as well if we have completely different workflows.

    A lot of good points are raised about it being film-only, so thanks canuhead...I genuinely appreciate it. It's made me think a little harder about the whole thing.
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    CGW...I have requested the thread to be shifted/merged/moved to a more appropriate place as you have suggested.

    Jeesh, what's wrong with a DIY repost on the Canadian boards??? If you won't, I will.
     
  19. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    If you are considering soliciting funds or other revenue sources, you'll need to look at what entity form you will need or could be beneficial. You may be able to qualitfy the entity as a not-for-profit either under the Federal or Provincial registrations but would need to research as the Federal statutes related to a not-for-profit have recently been tabled for new legislation and Provinces hve varying requirements including requirements for audits if revenues exceed some amount. Last time I read Ontario's legislation, the threshhold for an audit was $125,000 in gross revenues.
     
  20. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    Revenues? $125,000? Damn Brian....you have higher hopes about this than I do! That's a good idea, but imagine we would be "for profit" unless the money we made was pumped back into the collective.
     
  21. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Hi from Montreal. I don't know if any of my work would qualify, but it's essentially an ongoing urban landscape/architectural study of Montreal.

    Anyhow I'm curious to see where this goes. It would be neat to be part of some kind of Canadian collective. Montreal is probably the most photography-dead city in North America.
     
  22. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I've been to Montreal a couple times. Would like to take my motorcycle there in the spring and do some shooting. I agree -for a very artistic community, very little going on in the way of photography it seems. For the exception of Amanda Tetrault and her project "Phil and Me", I haven't seen anything film related come out of that city in a long time. However, I'm also not really combing through the Montreal photography scene very much. And the landscape and architecture is very unique and something you would never see out west.

    Email me some photos Michael: jordan@jordanstarrphotography.com

    I always enjoy reading your posts for your vast knowledge by the way.
     
  23. dochertyinbc

    dochertyinbc Member

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    Has It Come To Be?

    I am wondering if anything came of the collective, possible involvement interests me.

    I believe Canadians working in the film and darkroom discipline need to identify with each other. Darkroom prints from film negatives are one of a kind pieces of art, the the artists need to be recognized for the skill and dedication the craft requires.



    David,
    Doing it in the dark...
     
  24. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    I'm interested!
     
  25. scapevision

    scapevision Member

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    I am in Toronto and shoot film. Although I do not consider myself a documentary photographer at the moment.
     
  26. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    oops! :confused:

    :laugh: