Good for you! Very tough getting in galleries for me. I tried writing the high powered galleries in NY and CA. With galleries it is a 100% failure rate. 98% never even replied back.
Originally Posted by lightwisps
I've had more luck with public institutions accepting my work. Even with some success, I get depressed working in that area as well. With museums I have about a 96% failure rate placing donations with them. Very depressing work getting rejected that much. And you have to count yourself lucky with even getting a rejection letter from them. The biggest part of the lot never write back.
With rare book libraries it is about 85% rejection rate. Better, but still lots of rejection and most never write back. So all this work is hard on the photo taking. It eats up time and you can't take photos. You just end up writing about photos.
With the gigantic institutions I send out a bound gift proposal that has 21 to 35 letter size archival pigment prints in it. The photos are printed on Hahn Fine Art Baryta or Ultra Smooth Rag. This is done to 'sell the donation' of a larger print portfolio. So I have to spend a lot of $ to donate some more $. It is expensive work. Just to ship one to the UK or China cost $60. But glad I print myself or I could never afford it.
If you guys paid to have the gift proposal done it would cost $400 to $700+ to send one out. For me it cost about 10% of that for production costs. But you most likely still never hear anything from the museums. So it is not just an email or letter I send out. The only emails that go out are for the very small museums.
I hope to be done by year end with this work. I will finish up the US in a couple of months and am working on Europe. If I had to keep doing this year in year out...I'd prob quit! No fun at all.
So where does all this work got me?
In 7-1/2 months of work I am in 27 museums and rare book libraries special collections in the US, UK and China. May sound good, but that came from 392 solicitations of one form or another. I have a 6.8% success rate and 93.2% rejection rate. But that may rise as many museums take months to get back to you. Maybe it will end up as a 8% or 9% success rate when I'm done? Or not??
Last edited by Iluvmycam; 08-05-2013 at 08:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I am lucky. I live in a little village that is known for being artsy fartsy. Part of why we moved here. That and we ended up with 80 acres of rural land that is beautiful. At this point the most photographed land around, I am sure. It even has really old water pumps and who knows what all. So that is helping too. There are 2 galleries that are interested and today I am going to talk to another one. Wonderful having all day to do these things. Take care and good luck. Europe? Haven't been there in a couple of decades. Great place to explore. Good luck and keep on trying. Don
I think you have to get in to the $500+ range to get folks who are reliable, because you need to book through an agency, not through MM. I've largely stopped using MM to find models now - I'm going back to the friends network, that is, I ask friends to do it. IF they say yes, then it really means yes, and we have a good shoot and it all works out.
Originally Posted by Iluvmycam
I do a lot of street shooting in DC, although more buildings/urbanscapes than people per se. Any decent size city is good for street shooting, really, all depends on your perspective. I think there's a fine line between being anonymous as a street photographer and being known as a street photographer - sometimes it's easier if nobody really knows who you are because then they don't care, but sometimes it would be easier if folks know you because then they know what you're doing with their photos and might be more amenable to being photographed.
eddie and MattKing: I DO MAKE PRINTS! But the 'knowing' how to make them does not force me to make tons of them like some people have a need to do. I derive immense satisfaction from KNOWING how to do things and this satisfaction, in and of itself, is a large part of my own particular creative process. It puts my mind at ease and allows me to think more lucidly while removing mental clutter.
Someone here said that that type of thinking is philosophy, not photography. So be it, and, thus, Susan Sontag was a photographic non-entity? There is more to photography than the next exhibit. The photographic time-capture has depth and dimensionality and dynamism; and all that dynamism is not taken up solely with its visual aspects. - David Lyga
Last edited by David Lyga; 08-05-2013 at 08:42 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Most Museums are not interested in submissions . They have walls built up to protect them from floods of image makers pleading with them to show work.
If your work is in their mandate , some times you will get invited to exhibit which usually they cover the costs.
To date I have produced six solo shows for larger venues for photographers I print for. They include the Smithsonian, George Eastman House, and three at the Royal Ontario Museum, As well numerous prints for group shows that is a very large list, this is after 30 years of working .
I do not use this as a benchmark of success , as I believe that you are only as good as what you can produce each day, that I use as my goal.
On a personal level I doubt that any Museum is thinking , boy we should ask Bob Carnie for his solarizations.. this just does not happen. I am approaching hundreds of gallery's, to show the work I have produced, but I am following their guidelines to a tee and never send unsolicited submission. I am looking at their other artists and seeing if my work could work in their gallery .
This takes time, years in fact and my hope is one day this to pay off , but I am not banking on it , rather I am enjoying moving my work around to different city's, visiting the city's , meet new friends and associates, and for me that is all I can ask for. Many years from now I will learn if my work has any legs, but now its just hard work moving it about.
Originally Posted by Iluvmycam
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I never felt like quitting photography. At the worst moment, I just put down my camera and not shoot for a while just to recharge my creative batteries.
"Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
I was just having a senior moment I think.
I feel like quitting
selling everything but a flyrod
oh.. about once every three months
haven't done it yet...yet
I'm tired of looking for a space to shoot though..it's tough in my town.. rents are steep and since it's only for my own amusement - I won't / can't spend an arm and a leg on rent
I could rent places by the hour..but I got so much stuff..I just don't want to load..unload..setup..shoot (or not if the model(s) flake) break down..load..unload
so yeah.. not right now..but w/i 3 months..I'll feel like chucking it all
Yes, other stuff. But not photography.
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.
Hi David Lyga,
Originally Posted by David Lyga
This is a thought directed at myself, a bit of introspection you inspire by your introspective opposing viewpoint.
I consider myself a low volume producer. Four prints a day, or maybe in a week is peak production for me. So I am guilty of being a less-productive darkroom worker than I should be.
And I feel bad about that. I should make more prints. I should print every good negative and make multiple prints of the really good ones. I have a ten-year backlog at this pace and I keep taking pictures. I have constraints that keep me from consuming too much material, and constraints that keep me near the darkroom but not using it. I see that I am better now than I have ever been, but recognize that my constraints limit how good I can be. In some respects I might be like you... I make peace with a realistic idea of how good I am. But I can not rest. I see only the limit to how good I might become if I continue following this path. So instead of peaceful clarity this makes me un-easy. I want to be better at dodging, better at retouching negatives, better at making prints that are obviously better when seen side by side with the rejects.*
That some photographic workers are compelled to print in volume is cause for celebration. If you enjoy something immensely and do not spend much time doing it, can you be as happy as if you spent more time at it? If you are good at something and spend more time doing it, do you not get better? And if you produce tons of prints, aren't you giving future generations of sensitive photographic collectors the gift of affordable enjoyment of your original work?
*And since these are pretty clear goals, I actually think I can make some progress.