The last few weeks have been difficult and it is about to get a whole lot tougher! What now?
During February I flew to Los Angeles to cover The Oscars and then to Berlin to cover Berlinale (The Berlin Film Festival). I then used a loan GFX50R on a photoshoot for a band. I had also covered the March4Women on International Women’s day and the 50th Mark Kermode in 3D at the BFI. I had planned that the next 5 or 6 posts were to be about these trips, shoots and the camera but events have overtaken us somewhat and I feel that maybe there are other, more pressing, words to be written. (The other posts will follow).
Like (almost) every other photographer I have seen my work diary empty, rather rapidly it must be said and I now have nothing booked. Obviously this crisis will come to an end and photographs/photographers will be needed again, hopefully the portrait bookings I had will re-book and there is the glimmer that Festival de Cannes will be moved to the summer (oh damn 2 weeks in the French Riviera in the Summer!) As I said above, but what NOW?
As a press photographer the obvious thing is to go out and report on the carnage. The Shops, the queues, the goods shortages but then there are so many doing that.
I want to take a different tack. So many photographers have written on Social Media in despair, with no income what can they do? I want to suggest some different ideas to keep ourselves occupied and whilst these ideas may not solve the immediate financial problems, they will at least help with the future.
First up – don’t sit doing nothing worrying. “Satan finds some mischief still for idle Hands to do” – as I see it the less we do the more we worry and these are worrying times.
The world will without doubt change, work will without doubt change. I personally cannot see it becoming a financially stronger world but maybe as people start to realise what actually matters to them. My hope is it will become a culturally stronger world.
Try to put that aside. Use your creative talents to add to (what I hope to be) this culturally stronger world. There are so many things we, as photographers can be doing right now, to strengthen our position for when the crisis does end. There are so many other things to photograph than shelves devoid of toilet rolls. Need Ideas?
- For how long have you put off updating your website? Now is the time!
- Don’t understand social media? Learn!
- Lots of old images that are just languishing on your disk? Edit & Upload them to a stock library!
- Think video maybe the way forward? Time to learn to light, shoot and edit video!
A quick note on the stock library idea: I know not everyone is a fan of libraries or agencies but at the moment, each month I get regular income from images I have shot over the past 12 years, this income will help hugely during the next few months.
The thing is, right now time is the one thing we have plenty of, so don’t rush these jobs, take your time, vary your day, tackle a task then get an old (or new) photo book down for inspiration. Then move on to the next small task. There is no rush the moment!
I’m doing all of these things but I am also doing a personal project: We as photographers always point our cameras out, at others and we defend ferociously our right to do so in public. So during this time I am pointing it inwards, documenting our home life, how we are living, what changes we are having to make to get through this. There is so much to document!
It’s not a vanity project, its warts and all!
I’m sure every photographer, if they think about it, can find something at home to photograph to make a project, either inside or in the garden. Home-working, family, there are so many subjects.
Don’t be idle and send me your links, ideas and work.. In times of crisis it helps to talk to others … Stay Strong!