Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year 2012: time to (ugh!) assess last year's goals

highbrow/lowbrow Paris 2011 Marc Olivier

The big change last year was that I officially killed the monthly special. For the most part, I haven't regretted it, but there's a tiny chance that I might bring it back. If I look back at what I thought I was going to do during 2011, it was an abysmal failure in all but the overarching goal. First the failure.
  • I planned on doing lots of interviews. I did none.
  • I planned on doing more posts about photo books. I did a few.
  • I planned on making real-life retouch a regular feature. I didn't.
  • I planned on doing micro tutorials. I did a couple.
  • I planned on doing more posts about actual prints and displaying them. I didn't--at least not so much on my blog. On Pinterest, however. I have a board of photo display ideas with 88 pins and 146 followers.
So what did I do? Well, I worked on my overarching goal—the "epic fail" project. I decided that I wanted to publish/display in art venues my photos. I documented my failures and the failures to fail. I started out the year with a feature story in jpg magazine. Then I tried a few contests. I got 3 photos accepted to f-stop magazine and another 3 accepted to a show at the Kiernan Gallery. I also submitted to 2 shows where I didn't get in.

What did I learn?
  1. Submitting to shows is expensive and getting accepted (framing and shipping) is even more expensive. I don't think I can afford success in that area right now.
  2. I questioned my motives for caring about a certain kind of recognition. As a result, I think I care more about doing what pleases me.
  3. Seems contradictory, but I also care more about doing commercially viable work than I did last January. Given the fact that I have commercial representation, I kept wondering why I spent more time trying to get into galleries (and spending money) and less time sending out work that could end up in homes (and actually earning money). Not that I have to choose, but I was ignoring the latter for no good reason.
Last thing from last year: I started a movie blog with some friends but realized that I don't have time to commit to it. Maybe I'll do a few posts during the Sundance Film Festival, but I think I'd rather just do a short critique via Pinterest or something.

Which brings me to the current obsession: Pinterest. It's very addictive and has been a great source of inspiration. My blog + my pinterest boards are a lot better for me and anyone following me than just the blog. I pin about books, tutorials, products, interviews, etc. If you follow my blog and don't already follow me on Pinterest, you should really check it out.

What about 2012?
The long term survival of any non-commercial 1-person blog depends on how useful it is to the person writing, so it's all about adapting or dying. My plan is to keep it honest. In other words, to post about what I'm interested in and what I'm pursuing. Like my "about me" section says, I'm a "distractable dilettante"(i.e. I like to dabble and, unlike most, I see that as a positive thing). So this will likely mean:
  • more posts about photo books I'm reading
  • a variety of projects
  • an occasional tutorial
  • another attempt at making "real life retouch" happen
I'm teaching another photography class this semester, so I'll post about it and share links to some of my students' work.

Since my overarching goal last year was the one success out of all of my plans, I'm going to set a new goal for 2012: epic success. Why not? I'm going to experiment with the business side of things. Unabashed commerciality. Shameless optimism. Let's see how that goes.


Unknown said...

I hope your year is fantastic and then some.
Congratulations on your huge pinterest success : )