The fun of this industry is often about the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Michael Gilbert and I go back a whole lot of years to my early Hasselblad days. He's a third generation photographer who's creating a lot of noise in the fine art world. However, there's one consistent quality in Michael's work that been present throughout his father's and grandfather's careers - it's all about passion. There's nothing else that any of them would love doing more than being an artist and photographer.
This guest post is part of a "daily double" thanks to our friends at Tamron USA. If you'd like to find out more about Michael, check out today's new podcast and then visit his Facebook page. Skip Cohen
Taking a look back a few years ago, my work and business was just like everyone else in photography. Weddings, Family Groups, Children, a few Bar Mitzvahs and the odd commercial job made up my business. I pretty much photographed everything that came through my door and had built up a pretty successful business.
But, like so many photographers, my passion for getting into photography had nothing to do with any of those things. So to be honest and fair, I did what I needed to do to earn a living and it wasn’t bad. Making money allowed me to buy the gear I wanted and stay cutting edge on my skill set.
One big difference from most photographers, I saw myself as an artist. I have a really good art background. By the time I turned 18 I was already collecting photography. I was lucky and through my Dad met with and worked with a lot of the greats including Josef Karsh and Arnold Newman, just to name a few…but that’s another story.
If you are photographer and you do weddings or young children take a moment and ponder this. Each wedding you do is usually a young couple just starting out in life. Many buy a new home or move into a first apartment. Now, consider the fact that over ninety six percent of home-buyers will be making an art purchase to put on all those blank walls.
That was my key segue into fine art photography and changing my subject matter to taking images of things I wanted to photograph as opposed to being hired to photograph. I started to create images of things I liked. I surmised if these young couples were already buying my portraits, why not show them my fine art pictorials that in a frame would look great on their walls.
I’m betting most of you reading this have amazing shots you have done. In fact I’m positive you do., but you’ve never really thought about doing much with images you just did for your own enjoyment.
So that’s where I started. I had images framed and ready to show on my walls and I started by giving one away for each job I did. I had to make an investment in the dream I was hoping to turn into reality. I wanted my business to morph into fine art photography.
Who would have guessed all these years later I actually make a living at selling Fine Art Photography?
Over the last five years i have lectured at WPPI three years in a row and I did a program at Imaging USA called Selling your Photography in the Fine Art Market. There wasn’t one photographer I met who didn’t have amazing images to show me. These were images created from their heart and soul and often, just to use an old cliché, with blog, sweat and tears.
I know all of you have images like this. So, get out there and make me happy…no, make yourself happy… and sell a few!
Images copyright Michael Gilbert. All rights reserved.