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Photography/fine art photography career

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Question
Hi...is fine art photography a serious career or full time career?  i want to become a fine art photographer specially in surreal photography...i get lot of good ideas in my head about surreal photos but what kind of job will i get in this field? Whom should i approach for jobs in this?

Answer
Hello Ajay,

Thanks for your question. While I have spent many years in this field, I'm still learning about it!
I'm not sure many people will employ you to follow your Fine Art Photography unless you have a patron like an artist has a patron. Remember if someone pays you to produce something, they usually own the rights to it. I think you'd prefer to reap the benefits from your work wouldn't you?
Some artists dream of being under contract to a Gallery, and for the few who do, they often enjoy the support of wealthy patrons. The artist then produces work according to the Gallery's instructions, often for a set fee. Again, if you are creative enough to produce your art, you could be independent enough to find a market.This is a learning curve.

There are few artists ( include Fine Art Photographers) who can make a living solely from their work. They often have a full or part-time job or support themselves in another way, eg by teaching techniques etc.

If you are very organised and have a lot of business nous, you could plan a 'career' in the sense that you can follow opportunities for promotion, like someone in a career structure. More often, Fine Art Photographers ( and most artists) find a style or niche and then explore it. Try and produce images that stand out in some way, and try and get known for that. Surrealist Photography was probably originated by the French Photographer Man Ray. Have a look at his work, if you haven't seen it already. Look at paintings also, eg the Surrealists like Magritte.

If you get ideas for pictures draw them.Keep a visual diary and commit the ideas to paper. Then think about how to make them a reality. What props/objects/models will you need? What equipment etc. Review your drawings from time to time and refine your ideas until you have the resources to make the pictures.

You should look at the principles of marketing/publicity and fuse these principles into your overall plan. The Book 'Ways of Seeing'by John Berger is interesting, especially his section on Publicity.

Lastly, read about the Fine Art Photographers eg Robert Mapplethorpe.

If you want to ask a specific follow-up question, that's fine. You might look at my website lawrencemarshallphotography.com This will give a different aspect on the subject.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Marshall

Photography

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Lawrence Marshall

Expertise

Can answer questions about many areas.Portaiture,Glamour,Landscapes,Live rock bands, Publicty, Editorial and Fine Art Photography. B&W exposure,processing and printing and the materials involved.Toning and dying B&W materials,especially the Colorvir process.Using High contrast ortho film.Intaglio printmaking.Presentation of Photographs.Exhibiting Photography.Photographing Paintings and other two dimensional Art.

Experience

Thirty years experience. Freelance work in Editorial,Publicity, Portraiture,Landscape,Rock and Roll, Weddings in 6x6 and 35mm. Black and white processing, printing and toning.Intaglio printing and the Colorvir system of toners and dyes for B&W prints.

Organizations
Western Australian College of Teaching. Saatchi Gallery (London). Art Gallery Australia.

Publications
Western Review

Education/Credentials
Certificate in Photography. Bachelor of Arts Degree,Diploma in Education.Giving regular One day Workshops in Photography in Western Australia. Various seminars in film-based Photography.Registered and practising Secondary teacher

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