I am a working commercial photographer, who shoots in both film and digital. Often, digital is required because the client needs the images in a very short turnaround. And they need a great quantity of images. Digital is good for that.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that PROJECTS are not going to get you anywhere but closer to paying this month’s bills. To make a name for yourself, to get successful, you need PRODUCT.
The difference, I see, is like this. A book is a product. It can sell for years to come. A gallery show is a product–it’s an event featuring you and your work. A film, a record, a book, a short story, these are all products, and you can create a career with them.
But photographing a freelance job that gets images for one purpose, even if you can shoot ten of them a week, is still a project. The project ends, and there is no lasting value, except perhaps to photograph it another time. Many clients in this business end up being one and outs. Those shoots pay the bills, and that’s all they do.
Products aren’t about creating for someone else’s needs. Products are the result of creating for your own needs. Putting your name on the cover and calling it your love. And risking they may not buy it, like it. They may even call it worthless and ridicule you. But if it’s your vision, that’s what is valuable. Your willingness to say something. That’s the basis of product.
So, my focus is on my products, not projects. It’s how I can go farther in my career and create lasting value in my work. It’s how I can create legacy–my products are all that will be remembered. Names are forgotten. People disappear. But we know the work.
That work is the product. And that is what we must work for.
I AM LYONS COLORADO is a book I published in 2013. It’s a product. It exists in people’s homes and in the local library.