The Business of Art.

April 05, 2012  •  10 Comments

"Impasse" Acadia National Park 2012, Nate Parker

I accidentally murdered a red squirrel yesterday driving home from a failed attempt at making pictures. And the way I feel about that pretty much sums up the way I feel about my "this week in photography". I haven't taken my kit out of the bag since last Friday when I tried to get my jammed filter adapter off one of my lenses that I screwed on in chilly temps and obviously cross threaded enough to lock it into place in a way that even Sasquatch man couldn't budge, and I really didn't want to take a picture of the maimed red squirrel, so I'll write about it instead.

Herein lies my dismotivation (if that's even a word)? Last week I talked about rediscovering the fun inherent in photography where I went out and made a bunch of crazy blurry pictures of landscapes through shaking the camera all around during the exposure, and had a blast doing that that day, and made some work that I really like and intend to do more of, but I'm finding my passion suddenly clouded by the concept of the business of photography. This last winter I finally got around to setting up this website to have my stuff properly represented with a dedicated web address and all where it lives instead of just having a Flickr page or a Facespace place, and started the never ending and arduous task of studying and learning new concepts related to SEO (search engine optimization) etc, to get the website to actually show upin searches. So with that entails work: like mind numbing key wording and filling out the metadata entries and filling out forms to get a Google Place listing, setting up the Google web master stuff and the Google Analytics stuff (which isn't as easy as making a picture lemme tell ya), trying to get back links, reading more articles on SEO strategies, etc, etc, and much like the way I feel about matting a print, this is not my forte! It's work. And, to make matters worse, once all of the above was plugged in and registered and on and on, there is the taunting graph of failure that Google Analytics provides for free! where you can check back to see how little the ripples are that I am making on the inter webs. Sheesh! Don't get me wrong- I know it's just the beginning, gotta make a ripple before it can become a wave, etc. etc.


"not really me" 

This is not inspiring motivation to use to go make new imagery! Google Analytics and creativity do not make good bedfellows. Bedfellows? Anyways,  I can't remember a class like this when I was in music school, but I think this would make good curriculum: "The transition from a passion to a business in your chosen art form". I do want to take this class.



"Antecerulean" 2012, Nate Parker

I went to Jazz school at the Berklee College of Music in Boston Ma from 1992 to 1995. I didn't graduate, but really most people don't graduate from the Berklee school, the awesome folks get hired right on, or they start their own bands, and the rest drop out and move on to photography (not really, just kidding). But I didn't go to that school to get rich and make money, seemingly in contrast to most other colleges, most of the students who go to these kinds of schools go there because of their passion to pursue something that they love and want to learn more of in a structured and serious manner. In hindsight I wish I went to a photography school, and as far as the earning potential they are probably evenly matched, but 20x20 hindsight isn't what I mean to be talking about right now, my point is: how do you reconcile making money off of something that you love doing and have a passion for, especially when you are hardly making any money off of it?!

Not mine

I didn't start making pictures to make money, a painter probably didn't start painting to make money, a musician (a real musician) didn't start playing musics to make money, likewise a ventriloquist, a marine biologist, a restauranter, a balloon animal makerist, etc. (some are more obvious than others). But the big problem always is the 5 letter word. I mean, today I would have much rather driven to a more far away place to photograph but my back-bills, bald tires, and price of gas kept me from going too far to get the pictures, of course there is always macro close-ups or still life or other that I can create in my own backyard but today an overriding sensation of being broke kept just about any inspiration from bubbling to the surface. Now this is nothing new to me, I've always been very modestly apportioned when it comes to money, and I like to think of myself as a realist and don't expect that just because I have a web site that people will be clamoring to get my autograph! It's just that damn Google Analytics graph that's getting to me. This morning I read a blog post from the photographer Guy Tal regarding exploration which touched on Edward Weston (a godfather of photography) and his finances which apparently never amounted to much (he never sold a print for more than 250 dollars and he could hardly afford his rent or medical bills and supposedly died with just a couple hundred dollars in his account), but recently some of his prints have sold for more than a million dollars a piece and a limited edition book of his work is selling for 250 dollars each, which he most likely wouldn't be able to afford-

"Pepper" 1930 Edward Weston

(my favorite Weston pic)

And not a lot of good that is doing him now, his estate maybe, but not him!

So, really money shouldn't have to be a limiting facet of an artists work, but obviously in the world that we live in: that is a fantastical nonreality.

Therefore, with that in mind I need to find a way to divorce myself from the concept of my "photography business" and my love of making pictures, I need to find a way to make the business part of it all be a hobby and enjoy doing it like the hobby part of photography that I love. Not likely! But if the business part of it pays off then the photography part of it will definitely benefit, I'll be able to go farther to make more pictures, and have better and more crisp lenses, and most importantly have more time and theoretically more inspiration to do the work, maybe even get health insurance someday!? But in all reality the world doesn't need me to do the job, there are plenty more and then some to the tenth power who will fill my shoes and do a good job at it. So who's kiddin who here, and what's the point after all>?! Forget about it, click-snap, ahhhh: that's the point! Just make pictures! Forget about "I'm goin Pro!!!" Really, just forget about it! Hang a show, make somebody happy, and hopefully make an unforgettable image, what better objective could an imagineer have. Hopefully I'll find a good picture to make before this time next week rolls around, but to tell you the truth blessed reader, if I have to wait longer, so be it, because I'm in it for the long haul Google! Hear that Google?! I'm not going to let your graph of disgrace dictate anything! Other than maybe that I need to find some more obscure yet appropriate keywords. "Fine art broke", "monochrome penniless", etc. To not belabor this self-pitying whine-fest: I'm not complaining, but I don't have to like it! Time to get to work!

And to anybody who has actually gotten to this point in the read: thanks for stopping by and may you have Great Success in whatever are your endeavors! -Nate. See ya next week.



"Arbiter" 2012, Nate Parker


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I found your post. This is an extremely well posted. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback. First replies have a lot of positive interest.
Thanks for the post and great tips.
Julia Anna Gospodarou(non-registered)
Nate, this was such a pleasure to read that I can tell you one thing: if you don't find a way of making money with your photography, you should surely try to make them with your writing. Delicious!!
As for making money from photography, I can't offer any practical advice, but I know you're not alone... And I think the safest thing would be to see how you could make money support your photography. Art doesn't sell, unfortunately!

Have a nice one, Nate!! :)
Ideally, if money were not an object (and of course, it always is), one could hire someone to take care of the business side of photography, giving one the time and energy to pursue the fun and art side. Otherwise, it is a long and painful road which sometimes kills the spark to create. Don't let that happen!
Nate Parker Photography
Jon Ho! Thanks for stopping by my man!
Nate Parker Photography
And Maxx same goes for me my friend, I'd love to have you show me around your California.
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