Layla Sailor and Anna White
This week we had two more guest speakers, Layla Sailor and Anna White.
During their visit they spoke in great detail about how they progressed from graduation to being working photographers, right up to the present day. They reflected on their own development and shared with us the errors they had made and gave advice on how to best avoid doing the same.
Each one of them are different practitioners coming from different backgrounds and working in completely different photographic fields and styles. However and what interested me was that they often work together, assisting on each other’s jobs.
– Anna discussed the options available to us and how offering to assist on other photographic projects in the community helped land her other opportunities which in turn helped her to develop her own work. She advised we spent time reflecting on our own practice and discovering possibilities that would inevitably be of use for us individually. She spoke about working with people and getting to know them, and how through doing so she had the chance to narrow down her ideas, and begin producing her own work and then eventually applying for funding in order to further develop the work into her own independent photographic project.
– Layla encouraged us to consider sending work to publications that could potentially be interested in our work and that by thinking about places most appropriate for our work we would be narrowing down our practice and beginning to understand key themes and genres that our work could fit well into. She expressed not to be discouraged if nothing comes of initial contact as it may be what they are looking for at a later date or that by exposing yourself to them you could well be contacted if they deemed you appropriate for future work.
– Always have a plan B, especially important on shoots where we were advised to always have a back up plan in terms of lighting set ups, props, this will ensure that if something did go wrong or in cases where the client changes their mind on what they want, you will be armed with an alternative.
– When designing your website, think about the appropriateness of the work you are showing in relation to the sort of work you are hoping to gain. Who do you want to be appealing to with your work?
– Try broadening your practice and reaching out into other media. For example- Video. Doing so will illustrate a broad skill set showing that you have a wide range of skills which are adaptable and ever growing.
– Both of them said that after completing their studies, instead of making best use of the contacts, experience and available to them, (most of which were provided by their course) and instantly promoting their photography, they both took time out to do other jobs, and or travel and so on. They both agreed they did so to try and gain a better understanding of what they wanted to do with their careers, inevitably returning to photography.
They were adamant that this was a mistake for both of them and advised that we take advantage of all opportunities available to us and to ‘use the momentum’ already in swing. They said we would already have a great deal more exposure than we realise as our degree will provide many opportunities we should embrace. for example our final year shows, this alongside the opportunities to submit work to competitions, provides a launching point for our practice upon graduation.