I recently redesigned the look and feel of my website Indochine Photography. When you do something like that it’s important to get the word out. Many visitors initially come to my photography website through this blog, by either using a link within a particular post, or by utilizing the righthand toolbar and clicking on INDOCHINE PHOTOGRAPHY. Either way the important thing is to get them there. I’ve also tried to use some “creative” ways to promote the new site on Facebook, and develop some interest amongst my Facebook friends to visit, save and share the link. Here are two humorous approaches I recently used on Facebook.
Man of the Year
My Man of the Year announcement was a tongue-and-cheek (and completely bogus) magazine interview. In it the world-famous photographer, writer and world traveler (me) summed up his philosophy of life: Live Simple; Live Cheap; Live Free. Here I invited my Facebook friends to visit my newly redesigned website Indochine Photography.
Hanging Señor Cigar
Hanging Señor Cigar was again a humorous attempt to show my work hanging in a gallery (again completely bogus). I did show my work in a real brick-and-mortar gallery, SoHo Galleries, in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I also hung and sold my work at Cafe la Boheme (later Cafe Pistache) in Merida, but the image above is another digital fake. Once again I invited my friends to visit my newly redesigned website Indochine Photography.
These are simply creative ways to self-promote and market my photography, and they were never meant to seriously deceive. Selling my work “retail” via my website allows me to enjoy a greater percentage of the profits (it also allows me to keep my prices reasonable). Selling through a gallery is typically a 50/50 split between the gallery and the artist, and you are often forced to inflate your prices just to make a few dollars.
This is the business side of photography. Today it’s all about being an “Indie” artist, whether it’s writing, painting, photography or some other creative endeavor. Agents, publishers and galleries only want you after you’re established, and then they jump on the bandwagon to garner the lion’s share of the profits. No thank you. I much prefer marketing my own brand and my own work, although it does take a significant amount of effort and business acumen. Creating my art satisfies the artistic side of the “success equation” and managing the business satisfies the other half of the equation.
Many artists, most in fact, don’t have a clue about the business aspect of selling their art. They hate that part, and end up giving away their hard work for free (or for peanuts). But the truth is: If you don’t value your own work no one else will either. My Fine Art prints are not cheap, but I feel the prices are reasonable considering what goes into them (sixty-plus years of experience, professional level equipment, artistic processing, worldwide locations and a visual story). A thirty-year career in banking has prepared me for the business of photography, sixty-one years creating my art has prepared me for the artistry of photography.
If you are a creative person, and you want to be financially compensated for it, you will have to self-promote. There is no way around it in this day and age. Few artists are discovered. If you write, if you paint or take beautiful photographs, the “Indie” road to success is really your only viable option. If you’re waiting for the publishers, galleries and agents to come knocking at your door you’re going to have a long wait. If you create your art simply for the pleasure of doing it that is totally fine, but if you wish to make a living doing it that is a different story. It is hard work.
Indochine Photography – Established 2009
Expat Journal – Established 2011
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler