Careers Night at The Photographers Gallery

Tonight I attended a Careers Night talk at The Photographers Gallery, this had 3 guest speakers who practised in the creative field and had some words of wisdom, personal background and top tips for the audiences keen ears.

Before the speakers started, we were told about opportunities/Exhibitions/Collaborators at the gallery that might be of interest:

  • Sunday workshops, once a month from 2pm-5pm (Can be paid as a facilitator instead).
  • The Social- Bar Night- Shares knowledge with others.
  • Fresh Face + Wild Eyed- Grads work, every year.
  • The gallery will pay you to write reviews, £10 per review
  • Teen Tours- You tour a group at the gallery and will be paid £20

First up was Melanie King, a photographer and artist who had actually studied art and science at University, rather than photography but had slowly integrated herself into the photographic world. King set a world record for the largest cyanotype (crowd funded) which heavily involved numerous helpers and subjects. Picture below shows one of the results of King’s engaging work. King also has an interest in astrology.


The important information I extracted from her talk was as follows:

  • Do not expect opportunities to come to you, King and others had to go out and hire exhibition space. This paid off as she was good getting offers to exhibit her work.
  • But before these offers come through, you will need to show what you can offer in your work by exhibiting and self-promoting.
  • Collaborate Collaborate Collaborate! People learn from each other, swap vital skills and swap contacts which is a definite plus.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no, look out for your own needs.
  • Do no compare yourself to the successes and failures of others.

2nd guest speaker was a truly impressive young man named Alex F Webb, who co-directed a publishing company ‘Fourteen Nineteen’ before he even left school! This was co-directed via online communication and although it has now fizzled out, proves that you can create something impressive through technological information. However, Webb’s tips show important advice on the “labour of love” we will endure:

  • Take opportunities, big or small.
  • Don’t say yes as such to everything, be weary and ask questions.
  • Reach out, make yourself known.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your own work, self-publish by emailing people.
  • ‘cold call’ email to advertise yourself
  • Avoid trends
  • Think about after taking the photo, how you will situate it into a context.
  • Crowd funding through newsletters, emails and word of mouth helps.

An extract of Alex F Webb’s collaborative work ‘Mr.Cad’ is shown below.


3rd speaker was Helen Cammock who is a photographer filmographer, facilitator and formerly a mature student who joined the Photography bandwagon later than most people. She is interested in narrative and spends her time between studio work and facilitating.

What I loved about her talk was how dedicated she sounded, especially as she told us about projects and groups to watch out for such as:

  • Brighton Photo Fringe- Photography Festival
  • Photovoice- Photography Projects
  • Participatory Practise

Cammock also handed out some nifty advice from her years of experience:

  • Allow yourself to grow.
  • Find a way to balance work in your spare time and work you are paid to do.
  • Do some research, such as what things mean (such as participatory practise).
  • Take on voluntary work, but ensure you will actually be doing something.
  • Opportunities don’t fall at your feet.
  • Know and understand why you are interested in a project.
  • Does the project make sense? Question ethics, don’t make assumptions but ask questions.
  • Practise Exhibitions.
  • Find your own space.
  • Know your own work.
  • Enjoy and be true to yourself.

Overal the talks were inspiring and worth attending.


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