Some quick updates on my Assignment 3, the case study on a photographic industry role.

As per my last post on this, I chose to focus on the role of the practicing photographic artist.

Participants

I contacted five photographers who all agreed to take part. Three have already responded, two to an email interview and one that did a phone interview with me. The other two have been chased up, although I may have sufficient content from the first three if they don’t get back to me in reasonable time.

I won’t reveal the names of the photographers here as I did tell them that I would only reference them in the final essay itself, but to give an idea of the breadth of practices:

  • an abstract art photographer with a workshop / education focus
  • a commercial (mainly music industry) photographer with a strong personal practice
  • a landscape photographer with a number of photography-related income streams
  • a social documentary photographer focusing on working class communities
  • a landscape/documentary photographer with a long-term body of work centred on her own rural community

Case study focus

My original idea was to look at the practicing photographer ‘in the round’, as in various aspects of the role. However, this is too large a subject for a 2000-word paper. Also, from the first two interviews a strong thread came though that interested me enough for me to decide to focus down on it: the balance of the professional and the personal work.

I believe that focusing on this aspect and going in deeper is a better use of the word count, and – being selfish – it is the part of the discussions I’ve had that I’ve found most enlightening and potentially useful for my own practice going forward.

The proposed title is:

The Profession and the Practice:
Successfully combining the commercial and creative sides of photography

Structure

I did a first draft of the essay in advance of a peer study group meeting a couple of weeks ago, after I’d done the first two interviews. The format I chose for the draft was three mini case studies, two of which I actually wrote up and one that I left as placeholder text.

However, I had good feedback from another student (thanks Selina) that the structure might work better if I divided it into sections by subject matter and wove in examples and quotes from different photographers through the subject sections. I agree: doing it this way gives me more word count to play with, as the first draft had too much intro text per photographer and too much repetition of similar kinds of content over the three sections.

In the second draft I moved to the subject-driven structure, and moved the biographical info per photographer to an appendix. The headings I’m currently working with are:

  • Workload mix: photographic vs non-photographic
  • Workload mix: professional vs personal
  • Strategies on managing the balance

Next steps

I’m about to start a third draft to incorporate content from the third photographer interview.

After that I will determine whether I need additional quotes or whether I have a reasonably rounded essay with the current participants.