Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Once Again

Storm clouds between downpours. Metaphor for my experience?

For the second time in less than eight years, I am closing up shop. Back in June of 2016, I started working at Cornell Dairy Extension as part of the Food Science Department of Cornell University. It was part time, temp, admin stuff. Over the past few months the job has grown, the responsibilities have increased, full time work beckoned. In the end, there are just not enough hours in the day. Last month, I decided to close the photography studio. It hadn't been bringing in enough money to justify keeping the lights on. Without a massive push in advertising and marketing, we were stuck in neutral. Working as much as I have been since the New Year, I just didn't have it in me. Nancy and I talked it through, multiple times, until realizing that all of the best aspects of the business were still available to me, but I could jettison the parts that drove me nuts. So I closed the business but retained most of my gear. Some is being slowly sold off... mostly my Nikon gear. I am still shooting, although not nearly as often. I tend to find myself with just my phone in hand at opportune times. I have to say, as much as it pains me, these new iPhones really have killed the compact camera. The images they can create are fantastic... but more importantly, I can edit the images immediately, in that instant... which opens up a whole different level of possibilities.

I expect that the blog will most likely die off since there are precious few who read it during the active stages of the business. See you on Facebook.




Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Closing Time

Not that it should come as a huge surprise to anyone, but the photography world has changed. I have found myself asking how I could change with it over the past seven years. While one could make all sorts of salient arguments about technology or about the ubiquitous smart phones with great cameras... I dont think any of that was to blame. I see very similar issues between my struggles as a potter and as a photographer. At the end of the day, both are businesses. No matter how much talent one might have, running a business is a different sort of talent.

Yesterday I sent out a brief email letting folks know greater details about how they could retrieve any images they might have been wanting to have printed or backed up onto their computer. For seven years I have watched my hard drives fill up faster than I could count. I backed up everything. Then I realized that I had to pay for off-site storage too. Just a cost of doing business.

Bit by bit, I have been looking at those costs of doing business and asking what changes needed to happen in order to keep things afloat. I've taken workshops and classes on business management. What I learned from them is that I needed to focus more on raising prices, finding my niche, educating my niche clientele and putting my energy into making money. I realized that I would rather make art.

To that end, I am stepping away from the business. Closing up shop. I'll still be making images with my cameras, but it wont be a full time venture. I will still do some product photography for artists who are trying to get into better shows and exhibitions. I might do a wedding or two, now and then.... but I am letting go of the idea that just because I enjoy being a photographer that somehow means I have to make a living from it.

Best wishes,
-AS