Sustainable Prospects Week 11 / by Chris Chucas

Felicity McCabe talked about the connectivity and fluid nature of the photographic industry, and after listening to her talk, one the main things I took away from it ,was to not overly stress about specific plans and timelines with things. Coming from a really successful commercial and personal project photographer that means a lot to me.

“You know, if you are a landscape photographer you might be traipsing through some ex-Soviet area, wondering what you are doing there, but in two years’ time that might get you the job that you are going to love doing, because the ideal is to get commissions doing the things that you like doing, otherwise what’s the point?” -Felicity McCabe

Also I think everything that comes from your own mind... so if you think all of your projects are like strands, but if it comes from the same brain, it’s basically every single thing that I do is all one big project. Like if you look back at Irvin Pen, you are not going to quibble if you are going to put a portrait next to a cigarette book, because it feels like it’s from the same brain. “ -Felicity McCabe

When Felicity talked about her career path from going to college and then assisting people in London  she always seems to talk about feeling right and being confident. I especially like the way that she borrows from other art forms like painting. I can see similarities in how she draws upon these non-photography mediums for inspiration, I do this with my own work and drawing from music, both the music and the lyric’s involved have a massive influence on my work I feel. as mentioned in previous posts I like to keep busy and from the previous discussions especially Francesca, Amy Simmons, and others, keeping busy with personal work is important.

The Decline of Editorial but it’s ok…

Although a lot of photographers industry are sad to see the steep decline in editorial work with the fall of print-based media I also think these huge exciting possibilities for us as artists to thrive in this new landscape. This new digital age is making a lot more accessible and easy to connect with people, I’ve heard so many amazing conversations with photographers through the small voice podcast and find it really inspiring and motivating to keep working. As I near the end of this module I think that I’ve learned the most from it compared to others so far this course. It’s been a great help to speak to industry professionals and has given me a boost in confidence (not that I felt particularly lacking in confidence),  I’m glad that I’ve been slightly slower to network and promote myself in the higher commercial markets. I feel that throughout this module I’ve constantly been engaging with the materials provided and has formulated more concrete roadmap for me moving forward.

“There’s this thing of like, I think sometimes people can be a bit nervous about like ‘oh but I shot this in this project, and I shot this in this project, so they can’t go together’ – it’s your work, you make up the rules, do what you want to do." - Felicity McCabe

This is mainly feel at ease especially with the various micro-projects that I have running over a long period of time will not exactly sure the product but just shooting them anyway. It hasn’t changed my actions I was always going to shoot them anyway but hearing established industry people talk about it as a positive thing and a healthy thing, and potentially something that can turn into work in the future is definitely nice to hear.


“The personal project is not only an essential form of personal creative growth, it has also become the most important element of a professional photographer’s client-facing persona for that very reason. The personal project can be whatever you want it to be. It can take whatever form you want it to take. You can work on as many projects at one time as you choose. It can be showcased however you want it to be shown, and it can take as long or as short a period of time that you want it to take to complete. The options are endless but whatever you decide to create, it has to be personal to you by definition; it has to be something that is important to you creatively and intellectually. The personal project is an undertaking that you will have to work on for free and that will take a lot of your time, effort, and possibly investment, so you need to ensure before you begin that you are fully committed to the project you are considering.

-“The Power of the Personal Project-The New Global Landscape Explained, Grant Scott. Taylor and Francis

The personal project is one not to be avoided, dismissed, or ignored. Since the dawn of the digital revolution it has become the lifeblood pumping around the body of the global network of photographic commissions, competitions, exhibitions, and festivals. Personal work is what commissioners want to see, and it is the work that I see most often; it is therefore almost impossible to choose one image to demonstrate the power that a well-constructed and developed project can have for the photographer who creates it. However, a photographer based in the United Kingdom created a project that has received international acclaim and is worthy of discussion.

-“The Power of the Personal Project-The New Global Landscape Explained, Grant Scott. Taylor and Francis

The key takeaway points that I'm going to concentrate on for the immediate future

  • producing a handful of micro-projects with a quick turnaround

  • focusing on a newsletter and PDFs to new clients

  • dedicating a small part of the week to doing these tasks and having a reading list of grants available called submission and networking events

I’ve decided to keep the format of my shooting project fairly similar to the way that I have been also take some inspiration from artists like Spencer Murphy and Felicity McCabe, I hope to look at the commercial editorial work and integrate small elements of it into experimental bits of my project.

As for producing work this week I made it out to Newport to shoot a show with 3 bands there.