We're coming up to the first deadline for submissions to Graduate Photography Online, so we are delighted to announce a new opportunity for graduate photographers that take part this year. Source has teamed up with a leading photographic agency to offer the Making Pictures Award.
The award is open to all students taking part in Source Graduate Photography Online. It offers three months' representation and mentoring: showcasing and promoting an emerging artist, offering portfolio, professional and creative development alongside an introduction to the commercial world.
Making Pictures is an important agency representing a number of photographers and working with many well known brands. The current issue of Source includes a portfolio by Niall O'Brien (image above from images for Simone Rocha collection).
To find out more about the award we spoke to Lu Bowan from Making Pictures.
John Duncan: why does Making Pictures do the MP award?
Lu Bowan: it’s about bridging that gap between graduating and professional photographic practice. Whilst the degree courses are absolutely fantastic, in my experience there is a grey area and many photographers that I meet finish their courses without the essential knowledge of what they can do next – or an awareness of the commercial field, what the options are or how to approach agents and to market themselves. A driven individual can have a successful commercial career which allows them to create photographic works and explore ideas on an ongoing basis without having to rely simply on external funding or grants.
We wanted to create a resource which partners with varying organisations each year, which allowed us to share our collective knowledge and expertise. Through mentoring we hope to support the winners as we would any of our represented artists – this includes starting off with the creation of a portfolio, understanding briefs and how to create treatments, production and the process involved in the creation of commercial work. The end goal is for each individual to leave with strong foundations to kick start a fruitful career. We stay in touch with all of our award winners, the aftercare is there too.
John Duncan: What does commercial representation mean?
To have an agent in many ways isn't dissimilar to the having a gallery but with a different market. We sell photography. When you have commercial representation you enter a partnership with your agent/agency – we want to connect our photographers to the commercial field with industry creatives, share incredible imagery, find creative opportunities to pursue and plant the seeds for our talent to be considered for future projects. We market, we promote, we sell, we negotiate, we produce, we support, we develop, we translate, we edit.
It is a very close relationship between agent and photographer, to be a support isn’t just about getting commercial work and making money. It’s about growing together over the years and trying to get them really interesting projects and collaborations. It is an industry of collaboration. The right representation can help enrich an artist's career, the development from my side is very much about constantly moving forwards and evolving.
John Duncan: What will you be looking for when you go through the graduate work, in terms of trying to find somebody you can work with?
Initially it will be somebody that really jumps out. Somebody that is distinctive. They may be exploring something that I haven’t seen, or in a different way. Storytelling and narrative translate very well in this industry so it is really good to see people present this. Is there an energy to the work? Interaction and portraiture are also very interesting to me, there are many areas in the commercial field in terms of photographic styles – I will have this in the back of my mind – the main thing is to see strong ideas and visual aesthetic and narrative.
Look out for more information in the coming days when we speak to Marco Kesseler, who won the Award last year, about the development of his career since leaving college.
[post updated 18/4/15]