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Professional Contexts Blog

How to Show Your Work (lectutre 3)

Developing a career in photography requires getting your work out there and showing it to people. At the beginning of the module, I said that pushing my work into the faces of others made me a little uncomfortable and I was not sure how to do this, but this lecture made me feel more positive about it and gave me a better understanding about how to do it.

The ways in which you show your work would depend on what stage you are at in your career, I am hopeful that when I show people my work when I am out of university that they will approach my work as a graduate in a different way than they would approach the work of an established photographer. However, it is still important to show my work well and go above what the expectations of a graduate would be.

The ways of showing work are always changing and evolving, with technology being the main factor. It's much easier now to self publish a book or have their own website, so the standards of these are also increasing alongside the accessibility.

Seeing Cian Oba-Smith’s portfolio that is viewed by commercial brands, I thought was quite interesting because it is made of his personal work that is very narrative driven. I thought that I should be ruling out doing commercial work because my work focuses more on narrative, when in fact the kind of style that my photography is may appeal to a brand.

Exhibiting work is very much dependant on location, budget and the type of work. In some cases, the output may be more obvious and other times may need more thought and the development of creative ideas. The presentation of the work should be reflective and cohesive of the work itself.

Ways of getting your work seen can be your online presence, entering competitions, keeping in contact with others in the industry and self-publishing your work. I have recently been more active in posting on my instagram for photography and have noticed how far frequently liking other peoples posts, sharing their work to your story, leaving a comment etc can get you noticed and remembered. Equally posting frequently yourself as your name will be one that people see often on your news feed and will subconsciously remember.

At the moment, I have thinking about trying to show my final major project. Due to the nature of the work, it may be interesting to those in the local area who have an interest into railways. The project centres around the Churnet Valley Railway line, so an ideal location I thought would be inside of one of the station stops. Because of how the stations are, I would not be able to hang work on the wall, so would need something freestanding to hold my photographs. I will explore the logistics of this further but as the train line will not be opening until the end of June, I have some time to plan this. I will look into the possibilities of getting some funding for the free-standing screens or whatever I use, but if the costs are not too high, I would cover the costs myself as I think that it would be a great opportunity to show my work in a highly relevant location at a low cost.

I have included these lecture slides as in the future, they will be so useful to use as a guide for the time and cost it will take to show work in a certain way, in order to make decisions.

For me, seeing these points in a grid form was easier to understand and make comparisons than an idea maze would be. It is also really important to document the outcomes of these decisions you make. These include:

Exhibitions solo and group ones (in chronological order)

Projects completed (starting with the final major project)

Your own published writings & critiques

Any writing you have done or others have done about you

Published work


Books/zines published (or self-published)

Educational history (BA and onwards)

Artists statement

Awards/grants/residencies (in chronological order)

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