Now that I have a final pdf of my book, I have set about writing submission letters (as emails) to photographers to ask them if they might look through it and comment. This is all part of putting the work out there. Besides, informed feedback is invaluable. My project will not be complete for another six months, and suggestions and views now will help me to shape the final result all the better.
I think the key is only to approach photographers with whom I feel an affinity and whose practice I am at least in part familiar with. It is very important to avoid anything that suggests a ‘spray and pray’ approach. I have therefore made only a short list, but of people whose work I really admire. I have also approached my fellow members of Oxford Photographers here, although I do know most of them quite well, as well as a local journalist and a curator. I will be putting the details in my FMP submission.
A great help in composing letters has been Tom Seymour’s Falmouth Lecture on how to pitch one’s work effectively (Seymour 2020). I have largely followed his advice, sticking to the who, when, what, where and why of the matter.
I have also made sure to study each photographer’s work, particularly their recent work, and to check publications like the British Journal of Photography, LensCulture, Source and so forth to see whether they have had any recent articles. I have then said something about their work or an article in each letter. This really matters, I think. It shows that one has taken the trouble to do research and gives a reason that one is approaching this particular person. Thus each letter is different. While this may take more time to prepare, I think that in the long run it will pay dividends. No one likes ‘mass mailings’.
It feels good to have done this and in time I think that most folks will reply, too.
SEYMOUR, Tom. 2020. ‘Creating a Press Campaign and Getting Published’. Falmouth Flexible Photography Hub [online]. Available at: https://recordings.reu1.blindsidenetworks.com/falmouth/44e40a05380d0df14d38c59bed78489db86b1e49-1600865116374/capture/ [accessed 29 Sep 2020].