|Valya - 092612|
I am in a conundrum. To become a better artist and to try to make a living from it I have to promote myself more. I appreciate and understand that, but where is the balance? How much of this exposure is about my product or about my own personal brand? What is the price of branding and exposure?
A friend gave us an beautiful original platinum print a few years ago of a young Mexican woman standing by a fountain in a plaza. That is a definite description of the product and could mean the print is worth a few dollars or a few thousand. With just this description though, I would only pay the lower end of the spectrum.
A friend gave us a beautiful original Edward Weston platinum print of Frida Kahlo. Just that sentence alone increased the photo's value substantially. It has two very powerful names with Edward Weston as the photographer and Frida Kahlo as the subject. It bears both their brands.
When building a personal brand, the creator's personality, accomplishments, failures, challenges, likes and dislikes, and creations are built into the brand. Think about Edward Weston's brand - black and white modern photographer and pioneer of the art, fine-art nude photographer pioneer, lived in the US and Mexico, often took photos of his lovers or had intimate relationships with his models, part of the California photography movement, co-founder of the Group f/64, and so on. He was temperamental, had estranged children, and other personal challenges. All of this has become part of his legend and his brand and helps ensure his art continues to hold or gain value.
Out of all the prints I've sold, I've never heard anyone say, "I own a Sutphin photo." I would probably hear, "I have a great photo of horses and windmills that I bought from this guy in California." Only people that know me personally and know my work have a chance of looking at a photo of mine and being able to identify it by style, content, etc., that it is one of mine. Most others just see the content. My branding is weak in two ways, no one recognizes my name to my art and no one can look at my art and identify it as mine.
|Rocky Mountain Front near Heart Butte, Blackfoot Indian Reservation, Montana - 092612|
It is sad that we can't embrace sexuality, sensuality, and eroticism as an open art form without worrying about fall out from it. I greatly lament this, but it is the reality and I must figure out my niche and how I can exploit it. It's easy for me to think I wont worry about what others think of me, but if I want to grow my brand, I need to be concerned about it's value and appearance as well. As much as I am growing into accepting who I am and trying not to worry what others think, that nagging worry will always be there.