Trying to sell photos professionally

In previous posts I've been introducing you to my two side-projects KUNST/MITTE and Timelog. Today it's time for the last one. An entirely different one again: Photography.

I've been to university to study photography and was not really able or willing to work as a full-time photographer. Actually many of my fellow students also went to study something else after their diploma, went into photography associated jobs or did something else entirely; like me.

But first I went to Hamburg – the German media city – and wanted to do fashion and people photography. I assisted a couple photographers and soon found out, that this was not anything I wanted to do.

Basically the people you work for want to cut your prices over and over again. You have to work on weekends; sometimes for free. And when you do get a paid photo gig, it's often a photoshopped print-out that you will have to reproduce.

So I decided to work as a web designer and developer, which is much better work; to me. But I still want to make pictures. So after a couple of years in the dark I am slowly returning to creating again. As an artist. Not someone you can hire.

I mostly do landscapes and staged photography. Photographs like this:

See more on my photography website.

The goal

What I like about photography is that you can express ideas and concepts with a single or a series of pictures. It's great work to do.

While I have been selling photographs on the side here and there I want to do this on a regular basis.

The problem

Because I am coming from an academic art background I have a rather strong opinion of what art is. I see fellow artists who do not struggle with this as much as I do. They are very okay with selling things as art, that I would not consider as art. This might go two ways.

One, I want to do pictures that I consider art. But most people, who would be able to buy it, won't see it for what it is (for what I see it). And therefore my pictures probably come across as boring or uninteresting to them. It's a problem of education in reading images. Something we rarely learn nowadays and I would not be able to do without my education.
My take on this is showing two things on a picture. Do what I consider art and offer something for the uneducated viewer, which is mostly attractive women to this point.

Two, I might have to lower my expectations, if I want to sell more photographs.

I hope I can make it via option one. If not, I might not ever go for option two and do it just for me.

What am I working on right now

Currently I am planning more fairy tale interpretations, like the girl with the red cap above. I am also looking for abstract landscapes, I call them surfaces, although they sometimes just look like one.

In January 2017 I was on an extended photo tour to New Zealand, with some really good results; in my opinion. I did this one of Franz-Josef Glacier that shows the melting water coming down from the glacier, which shrinks rapidly.

My pictures often come with a text to help people understanding, what I want to tell: »Sediments turned the Waiho river gray. The river is rising from Franz-Josef Glaciers meltwater. It is only one of countless glaciers around the world, that continiously melt down over the last few hundred years. It is believed, that mankind created a climate change. And so the Waiho river flows towards the sea in just 18km length and and up to a few hundred meters width.«

To me this is everything in a nutshell.

My plan for this year is to do about 5 works and then try to get a gallery to sell my images. Although I don't know how to do the latter.

So this is the end of my introduction round to my side-projects. Keep tabs on me, while I'll be talking about the details in my upcoming posts. Questions? Hit me up on Twitter @karlludwigweise!