Hearing personal experiences from 4 different people at SEA gave me insight into the huge variety of pathways you can take to get where you want to be, as well as how that journey could make you realise a different passion, such as Sarah who moved from practicing photography and assisting into the lesser-known realm of producing. I really enjoyed learning about the behind the scenes work that goes into shoots and working with clients, and I feel this was beneficial for Cluster as we are all individually doing some level of producing in the process of finding new clients and organising photoshoots. I was also in awe of just how perseverant Sarah was in the early stages of her agency. Photography is a very self-driven discipline and I find it can be easy to lose motivation, but seeing how Sarah’s persistence in networking and contacting professionals paid off was really inspiring and has already helped keep me accountable for my goals and moving forward in my practice.
In a similar vein, a lot of what James spoke about really resounded with me and what some of my concerns in the photography industry were. I was surprised to see just how much of his incredible work was unpaid and purely for fun or portfolio purposes. However, as he explained, seeing examples of related past work speaks higher volumes than any ideas you may have for a client, so it’s these unpaid projects that give you a breadth of work to show clients that is more likely to land you a paying job. Since all our work in Cluster is unpaid, hearing this is helpful in encouraging us to still create top-quality images as these could be the basis of bigger things in the future.
This insight from industry professionals was eye-opening and a very valuable experience.