Monday, January 05, 2009

Ryan Pyle Blog: Forward to 2009


After enjoying a relaxing and festive holiday season, I'm back at my computer today trying to find direction and purpose for 2009. It's a process that's never easy, and given the rapid deterioration of the publishing industry, this year will stretch the limits of photographers as magazines try to do more with less.

So how does a photographer, like me, who relies on editorial assignments manage in this faltering economy? It clearly won't be easy for anyone to maneuver effectively in this environment. I haven't talked much about how I see my photography career developing or my ideas about how to make a living; but I think my mantra can be summed up in just a few words: "Don't sit on your hands; don't wait for the phone to ring".

What that means exactly is that photographers need to take pictures in order to sell pictures, and need to constantly be fine tuning their skill and vision. So sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring means wasting a whole lot of time. I try to stay working all the time whether on assignment or not. That means basically that I keep a long list of photo stories and projects that I have ready to work on for time between assignments. And I feel this could be the year that this list of mine finally gets a good work out.

How can I fund these personal projects if I am not taking assignments? Well, pictures are my business as well as my passion and my full time job, so I am well versed in how to earn a living from my imagery. I earn a stock income from work I've shot previously, I also have started making my way in to producing fine art black and white work for gallery shows. Beyond that I dabble in corporate photography and one time I worked in a studio and was paid for my work - but it was a little daunting.

I think the key in 2009, for me, will be to pursue topics in China of my own particular interest and hope that I can introduce this work to interested magazines and newspapers as features and stock. I'll continue visiting Xinjiang when I can to continue my black and white work; things should continue on without too much change; though I can't see myself getting too many 4 or 5 day assignments for New York, London or Hamburg anytime in the near future.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that magazines stop folding and the market for images and art continues to grow in these difficult times. If things go all wrong I'm sure I'll be quick to blog about it and try to keep people informed. Until then. Best of luck everyone out there.


Ryan Pyle

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Ryan Pyle