Back in early October I wrote an article about seizing opportunity where ever it arises, in this case the beginning of Occupy Philadelphia, titled Opportunity in the Streets. I really didn’t know what business I might get out of that but I am happy to say that those images and thousands I took at the occupy encampment has led to other shoots and events that I was only able to get because I was there.
Through meeting people at Occupy I have gotten events, portrait shoots and a number of other gigs that have kept me very busy over the 56 days that the movement occupied Dilworth Plaza in from of City Hall in Philadelphia. So in a sense I guess I am indebted to the people there and the movement too. But how did a political demonstration/movement/evolution really give me chances to get work?
Networking. Yeah that buzz word we have all been hearing for the last 10-15 years, networking. In November 2010 (All This Networking. Now What?) and December of 2010 (Where Does Networking End?) I spoke about not having expectations and not wanting to get but to give. In the last 8 weeks I thought about wanting to get the shots but mostly I was there to give; give my time, my support, food, whatever. That is how I treat people; I try to give whenever I can.
That is how I treat my clients too; I try to give as much as I can. I try to promise what is needed and give more than I promised. Sometimes that is a number of images, or the size of the prints; it always is giving my all to my clients. I give all I have and more if physically possible. The people I met at occupy noticed this and recommended me to anyone that needed a photographer.
That is how they referred me to the Steel Workers Union for whom I did a rally in Marcus Hook, PA last month. They wanted me to shoot their event and get them a few shots to get the “feel of the event.” What I delivered was the customary shots of those who went on a march from the union hall to a local park, and of course I got images of the keynote speakers too. I also took the time to get the kids paying in the park, the face painting, the food being prepared, the people dancing, the drum corps, and as much as I could capture. They wanted the feel of the event and I wanted to capture it all. I wanted them to have a visual memory that matched each person’s experience.
It is all about networking. if it is done at a networking event put on by your local chamber of commerce, a networking group that meets every week or month, or even the local Occupy protest (or eviction), you need to get out there and meet people and let them know who you are and what you are about.
I am about quality images: ones that capture your memories or ones that tell a story.