Week 5 – reflection (2/2)

Listening to Steve Macleod and Kate O’Neill of Metro Imaging (and the Old Girl’s Club) has been very rewarding for me.

I am passionate about developing Cornwall’s photographic scene in some way, making it accessible to all and it was refreshing to hear these predominantly London-based individuals saying that it is not essential to move to England’s capital city to have a successful career and network.

Having lived in London on two separate occasions, it’s a place I don’t mind visiting once in awhile but I’m a coastal girl at heart and firmly rooted to the south west now.

It was particularly interesting to hear about Lens Think Yorkshire, which started this year to provide a social meet-up for photographers to share ideas and develop photography in the region. And Document Scotland, set up by four Scottish photographers and doing what it says on the tin – documenting Scotland.

When I first started ShutterPod, myself and business partner at the time, trialled running social meet ups. This is something I may well go back to as part of my future plans.

It was also reassuring to hear them say that you don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at networking. Most people think I am an extrovert; as a former journalist I’m happy to chat to people and I’ve given presentations and spoken to groups on numerous work occasions. But when it comes to putting my own work on the line I can get really anxious.

At my exhibition earlier this year (commissioned by Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Environmental Science Institute (ESI) of Exeter University) I had to talk to the room about my work – I know at one point I lost my train of thought but I always try to keep myself calm by simply telling myself that those in front of me are on my side; what’s a few tripped over words among friends (and acquaintances)?

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Me in the pink top talking to researchers from the ESI

One of the main comments in this discussion was about fear and how that can stop people the most. I have been guilty of that but at the same time I have always believed “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. By that I don’t mean simply trying to get something out of someone else but not being afraid to go for what you want.

I got my first two photography jobs by calling photographers and talking to them about the potential to work as their assistants. I retrained as a journalist in my 30s. I still do PR work because of networking.

I am now going to up my networking in person and nurture my online contacts – let’s see where it leads.

References

Online:

The Old Girl’s Club. Available at: http://theoldgirlsclub.uk/

Metro Imaging. Available at: https://metroimaging.co.uk/