On my fist army camp when I was 17 or 18, I was ordered to paint the last post after a platoon inspection. Fortunately I was wise to this nonsense having been forewarned.
It’s time I made some changes.
I’ve enjoyed sending out these newsletters but it’s time for me to stall a while. Open rates have hovered around 50% with little interaction on the blog itself. This makes it difficult to get a sense of where to go with it without feedback.
My instagram audience is growing and interaction there is increasing. I’ve been enjoying conversations there in fact. Same with Twitter.
Facebook can gobble up too much time so I’ve already lessened my involvement there.
The newsletter format is very popular amongst documentary photographers who work on long form projects with copious research. But in the street photography community, it’s Instagram, Twitter and personal websites that matter. And YouTube to some extent.
Instagram was updated recently making it a much better platform for computers now. When using my phone I scroll through work very quickly, as we all do. It’s difficult to fully appreciate work on such a tiny screen. But on a laptop or desktop screen, I slow down, study, read, interact and learn. Since this upgrade others have appeared to linger longer and interact more with my posts.
But there’s something missing from all the online scrolling and that’s tangibility.
With a photograph properly realised in physical form, it can be truly appreciated.
With this is mind, I have set up a subscription of just £85 per year for a monthly, handcrafted photo book/zine of work made in the previous month. This will allow me to bulk order materials, keep costs down and continue to make work.
The best street photography, by seasoned experts, contributes to the visual historical record of our era for future generations to appreciate and study. And with more and more women practicing across the world, it is an even truer representation of our time than lots of other media which is so often stage managed and filtered through editorial biases.
Unfortunately, these days, it is difficult for photographers to earn a stable income. There are fewer staff positions and commissions available. And yet with the internet and many other innovations, there are copious opportunities for photographers to adapt, support themselves and fund new work. This is what I am endeavouring to do.
I’m not comfortable asking for patronage or donations. Patreon didn’t work for me. Substact doesn’t either. Not really.
I want to produce work of value that people will want to invest in and collect. That is what Passerby is all about. I understand now that this approach has been forming in my mind for some time. I know of only one photographer, who is also an artist and filmmaker, who is doing similar and to great effect. She makes gorgeous work every month for her growing audience.
Passerby will be of similar dimensions to my Pandemic Constitutional book but with fewer pages.
If I land a staff job in photography, or coaching swimmers again, or whatever, I will continue to produce Passerby. I have to. Everything I’ve been doing over the last few years has led to this. It will be my thing. And I will do it well. With word of mouth it could develop in all sorts of ways. But first I must begin. I already have material for the first issue but November is not over and there may be more photographs to be made.
So if you like good photography and want to appreciate it off the screen, hold it in your hands and pass it around, please consider an annual subscription to Passerby (working title). There’ll also be discounts on prints, future books and other photo paraphernalia.
I will keep this contact list intact and send very occasional emails - links that may be of interest. That sort of thing.
If you’d prefer I not do so, please unsubscribe from this newsletter.
Thank you for reading this blog/newsletter over the last couple of years. Thank you for buying my books and prints. Thanks for commissioning me to make photography and video for you. Or for whatever reason you have come to receive this. I hope I can continue to enjoy your company and support as I embark on this next stage.