Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We Have Readers

That's right Chase the Lighter's... this blog is being read by discriminating photographers across this great land. And... while none of them appear to be hot gals with studly pool boys, I have received a flurry of emails from several readers inquiring about the possibilities of moving to and establishing photographic careers in paradise. All have so far offered their services as assistants, certainly a well-trod and respectable way of getting a foot in the door. Still... the reality remains that Hawaii, like everywhere else these days, is in the grip of an economic downturn. You regular readers will know that I have been lamenting this sad state of affairs since the closure of Aloha Airlines. 

And... while I hate to crush anyones dreams of leaving it all behind to go troppo, the first thing one must consider when pondering the pursuit of such a dream is that moving to the islands is first and foremost a lifestyle choice... certainly not a career decision. Given the limited marketplace here, the overabundance of both skilled photographers and entry level GWC's (Guys With Cameras), the lack of photographic resources (equipment supply houses, labs, service bureaus, etc.) and cost of living, one's ability to establish themselves as commercial and/or editorial photographers in Hawaii often means working other jobs and doing whatever is possible just to hold on for the minimum 3-5 years it takes to build industry relationships that eventually lead to sustaining assignments.

Anyone in this business knows well that our major US markets lie in places like NY, LA, Chicago and other urban cities far removed from the islands. That said, it doesn't mean that establishing a photographic career here is impossible. Hawaii does hold many opportunities for us. For one... we have a HUGE publishing industry directed at island visitors. There are island guides for dining & for activities both in print & online and all in need of imagery. There are city Magazines like Honolulu and Modern Luxury Hawaii, Airline In-Flight Magazines... there is always a need for good stock imagery for mainland publishing art buyers. There are also annual reports as well as a limited amount of catalog work for Hawaii based companies. And, as in all locales, new publishing and marketing strategies needing quality images are constantly emerging.

Still, building relationships is the key to survival here. Building these relationships takes time & money to market yourself. Anyone planning on arriving here with the intent of immediately thriving as a photographer had better plan on arriving with a return ticket home.

OK... now that I have dashed your dreams, let me take a moment to thank all the readers out there... those who have contacted me as a result of stumbling across this blog and those of you that read & lurk. It's nice to know you're out there.

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