Round table – interview with Steve Macleod and Kate O’Neill from Metro Imaging

This interview concerned crucial dos and don’ts surrounding networking. Some of them may appear obvious – but often the obvious passes us by and we need to be reminded – certainly I do!

Key points which I consider relevant to my own emerging practice:

  • Work out your place in partnerships
  • Strike up conversations with like-minded people –  if you have something in common you can help each other
  • Often graduates shift location after University and therefore lose all their networks. Is it necessary to relocate?
  • Go to gallery private views, join things and build up networking that way
  • Initiate something, for example Sophie Gerrard set up Document Scotland.
  • Make the work speak for itself. Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, there are ways of communication. Social media / emailing is great if you’re an introvert!
  • Do not make excuses not to network – otherwise you are stopping your own career from developing
  • Be tactical when choosing your own network. There is no point in bombarding lots of galleries – they all have a niche and know where their market is. Find a gallery where you can imagine your work being exhibited, sign up for newsletters, private viewings and other events
  • It is a relatively small industry and your work starts to become validated when other people start talking about it
  • Consider how you come across to other people. Would people want to work with you? It’s a people industry  – do you come recommended?
  • Think of ways of connecting with people in the industry (eg curators) – don’t bombard with emails, be creative in your approach
  • Portfolio reviews. A lot of people don’t know how to present themselves, or what questions to ask. Be open minded, and be prepared. Be sure to know who you’re going – which is to receive constructive criticism. You’re likely to be contradicted – remember that this is a good thing! Portfolios can be a mixture of projects, even single photos
  • Have conviction in your own work and know your strengths. Having a fear of failing is natural – failure (and rejection) is part of life. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen?” (This is already my motto!
  • Take care not to let your own stress and deadlines affect other people