How does photojournalism work in this fast-paced, digital life? How do you earn an income? And what does showcasing your work at exhibitions do for you as photographer?
I have mixed feelings about shooting photographs for the sake of being first to report on it. The work that has inspired me the most is by photographers who have been working on long-term projects. So I prefer to work on a long-term project and to fund this by editorial projects. I shoot for media platforms that focus on Georgia, but most of my income comes from writing and shooting for travel publications. It might just be me, but things seem to go wrong a lot while travelling and some of them make for good columns in hindsight. I remember sitting in the docks in a court in Kazakhstan after being arrested on some trumped up charges, thinking “if I don’t end up in a Kazakh jail, I’ll be damned if I don’t write a column about this”. I ended up writing several columns because getting out of jail in Kazakhstan is expensive.
Aside from showing your work, exhibitions open doors. Through promoting the event, you get to promote yourself as a photographer. So while not everyone can attend the event, there’s potential for plenty of people to become familiar with your work through interviews and profiles on media platforms as you and your gallery promote the exhibition. Crucially, it also means another line on your CV which gives your more street cred when schmoozing other galleries and convincing them to display your work.