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Monday, May 3, 2010

MG3Media: Arts to Entrepreneurs - Pt. 3

Photographers sharing their business approach to the Arts - Three Part Series

As a photographer, how would you further describe yourself as an entrepreneur? 

In a profession that changes its business model as fast as its technology evolves, the key is adaptability.  The change to a digital process forced us to create new business models and on it goes.  With the flood of new providers you have to work hard to separate yourself from the crowd.  In the end, the task is the same for the photographer as for any creative professional, your business depends on the quality of your work, the reputation you build and your marketing. 

How would you describe your style of photography? 
I try to understand what the client wants and what they need to express with the shots.  I like to work close in, and use light and lenses to build vision and romance the product.   Generally, I want the shots to define things in a way that enhances the project vision.  I'm a fool for color but can also go very sparse and clean.

Do you have a few images you can share with us? 
Here are three new pictures to share.  I have ridden motorcycles since I was a kid, and have recently begun to photograph them.  My vision is for clean, honest looks at the bikes, as well as the folks who create and own them.  I want to shoot all kinds of bikes, anything interesting on two wheels and especially by Bay Area owners and builders.  
"My goal is to have the photography express the passion that 'intention of design' conveys in textures and shapes of what I see as rolling art."
Here are three examples.

*Photographs Courtesy of Richard Tauber. All Rights Reserved. 
 Did you go to school to learn photography, or are you self-taught?
 I am a self taught shooter, worked my way up through retail camera sales and pro-photo labs, then finally went out on my own shooting jobs.  I basically was amazed by the light in San Francisco and wanted to figure out how to capture its moods.  That led me to street photography, grabbing the fleeting moment, then into the studio where what you learned from available light could be emulated and augmented to suit the mood. 

As an artist, do you think it is important to have "good business sense", and what specific steps have you taken to insure your business success?
There are two aspects of my business, the commercial side and the art side.  On the commercial side you have to continuously recreate yourself to stay alive in this fast changing environment.  On the art side I do it by whim, shooting and printing new looks with things that inspire me, putting them out there and seeing if the art public likes them.  I have been lucky that clients have been very loyal and send me referrals, but nothing lasts forever -- so you need to prospect all the time.  My wife and I have run the business as a team.  She has done a great job booking and billing clients which has freed me up to concentrate on the technical and aesthetic side of my craft.
How do you balance the artistic and business requirements of your work?
I find that when I go into a new creative area to explore new ways to use light and lenses, that seems to directly impact my commercial work.  New inspiration influences your thinking and you find ways to use that for all your clients.  That in turn creates a natural balance, and is the most exciting part of the game for me.

Here is a very rare British BSA which was the "Birmingham Small Arms" company.  This flat tracker  was repurposed into a "bobber."

"Its so cute and tiny, and spindly that I had to use a really long lens to compress the form into a comprehensible rendering.   Feels like I'm hitting some kind of groove here.  The builder made it for his wife a charming business professional who rides it like she was escaping from a bank robbery!"

 Photographs Courtesy of Richard Tauber.  All Rights Reserved.

Did  you or do you currently have a mentor that guides your business growth? 
Because I am an older shooter 'from way back in the dinosaur film days,' who has evolved into high-end digital, I look to young folks to help lead me into the future.  I am working to understand and adopt new ways of doing things as they emerge, to see how they might be incorporated into my work paths.  I also pick up hints of styles of communication and presentation and then just try them out to see if they work.  I first realized the power of photography from a book titled "The Family Of Man."  It taught me that the photo was so much more than a mere record, that captured moments run deep.  For commercial work, you can look to and learn from every published work around the world.

What inspires your work most? 
Inspiration comes from everywhere; it can be music, flowers, light, literature, the visual arts, anything.  When you feel something inside, you find a way to express that.  I communicate my feeling by doing compositions with light and lenses. If I'm doing a product shot I'm going for a feeling.  It can be that the product is simple and easy to use, or that it is sleek and sophisticated, or expensive and nearly unattainable.  Even if you are taking a shot of a screwdriver, you can find a new truth to the way it is rendered in the photo, a way that speaks with an authenticity that cannot be mistaken. 

I had the opportunity to photograph a very interesting Harley, a 1949 Panhead Chopper by a guy called Art Reale who besides building this wonderful piece of functional art, is also a furniture maker.  So naturally, he added a couple of tasty wood touches.

*Photographs Courtesy of Richard Tauber.  All Rights Reserved.

  ". . . there is something compelling in the way these machines speak emotionally to us through their sculptural forms and using day light seems to be the best way I have found to express that essence."

You can check out the gallery at:

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your work? 

This shows my commercial work and some of my artwork:
This shows primarily my art work:
Is there anything you'd like to add?
I am happy to share my passion for pictures, and want to thank people for taking the time to take a look.  And of course, if there are folks who have interesting cycles, I would love to hear from them and see them over at the studio for photography. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with MG3Media Business Insights readers.

Key Take Aways
* Entrepreneurs must learn to adapt: business models change and technology will continue to evolve.
*Entrepreneurs understand balance: attend to the required administrative functions, but maintain a spirit of curiosity and continual learning to remain informed and viable.
*Entrepreneurs learn and create dynamically: evaluate not only your own vision, but the work of those that have come before you.  You can gain a great deal by studying that which is all around you.

Entrepreneurs Sharing Tips & Insights!

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