[When I changed careers to venture into photography, I had to learn everything from scratch. I was an engineer by training and even after three years working as a management consultant (a job in which you must always seem like you have an answer to everything to reassure your client), I had a tremendous amount of learning to do when I decided to go-it-alone as an artist and photographer.
Things I had to learn were as varied as photography technique or a different type of client management and business development (the most obvious) to perhaps less obvious aspects such as vision, how to define my own positioning and how to nurture my creative and personal energies, which are equally crucial in aligning one’s efforts with a truly personal approach.
This “engineer & photographer” stream of articles is an attempt to share what I learned and how I went about it. I hope you gain useful knowledge and ideas out of it.]
In 2011 I reached out to Chase Jarvis, as I had been immensely inspired by his approach of doing commercial photography in a truly entrepreneurial way.
I had chosen the sports/adventure commercial photography segment in order to get work (and also continue projects such as Climate Heroes which, I knew, would take long before taking off) and was eager to meet Chase. He was based in Seattle but had lived in Paris, so he understood the client culture in both continents. I had also wanted to tap into both markets since I had studied at Columbia University for my Master’s degree a few years before, and had loved the open, direct and sky-is-the-limit approach of doing business in North America.
After exchanging a couple of emails with Scott, Chase’s trusted assistant and partner-in-crime at that time, we realized it would be very difficult to have our schedules coïncide either in Europe or Seattle, not mentioning planning ahead enough so that I could book a plane ticket without spending an insane amount of money on a last-minute flight.
I therefore decided to make it happen and wrote again right after New Year’s Eve.
I offered to visit them in Seattle, as I guessed the post-holiday season and beginning of the new year would be a quiet time for everyone, and tickets were cheap as no ones wants to fly right after the holiday season. I booked my ticket from Paris to Seattle and went to visit the city for a week in early January. I came to the studio to meet the crew, whom I had been in touch with for some time, and Chase. That talk and the great dinner that followed with Chase and his wife Kate were amazing for me, and gave me so much confidence and validation about what I was doing (finally I had met a photographer who thought like me that one could, even should, be an entrepreneur too). I am super thankful for this time, as well as for making amazing friends on that occasion.
Watch the video below to hear more about what I learned and how this has helped me push my work and work relationships as an artist and photographer!
How do you feel about being an artist AND an entrepreneur? Is it the way to go in your own experience?