The introduction of smartphones and social media has made it possible to work professionally across national borders with ease. This became even more evident to me one afternoon when, via Instagram, an American photographer traveling in Iceland requested my curatorial services for a project in London.
@shuttergold.me (aka Michael) is a photographer based in Washington DC. He wanted to take photos of iconic London locations for his blog, but due to time restraints, required assistance with location scouting. He advised that he’d arrive in two days and would have a maximum of two hours for the shoot.
No pressure then!
Although I have a wealth of experience working in galleries and with artists, this was a very different type of curatorial project for me. Nevertheless, I got the usual giddy feeling in my tummy when new work comes my way and soon became consumed by the task at hand.
I began my research with “first things first”—who is @shuttergold.me? I trawled through his website and social media pages to better understand his style and aesthetic. It turns out that he is an eccentric young man with dreams of changing the world. He enjoys capturing groovy moments in time which is evidenced by the amazing shots on his website.
Once I had an idea of who I’d be working with, I scheduled a quick call with him in order to get a true grasp of his personality. This would help me plan out locations that could reflect his style. I also wanted to discuss particular aspects of the shoot that would be important to him. The trickiest thing that he mentioned was that he liked to photograph ‘strange angles’.
At the end of the call, I hung up, closed my eyes and said a quick prayer.
I had less than 48 hours to find iconic locations in London for an eccentric American photographer who likes to capture groovy moments and strange angles, with good lighting during a dull autumn afternoon in London.
After a short journal brainstorming session and a few bus rides later, I settled on suggesting Tower Bridge, Brixton or Camden Market (whichever was most convenient to him). All three are iconic to London and ‘groovy’ in their own way and would offer the strange angles which were important to him.
The day was a success—he chose Tower Bridge and Camden Market as locations for the shoot. It was a perfect autumn day: cold with the sun shining brightly. Michael and his fiancee were happy with the locations and took some lovely pictures which he has kindly shared with me.
When I decided to become a Curator of the Arts, I had in my mind that I would be representing artists in galleries and art fairs at home and abroad. I imagined visiting my artists at their studios to discuss and understand their portfolios and future career plans. It never dawned on me that I may be called upon to curate a photoshoot, simply because I didn’t consider photography an interest of mine at the time. However, this project required all of my curatorial expertise. Rather than visiting an artist at his studio, I was working to curate a studio for an artist to visit. I understood the portfolio of my artist through my own research and proactive questioning, and as a result, I provided a seamless and professional service to an international artist from overseas (with a short turnaround time to boot!).
Snapshots from London
Thanks to Michael and his tight deadline, I didn’t have time to overthink the project and decline the request based on my assumed lack of experience in this area. Instead, using my existing skill set, I successfully added another string to my curatorial bow and expanded my portfolio of clients.
Lesson learned: always say YES to new experiences!
If you would like to see more of Michael’s work or book his services, please visit him at www.shuttergold.me or @shuttergold.me on all social media. If you would like to book or discuss my services, please click the ‘contact’ button on the navigation bar.