R.J. Kern on Establishing a Fine Art Career

Posted by on Tuesday January 2, 2018 | Business

R.J. Kern, who began his career in 2012 as a wedding photographer, will published his first monograph this spring featuring his exquisite pastoral portraits of sheep and goats. It is one of several personal projects he’s been working on for the past few years. As he worked on those projects, Kern was connecting with other emerging artists for peer critiques and to learn as much as he could about the art photography business. He made some connections as a user group leader for Pictage, the now-defunct online photo storage platform. He also met peers and mentors at industry conferences and portfolio reviews.

“One of my favorite things about portfolio reviews is expanding your peer group, and looking at each other’s work until 1:30 in the morning, critiquing and sequencing and editing, and sharing ideas,” Kern says. He got ideas and advice about everything from building a website and finding a publisher to landing a gallery, structuring limited editions and pricing his work. “These are things that are vital to artists’ careers that they don’t teach you in art school,” he says.

His own toughest challenge was figuring out how to write a good artist’s statement and talk about his work. His peers served as a sounding board, “and helped to fine-tune the message,” he says.

For more about how he transitioned from wedding photography to fine art, see “Career Change: R.J. Kern Moves from Weddings to Fine Art.”

Related:
On Showing Both Commercial & Fine Art Work: Emily Shur’s Advice
PhotoPlus Expo: Building a Career in Fine Art Photography
A Fine Art Approach to Photographing Animals
What I Didn’t Learn in Art School: Life Lessons from Photographers


COMMENTS

MORE POSTS

Quick Tip: A Faster Track to a Career as a Photographer

Posted by on Monday May 14, 2018 | Business

School is out. Lots of photography school graduates are probably asking themselves: Now what? How do I get my career as a photographer started? Assisting is one path, but working as a studio manager is a better apprenticeship, according to photographer Christa Renee. “I always tell everyone not to assist. Find a photographer you respect... More

Quick Tip: Get the Right Insurance (It Could Save You)

Posted by on Tuesday May 1, 2018 | Business

To save money, photographers cut all sorts of corners, especially when they’re starting out. Photographer Christa Renee emphasizes the importance of carrying proper insurance from the start. “There have been a couple jobs recently where I would not have even been able to do the job if I didn’t have insurance,” she says. “Two different... More

Quick Tip: To Survive, Pay Yourself

Posted by on Tuesday March 27, 2018 | Business

Edward Curtis
Edward Curtis self-portrait

Photographer Tomas van Houtryve was recently reminded that financial security doesn’t just take care of itself, even for the most successful photographers. That reminder came while he was reading a biography of renowned 19th century photographer Edward S. Curtis. “Curtis fell into a trap, which many photographers [do],” van Houtryve explains. “He never put in... More