Art School Graduate, Where do I find work?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by ani_sevag, May 29, 2009.

  1. I went to SUNY Purchase college and graduated with a degree in photography. most of my skills rely heavily on traditional dark room practices. I have some experience working with photographers, working both in a studio and on location.
    Essentially i don't know where to start. i've been looking for jobs to work with other artists, but they are all intern positions. I'm fresh out of college and have no idea where to start looking for jobs. can anyone give me some advice?
  2. Most of us washed dishes, drove trucks and did other, similar post graduate work.
  3. Sounds like they didn't do such a good job preparing you!
  4. Well first you could decide on what direction you want to move with your work. Commercial, advertising, portraits, weddings ? Then you could seek out some professional contacts near your area. I'm not sure what you mean by intern positions? I would get my foot in someones door and get some experience. And, do you have some digital training or just traditional, like me.....? I'm just doing some digital now, and it's like learning all over. Anyway get busy marketing yourself and good luck!
  5. The program that taught you these skills should provide some kind of professional counseling. Did you ask your teachers and counsellors about where to go and what to do?
    Even for people with up-to-date digital skills, the job market is lousy, but you might consider going somewhere for some post-graduate work that would get you some digital training.
  6. but you might consider going somewhere for some post-graduate work that would get you some digital training

    Or some business management, or marketing, or other must-have set of skills. That is, presuming you ultimately want to actually run your own business. What do you see yourself actually doing in ten years? What do you want to do... work in a darkroom? Get into freelance retouching? Work on the manufacturing side of the industry? Surely some aspect of the photography industry or the related industries that rely upon it was intriguing to you before you settled on your course of studies?
  7. I mean i have a general interest in the arts not limited to photography. In 10 years? i'd love to own some property with a couple of my friends and have an artist collective/live-in studio space in a small happenin town. Or i want to do something involving the community arts. I'm not THAT interested in being a commercial photographer myself. I don't really intend on being a commercial photographer although i wouldn't mind doing concert/event photography for a magazine or something. OR even assisting other established photographers. but ideally my interest lies in community arts, teaching photography to kids or running an art program somewhere. i wouldn't even mind working for a museum and helping them put shows together.
    my teachers and counselors did nothing really to prepare us for the job market to be honest. I remember asking a teacher what he did after college and he said "you know most of us knew that we would ned up working *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* jobs to help us continue making art." I didn't go to the career development center, which i suppose i should've but i feel like they would tell me the same thing everyone else has. Intern somewhere and hope you get a paid gig.
    I left that school successfully never having taken a beginners digital photography course. each semester it would fill up. my last semester there the class filled up and i was *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* out of luck. I have done some digital work, scanning negs and some color correcting and working even with raw files. but my knowledge is limited.
    when i say intern positions i mean they want you to know how to do everything and pay you absolutely nothing.
    and honestly i have little to no interest in going to grad school. not now at least. If i am gonna pay for another degree i wanna make damn sure i know what the hell it is i wanna do. I already sorta feel like i wasted my time at art school i'm not about to do that again.
  8. After reading your experience, you have some nice potential goals for yourself. You certainly did not waste your time at school and should be proud of your accomplishments and stay positive. The thing now is to start to find places that are doing some of the things you like and set yourself up a simple plan for visiting them, talking to some management there and introducing yourself and asking about employment opportunities that may come available. Also, investigate some professional and art counsels etc. and pursue some contacts also. It's very important to meet different people in the field and promote your cause, then hope that someone is impressed with you and can maybe offer you an opportunity. Again good luck, move foward.
  9. SCL


    Most people start at the bottom of the ladder after undergrad school, even if that means doing a short internship. It gives one a chance to make some contacts in the industry, which is what gets your foot in the door for that interview. Absent that, you just need to knock on a lot more doors and indicate a willingness to do what is necessary to get a foot in the door...which is usually a job which doesn't take advantage of all your learning...but if you show promise, diligence and commitment, everything can turn on a dime and before you know it, you're doing really interesting stuff and the pay is going up as well. Good luck!
  10. Ani, have you worked with your school's placement office? Most have some sort of career center that has job placement, interview and resume assistance, etc. And in addition to washing dishes (as previously mentioned) I painted dog houses, dug ditches, mixed paint and made pizzas.
    A career is never a sprint... it is a marathon. Just keep at it and don't give up.
  11. it


    B.A. = Begin Again
  12. Thanks for all your support i really appreciate it. i feel better today about things. i think part of this transition of graduating is also realizing what my priorities are and understanding the gap that exists between the things i want and the things that i can actually have. hopefully that gap will decrease in size as time goes on.
  13. Aimee: Years ago art schools did not prepare you to make a living. I went to one of the best. What they did, besides giving you the opportunity to teach yourself drawing, art and design, was try to discourage you from doing it professionally, while charging you a fortune to do that. I was a fine art major. Maybe it was differenf in the photography dept., and I hope things are better in that respect today.
  14. It seems to me that some of the electives should be replaced with required life skills...-Aimee
  15. If your ideal job is in community arts and arts education, volunteer work or intern-hunting is probably a good short-term bet (combined with a second, paying job). Funding for those kinds of programs is drying up along with state budgets and corporate bottom lines, so unpaid help will be greatly appreciated and possibly not forgotten when the fiscal spigot turns back on. If you just graduated, the university's career office should still be willing to help you out (the more graduates they "place" somewhere, the better their numbers look).
    Teach America or another federal education program might also be a good start (the feds are certainly spending $$ right now...), and that would give you resume fodder and a paycheck. Going back to school for an education degree might not be a bad idea either - most museum programs are looking for one for their arts for kids programs.
    Or, of course, you could become an art professor, which from the looks of it does not entail giving any career guidance or creating an up-to-date course of studies that includes requirements in the most in-demand skills.......
  16. If you want to teach kids photography, then why not offer classes through your local community centres? I don't know how big your town is, but *usually* there are two or three centres in a medium sized town where you could offer the classes. They usually run one or two days a week for 6 to 8 weeks. The typical methods are to offer the service to the municipality where they would pay you so much an hour, or you can affer it as a contractor, they pay you based on the numbers in the class. You could offer basic, intermediary, and advanced courses for the kids and it'll allow you to determine if that is exactly what you want to be doing. Cancel out at any time at the conclusion of the agreed to time frame.
  17. If you interests lean toward Fine Art, then an MFA is almost a requirement to be taken seriously. And that applies even more to any kind of teaching career.
    Consider yourself lucky, because an MFA is as high as one can go in photography, fine art etc. So you could teach at a University with that with tenure etc and be a "professor" without the need for a Phd.
    If on the other hand you want to shoot weddings, no degree is necessary. By the way, Suny Purchase is a good school. I almost went there. I got my AAS in Fine Art at WCC down the road from you, and am currently doing my MFA online at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
  18. If considering "teaching" at the K-12 levels, there are several things to look into. Credential requirements are getting stiffer. Federal involvement has moved towards standardizing credential requirements and that's been requiring verified (testing and training) subject matter competence and teacher training. Economic changes have put many teachers out of work in some areas. The emphasis on performance to testing has driven many districts to concentrate heavily on mathematics and language arts, and science will be hitting that path soon. Music and fine arts don't have the visibility nor the money attached to them that core subjects do. Social sciences are getting less emphasis as well when the student population isn't making progress in the tested areas.

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