What’s happening and three things I know…

Dear art photo friend

Long time, no hear from me! However, let me tell you what’s going on and how I develop my photography.

Iran – more photos, no bombs
Returning from Iran with 3,000 shots, there was quite some work to do on a small selection.
See the first few here. I sense it will be a long-term project – also to do public education to prevent that some ignorant politicians start destroying this fabulous culture and people – more than they already have with their threats and their economic sanctions. I hope to return to Iran rather soon.

TwoWomenMan_PhSh

Two Women, A Child And A Man in Isfahan, Iran 2012 © Jan Oberg

Homepage for Viggo Rivad
I have developed a homepage for my 90-year old mentor, Viggo Rivad, as a small token of my gratitude. In addition to being the Grand Old Man of Danish photography, Rivad ought to be recognized internationally for his remarkable devotion to the art of photography since he took his first picture in 1946. I’m happy I could be the one who provides him with the first decent presence on the Internet and thereby a window of opportunity worldwide. Check it out here – and do write a greeting to him. It will warm his heart and mine! Here’s a post with a little more of my gratitude to Viggo

Thank you, Anders
My old printer died a natural death and I had to search for a new second-hand, better printer. Took three months to find it. My dear friend Anders Jönsson served once again as my adviser and fine-tuned the connections between computer, screen colours and printer and even done hand-made colour profiles. Wow! Thanks a lot, Anders!

The challenging world of international strategic communication and promotion
Thanks to many’s advice and some coaching, I have now embarked on an international strategy. One’s family and friends are wonderful customers from, of course, but you have to broaden your base to make ends meet. If – like me – you have decided to not rely on a gallery owner to promote you, the logical conclusion is clear: You have to do it yourself. Here are some of the elements in this strategic effort:

A home for my works
Here is the new super-modern, interactive homepage for Oberg PhotoGraphics that will be the center of my works and business for the foreseeable future. You have to make a professional and attractive home for your works – and for its visitors – and here are my considerations for anyone in a similar situation. I’ve ploughed my way through tons of reports, articles and other websites before I started out. Tell me if I have anyhow missed something!

New larger blog
That’s where you are now: lots of different types of readings and images, inspiring sites, events and media etc.

Social media
First of all, I’ve established an active presence on Linkedin. A profile only the beginning, what is essential to benefit is to join groups of artists, collectors and curators and communicate about issues of common concern. A mere presence with no communication doesn’t lead you anywhere, and you are not found unless you seek others. It’s as simple as that. In addition I am now close to 1000 one-to-one personal connections. So, I can now reach out to about 200.000 people through Linkedin. Compared to, say, Facebook this is where you interact with more focused, like-minded people and professionals in various related fields.

Facebook is a good place to throw in some pictures and stories and see whether people “Like”, share or comment. Facebook’s new design is very much adapted to posting images. On my Facebook photo page I make announcements about selected works but spend much more time posting art reviews, interviews, videos, exhibitions and brilliant photos about art in general and photo in particular. Why? Because I want to share with whoever is interested out there; because nobody is interested in just hearing about you – unless you also bring something to the table and because it’s such a dynamic world compared to the academic world that also work in. A lot here is positive energy – and I encourage you even if you are not on Facebook to take a look. It’s becoming a kind of small art journal.

On my Twitter account goes everything automatically that I post on Facebook and these months I shall experiment with and see what works on Pinterest and Flickr where I have also taken the first small steps.

Why all this ?
They are all different communities based on different ideas and target groups; each has a variety – often with millions of members – in terms of background, professions and interests. The world is coming together thanks to these technologies. At no costs I can get in touch with a art gallery owner in Shanghai, speak to a photographer in Berlin about our works, problems and methods – or find an editor who may want to use one of my photos for her journal or, or…

The days are gone for the traditional methods: to work hard in your little studio and hope for years in and years out that some wealthy patron, art critique or museum director would knock on your door and “discover” you. You’ve got to know real and virtual doors yourself, particularly when you do not want to be part of a gallery profit-making system that tends to disconnect the link between what is good and what sells because any art today can be marketed as a commodity.

Also, I have spent most of my life working internationally with conflict analysis, mediation and peace-making. Many of my photos are possible thanks to that. So why should I not use a international approach in this field too? It’s highly affordable compared to traditional advertising!

What will it lead to?
I’ve no idea what may come out of all this. Yes, it is indeed hard work and a lot of technology, psychology and marketing strategies to learn. But I tell you I have fun, it’s challenging and creative and brings me in contact with many like-minded people. The name of the game is  sharing and community-building across many divides. It’s synergy – because when you grow, it is thanks to other people who have grown more than you and, in the best of cases, you may inspire others – for instance, someone reading this post.

Three things
Be this as it may, I know three things. First, I do photography to reach out and to communicate with and about the world and peace; I like it a lot as a balance in my life to the rational, academic analysis. I don’t do it to have my prints pile up in the basement; I want people to see and react to my works on my studio or on various Internet platforms.

Secondly, a priori rejecting various new and innovative tools – which by the way are also free or low-cost – is a recipe for failure.

Third, it will take time. And that is OK.

PS – Here is where you can find me. Perhaps this smart electronic business card -  about.me – would also be something for you? See? Sharing again!

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