Photography at Art Festivals

This year I have participated in several art festivals, and I’ve noticed there are always multiple photographers selling their work at these events. Some photographers lament the competition, but I have no problem with it.

Every photographer is different. We all have different styles and different chosen subjects. Even when the general subject is the same, for example landscape photography, there can be vast differences between artists.

A typical art festival booth setup I use

At the Big Bear Lake Artwalk Festival in July, my booth was directly opposite another photographer’s booth. We are both landscape photographers, but we are very different artists. The color pallets we choose are different. He composes his photographs in completely different ways from the way I compose mine. Our subject matter is different. Not only is the style of our work different, but how we present it is also different. I mat and frame my work. Most of his work was printed on canvas and presented in a gallery wrap format.

This is the wonderful thing about fine art photography. Everybody makes something unique and different from everybody else. Think about this: if you put ten photographers at the edge of the Grand Canyon, give them each a camera, and tell them to make a photograph, you’re going to get ten very different photographs. Most will be of the Grand Canyon, but not necessarily all of them. The photographs of the canyon will all be different. This simple example demonstrates that photography is as much about the person taking the photograph as about the subject, perhaps even more so in artistic photography. It’s about the choices we make and the vision we communicate, not just the subject of the photograph.

Pima Point Panorama, Grand Canyon National Park

My vision is different from everyone else’s vision, and my photographs uniquely reflect and communicate my vision. So when you buy one of my photographs, you’re buying into me, my ideas, and my way of experiencing the world. If my vision and experience resonate with you, you will enjoy my photography that much more.

If I were the only photographer at an art festival, would I sell more pieces? Probably. But despite all the competition at these art festivals--or really because of it--there is a benefit to me. I know that when someone buys a piece from me, they buy it because they truly love it and/or my work in general. I’m not the only game in town, but they chose to buy from me. In other words, my customers are more valuable and meaningful to me because they value my work and me above other artists and their work.

Thanks for taking an interest in my photography. I hope you identify with the unique perspective and vision I bring to my work, and I hope to see you at future art festivals!