Prior to the last recession, I had seen that glimmer of hope of becoming a very successful photog with my work becoming popular with a LA gallery that sold to celebrities, regular magazine and ad assignments, and a fat Getty check every month, some going over $10k. The glimmering red carpet was pulled out due to a combo of the stock market crash and 9/11. The gallery returned my work in one box without any word, my Getty sales dropped to nearly nothing, and assignments came to a halt. It took me a while to recover, both mentally and in the creative sense. My quirky work of shooting miniature plastic figurines in saturated colored backgrounds wasn't of need anymore, so I had to adjust my focus to pay the mortgage. Ironically, I had become pigeon holed for that type of work. Photo editors were convinced since I shot figurines, that I couldn't shoot real people. Even after I moved on and was shooting travel and landscapes, stock agencies I submitted to told me they didn't need my miniatures, they weren't trendy anymore. At PhotoLucidia last summer in Oregon, those I chose to critique my work told me that my miniatures work was far stronger than the new 'Reflections' images I proudly printed and was hoping to find representation for. A known fine art photographer once told me that it's a 'sick joke' when one becomes famous for a type of work in such a difficult business, then once he/she's burned out on it, everyone wants it.
This year, friends and family are now telling me miniatures are again popular, spotting figurines in magazines, ads, etc. I even received a portfolio request from a local ad agency a month ago for my miniatures work. Like anything, trends are cyclical, the question is whether I'm willing to try it again, or keep plowing forward with my travel and landscape work, that has never been as popular as miniatures?
Posted by Rob Casey - SUP Instructor, Photographer & Guidebook Author at 2:52 PM