We chose to profile these 30 “photographers to watch” based largely on the photographs they submitted to us way back in October 2011. As we learn each year, though, the striking, intriguing and delightful images these women and men produce are the end product of a ton of effort.
It may seem vulgar to some to talk about business while celebrating creative work, but it’s useful to consider that each of these photographers is also an entrepreneur. And as entrepreneurs do, they produce their work by taking substantial risks—personal, financial, creative and otherwise. Chloe Dewe Mathews hitchhiked from China to England in search of ideas. Markel Redondo traveled with migrant workers from Honduras to the U.S. Peter DiCampo worked by flashlight for three years in Ghana and elsewhere. Ryan Pfluger and AnaStasia Rudenko challenged themselves to photograph difficult family relationships. Peter Ash Lee published a magazine. Mark Fisher regularly hangs out of a helicopter.
In addition to taking risks, these photographer-entrepreneurs find the funding they need to act on ideas. They are disciplined in their approaches. They create markets for their work through persistence, rather than letting the market dictate what they do. They seek out advice, take criticism on-board, and learn all they can from teachers, mentors and peers, with whom they collaborate openly. They value their relationships with their clients, and they are a delight to work with.
While you look at, take in and enjoy the photography in the following pages and read about these intrepid entrepreneurs, keep in mind what it takes to open a successful small business in today’s economy. As Mustafah Abdulaziz notes: “Talent only gets you so far.”
To read the PDN's 30 profiles and see examples of their work, click on the gallery link below.
PDN thanks Sony, Adobe and Canson for their support of the PDN's 30 issue and educational programs. American Society of Media Photographers has given a one-year merit membership to each of this year’s 30. The editors would also like to thank all the people who nominated photographers for the 2012 PDN's 30.