Viewers’ Value

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5


img_4104-2-e1529305367573.jpgFigures 1, 2

The gallery created a profile and pricing handout, figs 1, 2 to give to viewers (using the novelty of grey paper to complement the concrete work).  Pleasingly this assisted in asale at the first weekend of a limited edition print.

I attended the gallery on the open days following the launch to show people around.  I also spent an hour talking to the camera to create a short movie in 4 parts introducing my background the approach to the body of work and the 3 media used.  This was done with Jaanika Okk of Okk Arts as we will use it to promote a selection of my work with a new contract, fig 3.

IMG_3945Figure 3


Images Philip Singleton via iPhone


Gallery Preliminary

Installation Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5


Figures 1, 2

Following the success of my image transfer technique I packed my bags to have a meeting at Argentea Gallery with Jennie Anderson the owner.  I was armed with A2 prints, my concrete tablet, laptop with Madmapper loaded and a digital projector.

Medium One : Concrete

The first discussion was about the concrete tablet as a form.  The sample pair of images have an excess of film which we agreed under certain light is too obvious; however, my planned trials would trim potentially all excess film, leaving only the print and a margin of concrete.

We looked at how the sample tablet appeared under the pool of lighting, figures 1 and 2.  We had a long discussion about whether a ‘free-standing’ piece to support the planned series of tablets would work in the centre of the space.  We agreed to look at Ikea ‘postcard’ shelving on supports, plinths and wall mounts.  The latter is problematic as the walls cannot be significantly drilled into as they are tanked as it is a basement.  We agreed that the track lighting can be adjusted to create a pool of light in the middle of the space as a viable option.

We chose perhaps slightly prematurely, to discuss the value of the tablets, highlighting the uncertainty as to whether each piece is unique, as it is handmade concrete with a hand-mounted decal print, but, conversely, as the print is perfected each piece, assuming the same print file, would look very similar.  I have four sizes to contend with too.  Add to this the lack of being an ‘established artist’ and the work being effectively a student project, it may devalue the work or at least not elevate it. The other factor in the midst of this discussion is the wish on the gallerist’s and my own part to have a commercial angle.  We concluded that the age-old maxim applies, price too high and risk selling none or very few; price too low and one’s work may never be regarded as valuable in the future.  It is a topic I shall return to, also when I have done the maths on the gallery’s commission basis.


Figures 3, 4

Medium Two : Prints

The valuation of prints is a more established methodology and my editions of three each (regardless of size) have achieved sales in the last year between £300-600, framed.  We agreed that I would list out my limited edition frames print values.

I have a set of 6 prints (c-type on Kodak Endura paper) dry mounted, masked and framed with museum glass at A2 size, plus the mask/frame combination.  I took two of these to my meeting as a sample of this set.  Despite thinking and visualising dimensionally, I have yet to model the various medium onto the Sketchup drawing.  Hence, I was slightly surprised at how little wall space one A2 print consumed, fig 3.  We did usefully rehearse how the left-hand wall (on entry) could take 5 hung prints then the primary one from the set would be on an adjacent wall, fig 4 as the focal point upon entry into the space from the spiral stair in one corner.  It is likely to be the Roundhouse image shown here as it acts intriguingly at macro and micro viewing distances.  I was pleased with this decision.

The black frames and masks work very well on the mid-tone grey gallery walls.

We briefly talked about one or possibly two images I intend printing, unframed, that would provide the viewer with the opportunity to ‘extend’ the feeling of depth in the space.  These will be 2m high paper prints.



Figure 5



Figure 6

Medium Three : Projection

The final test was centred on demonstrating the principles of Mapmapper software.  I had preloaded two of my images – from the recent Great Hampton Street shoot, that Jennie had not seen; both showing light through and onto surfaces, thus I felt most appropriate for projection.  We mounted both the laptop and projector in one corner of the space, fig 6, and projected onto the walls in the opposite corner, fig 7.  I was able to demonstrate that the images could be manipulated on the screen to appear in the correct ratio as shot and meeting at the corner line of the walls.  This went down well.

We discussed which corner should be projected from, as I was concerned that the source beam, and thus glare of the projector, should not be the first thing you see as you enter the space.  The walls are a mid-tone grey, but the brightness of the projector overcame what I was thinking may cause a dulling colour cast to the images.  I was achieving the transformative strategy I envisaged.

The lights can be turned off in this space and it is suitably dark, thus maximising the impact of projected images.  Fig 8 shows the views into the projection space from the principal space.

Jennie was concerned about security and locating the laptop/projector driver in a safe place.


Figure 7


Figure 8


Overall I was pleased with this preliminary test of the three main media techniques. We discussed the potential for a short edition, hand-crafted zine and Jennie suggested that each cover be unique, thus emphasising the specialness of such an object.  She confirmed that she can execute card transactions on site.

Action Plan

I need to achieve the following;

1 To refine the concrete decal process to minimise film and work with the other, larger sized tablets.

2 To design a display solution from the options available for tablet display

3 A final edit of the prints from the set of six, and agree with the gallery.

4 Attach the hanging system to the rear of each frame.

5 To undertake further Madmapper tutorials and edit a stream of images

6 Develop the zine design for discussion at next gallery meeting

7 Consider laptop security during the show.

8 Find a source for printing 2m high paper prints.

What am I Worth?

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects.  Week 8.


Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 08.19.29Figure 1, Broadgate

This week we are set a test task – to think through and create an estimate for commercial work to the following client’s brief;

A small communications agency contacts you and would like you to give them an estimate. They are re-branding Broadgate, an area in London, and need 25 images to use for printed materials, social media, web, tube ads and potentially billboards. The license term is five years. They think you can do the shoot in two days.

Remember to think about which market we are dealing with here, and what that means in terms of your daily rate. Also remember to think about the following:

• Do you need to hire lighting equipment? Or a location? Or a studio?

• Do you need to bring an assistant?

• Are you able to do all the post production, or do you need a retoucher to do it? Either way, how much will that cost?

• Do you need to charge for production? If yes, how much will that be?

• Are there travel costs?

My Response;

The outcomes were shared amongst peers and tutors and the final outturn budgets varied by almost a factor of 10!  This flagged a cautionary note in my mind and begged the question where would I pitch the figures working from a provincial UK city.  I suspect there are three main sections to value and description here underpinned by contractual specifics.  As follows;

Firstly value – deciding on what day rate (8 hours per day) for oneself and any assistants needed.  In Birmingham commercial rates for this kind of work vary between £500-£800 (these have been established this month via two discussions with commercial photographers, both well established, although one noted that “advertising work can be worth more” – which tends to exceed £1,000).  I would pitch my worth at say £750.  Assistants are averaging £250 per day.  These rates are for the shoot; post production time is valued at a lower rate by clients.  I had one conversation with a London based photographer who said “agents would be bidding for this sort of work and telling their photographers what the package costs would be and you would be left making the most of a meagre fee”, so there is a reality check!  One would hope that any agent’s reputation is reliant upon supporting and understanding their photographic rosters.  As a footnote, being evidently clear on the date rate and the number of days will be hyper important as I have know too many jobs and projects where a ceiling is placed on the charge and the day rate is then effectively diluted by the actual time consumed.  My peers are estimating 2-4 days for shooting with assistants and 2 plus days post shoot work which I would deem about the right range.  I would also comment that having worked on the client side of commissioning various contracts that I would not allow estimates, I would always seek fixed quotations with very specific exceptions.

Secondly, by description, I mean to breakdown the process and management of the shoot (which is effectively an event in its own right) – e.g. travel, equipment, accommodation, subsistence, permit costs, post-production expectations, ongoing support post conclusion, usage rates, etc.  In my other life it can be helpful to guide a client through these items to show the process and to a degree manage expectations, though I acknowledge in this case that the appointed client agency will be experienced and thus know these parameters and their typical costs.  Exclusions should be itemised here too, such as model management if that applies.

Thirdly, terms and conditions, for example the contractual specifics such as payment terms (for example payment of costs on commission ahead of accrual), cancellation fees, indemnities, instances, rights on both sides, etc.  At present my business is not VAT registered (which also casts a value impression into the client’s mind, defining turnover at below £83,000 at current levels).

Practice Reality Check

I presently may not anticipate doing this category of work, however it is clear that there is a real appetite to cross-fertilise types of photographers from commercial into art and vice versa, so one simply never knows if a call may come.  If that were to happen to me I would seek advice from AOP resources (see below) and perhaps seek to work through an experienced agency.  Meanwhile, I have offered to be on the ‘crew’ in commercial shoots locally, so watch this space.



The Association of Photographers (AOP)