Saturday, January 18, 2014

Inspiration: Joel Robison

For 2014 I'd like to introduce a feature called "Inspiration".  My hope is that it will promote a creative buzz or energy that might prove beneficial to your art work.  The source of inspiration will most likely come from a variety of artistic venues but also include perhaps the most unlikely origin.  It's basically my attempt to be open-minded and become more aware of the possibilities and potential of the unknown.

The focus of this Inspiration is Joel Robison and his successful journey as a conceptual photographer.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Differentiation: What's YOUR Brand?

I found myself this past summer and fall immersed in numerous books about brands; that is "branding" my photography business.  A long term advocate of building one's brand I felt however that I was missing the mark and I wasn't getting my message across.  Forget about the logo, trademark, slogan or tagline, I had lost my vision and needed to return to basics once again. My ability to spread my creative endeavors across multiple photographic specialities was diluting my brand so nothing stood out.  This resulted in the inability to have a good "elevator speech"; the quick version of what it is exactly I did and offered.

Ultimately it's been proven that successful brands are more than just product, they are the emotional connection that engages the audience and promotes loyalty.  Cultivating words of wisdom from these several books I gradually narrowed my focus that led me to clearly re-define my specialization or core competency.  This all came about by some fairly simple questions:

@2014, Joanne Scherf

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. What differentiates you from everyone else?
  4. Why does it matter?

Although it sounds counterintuitive, narrowing one's focus does not narrow the opportunity.  This tunnel vision identified exactly what I do, what's different and why people want it.  Other than reflection, I went to my Google Analytics and stats acquired from my website, Facebook business page and sales inventory to establish what people were connecting with and ultimately purchasing.  The combination of inner reflection about what I enjoy capturing and creating, plus the hard stats of undeniable numbers that clearly identified my "best sellers" in both "click-on" hits and cash sales I was able to define my exact niche.  

So basically I re-discovered and focused my specialty: Contemplative and metaphorical landscape photography for healing, meditation and hospitality environments.  My images explore the possibilities, engage the soul and escape reality; they are images that transcend. I provide personalized customer service with in-home and business-site consultations that includes image installation, interior art consulting and image rental services.

@2014, Joanne Scherf
So I now begin the year with a clear vision and narrowly defined focus.  I feel confident that I have a true "elevator speech" at the ready when the opportunity arises to explain exactly "what kind of photographer I am".  Word of warning....this simplistic post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to branding.  There's far more homework to be done, but this is a huge first step to your brand identity.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Inspiration from Masters of Photography: Andre Kertesz & Josef Sudek

One of my many sources of inspiration, Hungarian photographer Andre Kertesz

For a more in-depth view into Kertesz"s and Josef Sudek I'm offering this article/link to "From My Window".  It is totally worth the time invested.“from-my-window”-the-late-work-of-andre-kertesz-and-josef-sudek/

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Image of the Month: January 2014

The beginning of the year often finds me in a reflective mood on months past and seeking the potential for future possibilities.  So I think the perfect image is one of my Winter Haiku images because its minimalist quality forces one to calm the mind in a form of meditation.  This series is literally a work in progress as I continue to selectively add to the collection.

Basically the Winter Haiku portfolio is loosely based on Japanese haiku poetry of 5-7-5 aesthetics consisting of 17 or fewer syllables. Typically three lines that do not rhythm form the short poem centered on nature as its subject.  Translating that concept into photography is basically taking nature or landscape images that expresses the oneness with the seasons, winds, seas, and sensations.  It begins with having an open heart and mind to be able to convey two traditional haiku elements:  awareness or the experience of observation, and the feeling of awe and wonder in something occurring everyday.

This particular image was observed on a winter's day walking about seeing remnants of seasons past buried in drifts of winter's cold embrace.  What follows is my attempt at writing a haiku poem and corresponding image of a picnic table lost amidst the white blanket.

One lonely bench
Sits quietly for a visitor
Amidst drifts of winter’s white
               © 2014, Joanne Scherf

Haiku 2
@ 2010, Joanne Scherf