NY: Mary Virginia Swanson: Marketing Your Photographs


  • Aperture Foundation 547 West 27th St. New York, NY USA

Conceiving, researching, and creating long-term photographic projects is an enormous accomplishment. Sharing the work with the public is the next step.

Join mentor and educator Mary Virginia Swanson for a two-day workshop that will teach photographers to identify appropriate audiences for specific photographic projects and how to effectively reach them.

Swanson will explore a wide range of venues for photography in public, institutional, and private sectors while focusing strongly on learning to “read” their websites for clues to the demographics they reach. She will also discuss the importance of building, rather than buying, a mailing list with well-researched individuals, frequency of contact, and best practices for communication, whether via direct contact or utilizing social media platforms.

On the first day, Swanson will present an overview of the different types of venues as well as various audiences that extend beyond the fine-art market. The second half of the first day is reserved for participants to present their project statements, images, and a description of their desired audience. Swanson will offer suggestions on what additional information or services they could provide to the public, such as lectures, workshops, or other educational components in order to enhance one’s relationship with their audience. She will also advise participants on various audiences they may not be aware of in order to expand and diversify their reach.

On the second day, participants will present revised project statements and a list of venues they are interested in contacting, and share why they seem likely to be appreciative audiences for their work. Participants will also share their websites with the group while Swanson leads a discussion on what elements can be improved upon for clarity of intention. In the afternoon, she will discuss how to conduct project-specific research to develop a larger audience, establish a targeted mailing list, and discuss the language of funding and site-specific proposals.

Mary Virginia Swanson is an author, educator, and advisor who helps artists find the strength in their work, identify appreciative audiences, and present their work in an informed, professional manner. During her career, she has worked in the fine art, documentary, photojournalism, and licensing arenas, having launched an innovative agency to manage licensing rights for artists called “Swanstock” in 1990, and launching her consulting business in 2000. Swanson coauthored with Darius Himes the acclaimed Publish Your Photography Book: Revised & Updated (2014). Swanson is known for staying current in today’s diverse marketplace for photographs. Her current book project is Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs (2017), a major update to her earlier Business of Photography: Principles and Practices (2008) that will guide photographers through the changes taking place in nearly every aspect of our industry, preparing them for new opportunities in today’s photography-rich culture. She is the recipient of numerous honors including the 2015 Honored Educator Award and the 2015 Insight Award from the Society for Photographic Education, the 2014 Susan Carr Award for Education from the American Society for Media Photographers, and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Focus Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography. An active contributor to the photography community, Swanson aids numerous organizations in our industry to provide relevant programming and plan for their future. She is based in Tucson, Arizona, and NYC.