10 minutes with Corey Hendrickson
When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
It’s funny because I can clearly recall the specific point in time when this decision occurred. It was spring in 2001 and I was living in a cabin outside of Jackson WY. The previous two summers had been spent fighting forest fire and I was looking forward to something different, mainly having a summer not ‘on-call’ and not breathing smoke. A good friend of mine came through town on his way back east and we sat out on the deck one evening philosophizing about life goals and dreams. I don’t recall the exact words, but I definitely remember coming quickly to the unanimous decision that being a photographer was the ultimate job. That said, I was also lucky to have had a great high school photography instructor and grew up with my mom’s light table on the kitchen counter. She was an avid photographer at one time, and still refers to herself as my “editor”.
I posted about one of your promos a few months back, it was a shot of a stack of books and the picture was really gorgeous, people would walk by and ask who shot it. Then you sent me some books that you had made of your work which were so terrific. What do you find to be the most effective way of getting your work out there?
To be honest I have been trying every way I can think of, which includes email, direct mail, promo books, juried shows, and portfolio reviews. There are so many opinions, sometimes quite strong, about the ‘best’ way to promote yourself, it can be psychologically and financially challenging. However, I love book format and hope that sharing work in this manner communicates both the images and my interpretation of them. I am always asking people what their preferences are, what sort of promos they keep and what has moved them recently… hearing that you enjoyed my card completely made my day.
What do you love most about being a photographer, and what do you find to be the hardest part of the job?
I love how working with a camera gets me out into the world, investigating, seeing, talking to people, slowing down, driving like a maniac, observing and recording. That and getting the film back… It’s a high and nothing compares. I shoot a lot of digital and its great, but nothing beats having an actual, physical artifact. And holding it up to the windshield on the way home.
Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?
I feel part of this group, but I have recently learned the value of taking the time and energy to write a legit business plan. I am amazed that I went so long without one, and sleep better now that I have one. There are a lot of free business resources out there and I think its important to get as much feedback as possible on your model, especially from people outside of the field. It is at times a struggle, but I simply cant imagine doing anything else.
(Corey is based in VT & MA, see more of his work, here)