Josh Redman is a fulltime freelance photographer with a previous life as a sculptor. He’s been into photography for four years, and producing work for advertising clients such as Compare The Market, Nationwide, Adidas and others, as well as personal work, for which he recently won the John Kobal New Work Award as part of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
What new product, service, business system or project are you introducing to your practice and why?
I was recently approached by a songwriter who gave me a brief to simply use my own eye to create some interesting photos of him for his new album artwork. The only real request was that the photos had to be taken in his hometown and some of them to be suitable for generic promo. A week ago I had a similar request from an actor who simply wanted me to use my eye to create something more interesting than the usual actors head shot. The results were great, and something I could be proud of, as I was able to bring my own sensibilities into the pictures. These are quite different from my usual commissions, which tend to be tightly visualised before I’m even approached. I’m going to start contacting people who might be able to help me get more work like this, as I found it really refreshing to have that kind of freedom on a job. I like more strict commissions as well, but to do a combination of the two would be ideal for me.
What was the main motivation behind your application to the LCN programme?
I’m just a bit of a magpie when it comes to learning, and saw that the LCN had a wide variety of great talks and workshops, and because I haven’t done a photography degree, I thought it would be interesting to be part of some kind of educational scheme. And it’s been great so far.
What is the most useful advice or tips you’ve been given on the programme so far?
I’ll admit it – I’m not very good at promoting myself. I very rarely send out email newsletters and I don’t do mailouts. I very occasionally put something on Instagram. Raffaela Lepanto’s Marketing Workflow For Photographers Workshop was a revelation because she helped to emphasise the importance of extremely personal marketing, i.e. deciding who you want to contact and contacting them. Seems obvious right? But if you’ve only got so many spare hours in a month, it’s less obvious that simply contacting individuals is more important than sending big email campaigns. Realistically you only need to get to know a few of the right people to expand your client base, so being politely engaged with those who you care about rather than spammy to thousands makes total sense, and is surely more personally rewarding at the same time. Another revelation for me was Almudena Romero’s Wet Plate Collodion Workshop. I was a sculptor in ceramics for many years before I took up photography, and for me photography was a way of getting away from producing permanent physical objects through resource-heavy processes. But it reignited my love for the drama of producing a tangible thing, where the process itself becomes part of the richness of the final piece. Even if I don’t end up using tintypes in my own practice, just having been part of that workshop has given me a deeper regard for physical analogue photography.
What plans do you have after participating with LCN?
I’m a working photographer, so after LCN I expect to carry on producing both commissions and personal work. The difference is that I have been given some new insights, have met some great people and I feel more confident in getting involved with the huge range of talks and workshops that London has to offer. Before LCN I only really attended the talks that I was invited to talk at, but now I realise how valuable these resources are for me. Of course we can all research what we want on the internet, but real time social interaction with other passionate artists makes all the difference.