There are many different kids of art. Because it is a versatile genre that is based almost entirely on the iumagination and desires of the artist, there have been debates for as long as history has recorded about what constitutes true art and what does not. But in the end, it is a personal question that only people can answer in relation to what they think themselves.
For me, art is anything that challenges. Whether it is challenging the viewer or challenging yourself as the artist, the content and focus is as unimportant as the medium used. That is why I absolutely love art contests, as they stretch the dedication and abilities of the contestant. It forces them to work to improve, and that is an important element for growth.
Today we will talk about self portrait contests and how they can be used to promote and market the artist who takes part in them. I will discuss specifically contest that are on Flickr, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular photo sharing websites.
The below contests are great chances for you to market yourself while improving your art form.
If you want a real, extended challenge, this one is for you. 365 Days is exactly what it sounds like: Every day for an entire year you will take a self portrait. Now, you might have seen finished products that are similar on YouTube and other sites. But the point here is not just to take a plain photo of your face…this is an art contest.
You want to take something worthwhile and improve on each shot as you go along. You can track the progression of those who have already started on the challenge on their site and you will see what I mean. There are some breathtaking shots that have really pushed the boundaries of what it means to do a self-portrait photo.
Taking a picture with a high-quality Nikon or similar is one thing. But does the quality of the camera really change the results? Can you get as good of a shot on a low-end digital camera? What about a disposable? This group takes that question a step further and challenges people to take good, unique and creative self-portraits using a cell phone camera.
That means that any filters, apps or tricks that can be used on a cell phone are fair game, but it has to be a mobile shot. There are some truly great pictures on this group, which is as much as testament of the wonders of today’s technology as it is the ingenuity of the artists.
Is the idea of 365 photos a little much for you to handle? If you know you won’t make it but would like to at least try a decent challenge, this one might be for you. Instead of an entire year, they ask for you to take 52 weeks worth of self-portraits, and keep track of them in the groups. They want you to try to keep them in order but it isn’t mandatory, giving more flexibility to those who just won’t have the time, energy or patience for the larger challenge.
Still too much, thinking of 52 weeks? This one might be more your speed. Twice a month you take a self-portrait and upload it to the group. This one is getting a lot of attention, as I would venture to say most people like photo challenges but are not looking to spend so much time that it interferes with the rest of their photography – not to mention clogging up their Flickr streams.
One issue you might come across when you look into these other groups is that not all of them are that great when it comes to the shots themselves. In particular, the bigger group will have their share of good shots but will also have a huge number of rather boring shots that are just an excuse to post a picture of a face. This group asks for only the best that have been creatively set up or altered. The second you get on you see the difference, because if it isn’t labeled as artistic it will be removed. No boring face shots here!
Marketing With Flickr Groups
You might be saying to yourself, “Yeah, that is pretty good but how can this help to market me?” The answer is pretty simple: by showing off your skills. Obviously, just posting any boring and uncreative shot of you making the same face at the camera for a year won’t do much of anything. But posting regular self-portraits of you doing dramatic poses, inflecting some humor, using costumes or telling a story – anything creative, in other words – will show people what you can do.
Getting your work out there and showing off your best is ultimately what marketing is about and so is showing consistency and talent. So get started today and put your best face forward – literally.