Mary Virginia Swanson: Business of Photography Series

Saturday, February 13, 2016
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Saturday, May 7, 2016
11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., all sessions

Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, N.Y.


To Be Published, or Self-Publish?
Saturday, February 13, 2016, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

In the first installment of Aperture’s Business of Photography series, Mary Virginia Swanson led a richly illustrated seminar for artists who were working toward bringing their projects into book form, and discussed the pros, cons, and considerations for both traditional and self-publishing avenues.

Each workshop participant introduced their work, and Swanson gave advice on next steps, helping students to hone the concept for their project, consider potential audiences, and determine which type of publishing would be best for their individual project.

During lunch, Chris Boot stopped into the workshop to discuss Aperture’s publishing model, and gave students his unique insight into the photobook publishing world.Swanson brought in a curated stack of photobooks, published in all manner of ways, and delved into specific projects as case studies, which were an inspiring resource for production methods and publishing approaches.

Most crucially, Swanson’s expertise surrounding the publishing process from conception through marketing and beyond meant she knew the right questions to ask to help students solidify the goals of their projects, and to give them a sense of direction moving forward. Participants left the workshop with additional resources and exclusive information typically only available to those deeply immersed in the publishing world.

Introduction to Multiple Markets
Saturday, April 23, 2016, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

In the second seminar, Swanson provided an overview of the opportunities for photographers within today’s diverse marketplace and shared the most exciting recent developments for photographers in the growth of new markets for their work.

Whether a fine-art print is shown in a museum or in a corporate office, reproduced as a book cover illustration or featured in product advertising, the value of that photograph is different for each buyer. For each market, Swanson delineated factors to consider, and decisions that photographers need to make as they enter various markets. Swanson walked through stages of a successful creative practice, from the research stage of a project through approaches to marketing, and addressed how photographers can expand their reach by adapting their vocabulary and approach to cater to specific markets and audiences.

Swanson’s insight on various vantage points of the photography market proved invaluable as participants shared their work, and she gave individualized advice as to which markets would suit their photographs.


Your Work, Your Brand
Saturday, May 7, 2016, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

The final installment of Swanson’s Business of Photography series addressed how photographers can effectively present their work in a productive and memorable way.

During this session, participants learned what components contribute to a successful brand, and how combining and integrating print and social media tools can make the strongest first impression with a targeted audience.

Swanson showed examples of successful websites and marketing approaches from practicing photographers, and reviewed participants’ websites while giving targeted advice. Participants left the workshop with an enhanced awareness of their brand identity as a photographer, and with the tools to make meaningful contact with industry professionals.


Mary Virginia Swanson is an author, educator, and consultant who helps artists find the strengths in their work, identify appreciative audiences, and present their work in an informed, professional manner. Her seminars and lectures on marketing opportunities aid photographers in moving their careers to the next level. Swanson is the recipient of the 2013 Focus Lifetime Achievement Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the 2014 Susan Carr Award for Education from the American Society of Media Photographers. The Society for Photographic Education named her the 2015 Honored Educator. Swanson coauthored Publish Your Photography Book (revised edition, 2014) with Darius Himes. Swanson is currently working on a new publication, Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs.


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