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Friday, 31 December 2010

Past and future - some thoughts

New year is always a time of partying and celebration with friends and family. But on a personal and professional level it is also a time of reflection and evaluation; of planning and regrouping; of refreshment and renewed inspiration. And it is in this reflective spirit that we have decided to ask each one of the four Plate to Page workshop presenters to look back at 2010 to tell us what they feel they have achieved; as well as forward at 2011 to share with us some of their goals for the coming year. The week-long series kicks off today with Ilva, the talented photographer behind Lucullian Delights and Ilva Beretta Photography.

As we get closer to the end of a year, I think it can be useful to sit down and take a look at what you have learnt and achieved in the past year, and what you would like to learn and achieve in the coming new year. So that is what I am going to do now.

During this past year and a half, I have been concentrating a lot on promoting my work because I had reached a point where I felt that I had to dare more if I wanted to earn a decent salary from photography. And because nobody knows that you are good at what you are doing if you never show it to them, I decided to invest money in promoting my work more widely. I can tell you that every month my investment has yielded results. Not only have I got smaller jobs but I have also been working with one of the major food chains here in Italy and I have a contract with them for next year. I am part of their new campaign to change their image and because they chose my style of photography, I get to shoot in my way and almost exclusively mood photos, i.e. photos that invite the viewer to buy whatever it is I am shooting. I am not required only to photograph food but other products as well, something that scared me a bit in the beginning. But now I am quite grateful because not only do I learn from doing it, I have also widened my repertoire which is always useful in times like this. But food remains my favourite subject: after all, that is what I am best at. Another positive aspect of this is that I am working with one of the best, if not the best, ad agencies in Italy and that is one hell of a learning experience I can tell you that!

I am also negotiating with two Italian food magazines to team up with them in the future. It pays less but is more satisfying style-wise, if you get what I mean. When you do commercial photography, you obviously still have to think about it in a more commercial way, whereas editorial photography leaves you more space for creative interpretation.

So to sum up 2010 I can say that I have achieved more than I expected, and that I have learnt even more. It’s good to dare because life is lived only once and I’d hate to feel that I didn’t even try to get where I wanted; I have learnt a lot about photography and that I like team work; I have learnt a lot about the practical/financial side of being a photographer; and I have also seen that it is important not to have too much of an ego if you want to get on in this world - some ego yes, but within limits!

But what about 2011 then? I know that I need to keep on promoting myself like I have been doing and my goal is to pick up more jobs and clients so that I have work in 2012 as well. But above all I want to keep on getting better at what I am doing and learn a lot more about photography. And I want to keep on enjoying what I do.

And I am very much looking forward to the Plate To Plate workshop in Weimar in May. I hope to see some of you there!


Keep up the good work... Best wishes for 2011! - @tastour

Really good advice. I always have a hard time promoting myself, but what you said is true, how will people ever like your work if no one knows about it.

Your work is beautiful and inspiring, I wish you continued success in 2011! May the New Year bring you everything you wish for.

Kelly and Sylivie-Thank you both for your kind words! And Sylvie, go for it, I'm definitely not a good self promoter but I force myself and it feels even good to do it when you get some positive response!

I know self promotion doesn't come easily to you Ilva, but you're a wonderful woman, an incredible mentor and all round good human!

So put yourself out there Ilva, as you have a lot to share and impart to people xx

good luck with all your endevours; keep on being an inspiration!

Bra jobbat, Ilva! Vilken inspiration att läsa ditt inlägg. Jättekul att ditt målmedvetna arbete ger resultat. För det är ju inte så enkelt så att det räcker att vara duktig på att fotografera. Dina bilder är fantastiska men nu har du tagit ett stort stort steg vidare. Lycka till, jag hoppas att du får ett lyckosamt år! Kram/Eva

Congratulations on your 2011 accomplishments, Ilva!
May the New Year surprise you with ever more people recognizing your endeavours and may it be rich in inspiration!

I have always admired your work from afar, following your blog and learning. You have inspired many, and I wish you all the best in 2011.

This is a very inspiring post even for those of us who aren't professional photographers. I, personally, will "dare" myself more in 2011. Thank you!

By the way, I followed the link from Jeanne's (CookSister) tweet!

ilva you have not only been an inspiration to me but a good friend, guiding me to come out of my shell and trust my abilities and creativity. Looking forward to 2011 and realizing more plans!

I am so happy for you Ilve, especially because you deserve it all. Wishing you all the best in everything you take on this year too.

I am so happy for you Ilva, especially because you deserve it all. Wishing you all the best in everything you take on this year too.

It's wonderful to read about your goals Ilva..Wishes for many more to come..I have so much to learn from this!

Dear Ilva, wishing you the very best in all your new ventures.

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