The Freelance Hustle, Pandemic-Style

I delivered a talk this weekend on the subject of landing jobs, negotiating contracts, and getting paid to a crowded house at the Northern Exposure photojournalism conference in Minneapolis, hosted by the University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism.

The conference was originally meant to be held live on the U of M campus. But like everything else academic, it was moved online for the sake of social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The audience was packed with photographers from around the world — and, thanks to Zoom — I now have a recording to share with you and my students.

By David Bowman VIII

I grew up in Chicagoland, studied writing in Madison, trekked across the Australian outback on a camel, and settled down in the Twin Cities after that. One of the first people I met in Minnesota was fashion photographer Richard Avedon. He was giving a talk to students at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and I asked him what advice he might give a struggling artist. Avedon responded, “Start working.” So I did, ultimately shooting portraits for commercial and editorial clients like Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Target, Johnson & Johnson, Ford Motor Co, Disney, and Dwell. In time, I earned my MFA, and was named Best Of ASMP by the American Society of Media Photographers.