AFTER STAFF :: Resources for former staffers

The first big collaborative project I organized on RESOLVE was AFTER STAFF, five days of posts drawing together a range of advice and resources for photographers leaving staff positions and moving to self-employment.

An image that ran in AFTER STAFF from David Leeson, whose career provides an incredible example for photographers exploring new mediums and models. (I also like it as a metaphor for throwing yourself into a new paradigm.)

Besides putting up several posts a day interviewing photographers who had moved from staff photojournalism to commercial, fine art, editorial, and more, we also ran “Expert of the Day” posts where an expert would answer real-time questions in the comments of the post.

This is also where I started to really wrap my brain around the concept of crowd-sourcing. Because most people had made the staff-to-freelance transition so recently, no one really wanted to speak up as an expert. So instead, I asked 30+ photographers the same few questions, about how they felt when they left, what they’re doing now, and lessons they’ve learned.

I collected their answers in a series of posts that not only provide useful insights for photographers in similar situations, but also show all photographers making that transition that they’re not alone — something many struggled with as they left the camaraderie of the newsroom.

Unfortunately, organizing and editing that amount of content on my own almost killed me, and I couldn’t possibly have done it without the help of contributing editor Emily Miller. The Future of Photobooks project was a vast improvement because I had a dedicated collaborator (Andy Adams from FlakPhoto) and asked bloggers to publish on their own platforms.