Part I ‘Van Gogh died broke didn’t he?’
When I first started out or actually, mores to the point when I repeatedly failed to start out; I and the small clique of friends that called Crouch End our new home, held "getting an agent" as being the Holy Photographic Grail. The attainment of which, would grant us access to a world of constant work, a welcome revenue stream and exposure for our art, dare I say it, possibly even the coffee table trophy formally known as; “A book”.
A great deal of time was spent bemoaning our collective lack of success and condemning anyone who seemed to have grasped the challis.
We seethed at photographers who got out of college and only minutes later were shooting a big campaign and we knew it that it was down to their retched agents which we all agreed they only "got" because they had; cool hair and, kissed people on both cheeks. Two things that we knew set them apart from us and labeled them sell-outs and us as righteous, if perhaps a little nerdy.
We bad-vibed them. All of them, and their skinny jeans. And all their shiny, skinny, beautiful friends.
We knew there was no justice in the world of commerce. We knew that the best artists would starve in garrets or die of selenium poisoning. Though, away in the privacy of our own insecurities we would all deconstruct with a Becher-like obsession, the all-important concept of engaging in physical contact at that first portfolio meet.
I'm pleased to say that I've never lost this vaguely adolescent clumsiness and have now grown to accept it. So understanding that I would never have really cool hair or be able to pull off a convincing Euro air-kiss, I turned the focus of my attention away from the “getting” an agent and towards working out exactly what it was that they did and how. More importantly, if I might in fact be able to do it for myself.
As such when someone asks me now how to get an agent, I tell them three things;
1: to hang out with cooler people,
2: grow their hair and
3: shake hands like a Frenchman.
Not really. I’d say, come back, and we'll tell you how Van Gogh could have repped himself better.