A few months ago, I was asked by a friend to participate in an interview with photographer Dan McDonough.
I was surprised that the interview was scheduled to be conducted by an organization that claims to be “progressive” and that its mission is to “promote a culture of photojournalism.”
I’d been working in the field for about 20 years, and while I was happy to be involved with an organization such as this, I knew that it wouldn’t necessarily be for me.
After my first interview, I sent a few emails to my editor, asking her what the hell I should do to prepare for the next one.
She replied that I should get out and explore my own photography.
After all, there’s no point in sitting around waiting for the right person to ask a question.
I thought, “Wow, I’m going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The truth is, there are a few different ways to make an interview sound good, and the first is to do it in a way that’s “appropriate for the audience.”
If you’re asking for a job or a job interview, don’t be afraid to go into the interview with an attitude that suggests that you have an answer to the question.
Instead of asking about your personal experience, you should be asking about the work you’ve done.
The more people know you, the more likely they will want to hear from you.
You don’t need to give an exact quote, but you should try to sound as casual as possible.
And the more you say, the less likely they are to believe you.
So instead of asking if you’re in the photojournalistic profession, ask what your role is in the society at large.
It might be a role you’ve worked in before, or a role that you’ve been involved in before.
Maybe you’re just a journalist with a love for photography and want to tell stories about people.
Maybe it’s your first job, and you want to share the work that you’re doing.
If it’s a career that’s not in the news, don.
The point is, it doesn’t matter what your background is, as long as you’re willing to share your experiences and tell stories.
Asking a question is one thing; getting a job is quite another.
I’m not going to go out on a limb here, but it’s important to note that this isn’t about asking a question to a specific person, but instead asking a simple question to yourself: What are you going to do?
It’s a good idea to do the same thing you did for your first interview with your editor.
Just ask yourself: Is this something I can do?
And then, if you do decide to do so, think about how you’re going to get the interview.
For example, if the person you’re interviewing is interested in your work and wants to work with you, ask yourself what you can expect out of the interview and what they might expect from you in the long run.
If you don’t think you’ll have a chance to talk about yourself or your work, then don’t do it.
If they’re looking for a personal relationship with you that can be shared, then you might as well keep it to yourself.
What I hope is that this conversation gets you thinking about how your work fits into the larger culture of photography and how your career can grow in that context.
Photo: Dan McLeod / Polygon