It is becoming more evident to me, the longer I am in this business, that it has become more of a marketing game than that of talent for those wishing to succeed in any “Artistic” venture.
I am reminded, that in the last decade and even more so prior to it, if you wanted to get an assignment for a magazine or an Ad Campaign, you had to always pass through the Art Director or Creative Director. Once doing so and if the response was positive, you would be introduced to the Fashion Editor on that particular assignment or the traffic coordinator at the ad agency. You basically were hired because you either had talent, or your work had been seen in a competing magazine or on some billboard and you thoroughly impressed the Art Director or who ever turned you on to them to call you in. So either way, someone recognized your talent. In that environment the score would be closer to Talent-93 Marketing-7. Not taking into consideration a great agent.
Today, in most cases, the Art Director has been assigned a more pragmatic and cursory role as a layout artist for the major magazines out there. More often than not the decision for hiring the photographer is in the hands of the Fashion Stylist and Editor. That condition has changed “the scene” dynamic dramatically and as a result the criteria for choosing talent has changed. It is not only talent that matters, but the celebrity or top model that was used in the image, as well as the recognized Fashion Designer that is featured as well. If you do not have any of these key ingredients, in most cases, it doesn’t matter how incredible your image is, it may be passed over due to that glaring over sight.
As a result of this new dynamic, what is more important than ever is NOT talent, (which I believe has taken a back seat role in this scenario) and given rise to the importance of Marketing. Now that in it’s own right is another form of creative talent that must be taken in to consideration as well especially when embarking in this or any of the other Media oriented forms of expression. I am not saying that talent does not count. What I am saying is that talent has been re-calibrated so to speak to reflect the social landscape of our culture. Thus, talent is not only equated by the perceived beauty of the imagery, music or art form but by the way, it has been marketed. The marketing has become an integral part of the art form, thus the art form.
So the next time you observe an image in VOGUE, Harper’s BAZAAR, ELLE, Marie Claire, Numero Magazine, or whatever and say to yourself, “I could have done that…” Just be reminded, that you probably could have. So what’s the problem then? I suggest you go ahead. But just remember, that having Talent is only around 10% of the formula. The rest is a highly guarded secret.
Update: A must is Instagram presence as well as all of the other major platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It has become so important, that models are often booked by how many followers they have rather than their looks. The same applies to photographers and all of the other supporting cast of the team.
So what’s the score? I’ll give you a play by play update as it comes in. But the gap is widening and as of now, it is Marketing-93 Talent-7…What a Game!