Bev Copen entered her photo, Sunset of the Century, into our 2010-2011 Online Photography Contest, and, well, she won. Here, the grand-prize winner looks to the future of photography.
What inspired you to get involved in photography?
I lived in Japan for three years, and while I was there I was deeply inspired to show what Japan was really like. As we traveled around Asia, I was captivated by seeing how people lived, played and worked. I have spent several of the past few years creating photo books, exhibits for school kids, and more, to showcase and respond to the increasing need and value in understanding other cultures around the world — and in our own backyard.
How do you think the world of photography will change in the next 5 years?
This is a powerful question. Now that virtually every human on the planet has a cell phone with a camera, the need for specialization in the field of photography has become even more vital. Extraordinary professional photographers will face more and more ordinary men and women who think that their snapshots are “just fine, thank you.” Finding innovative ways to showcase works, and market photographs will be essential — not just in Arizona and the USA, but around the world. Forming professional groups to SUPPORT one another, learning and improving through changing technologies will become even more important. You have to create innovative ways to market and sell your stuff. Taking advanced courses in person and online will be essential to improve not just photography skills, but also marketing, innovations, and distribution. You have to be persistent in adding things that make your material stand out as something different. There are many different, exciting ways to exhibit and sell photography; we just have to find them. As an entrepreneur for most of my life, my motto has always been, “research and find out what your competition is doing and then don’t do that.” Use your creativity and find a fresh, innovative way.
What has been your most difficult experience in the world of photography?
Accepting and doing what I do best, that is unique, and not trying to do a better job of what so many others are doing really well.
~Interview by Daniel Jacka