Malcolm Dickson, Gallery Director
Street Level Photoworks
Introducing the Selectors for the BA Phase of Graduate Photography Online 2015: we talk to Malcolm Dickson, Gallery Director at Street Level Photoworks
What is your core role in the job that you do?
As the Director I have the dual roles of programming (curating) a diverse series of exhibitions, events and professional development opportunities, whilst ensuring that these are integrated into the other various function of the organisation - production facilities, for example. I manage the organisation on a daily basis in terms of its public remit, and I also deal with developments.
How do you decide on what makes an interesting photograph or photographic project?
There is no set recipe, anyone can read in a book that tells you the ingredients of what makes a good photograph. Consistency across one body of work; persistence in seeing a project through; experimentation and the ability to speak to a wide audience - ie: pushing at the boundaries, whilst knowing that your work is worth sharing. These are just some of the features that go some way to contributing to good work.
As regards the artist's statement, what is important for you to know about the work?
What inspired the maker to embark on the work/project? What is the process of making it, in terms of conceptual, technical and social application?
What advice would you have for someone interested in working in your area of photography?
Have staying power and don't be despondent at the first rejection - this is part of the process. Get together with other artists who you work well with, organise your own pop up show - make sure you build up a database of the photography galleries, magazines, publishers and newspapers, and ensure they know about your exhibiition. Think about ways of getting your name known. Find out the curatorial priorities of galleries you like, look up their exhibition protocol on respective websites. There are a multitude of ways of making work - there are also a variety of models to look at in terms of getting it out there. Use initiative, find out the right networks to plug into. Go to a portfolio review event once every 18 months - and choose it well.