FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

Describe the arc of your photography career so far.

Brandon Thibodeaux
Brandon Thibodeaux

I kind of see my photography career akin to how a country uses natural resources for energy, you have some coal, some wind, some hydro, and a lot of oil. With photography for me it's one part editorial, one part corporate advertising, and one part exhibitions.  I began my career as a small time newspaper photographer.  If I had graduated three years earlier than I did in 2006 I most likely would have worked my way up from small to large newspaper.  Fortunately or not that model didn't exist when I got out of school, the newspaper industry turned up side down and suddenly I was forced to go freelance.  I've spent the past 9 years freelancing in some capacity and over time the clients have just gotten bigger, better, and more diverse, thanks to an internship, or going to NY and DC for meetings with prospective clients.  The end goal is essentially to work less and get paid more, thus having sufficient time to work on my personal projects like I am today with When Morning Comes.  That's where the gallery world comes in.  It's been a way for me to have a broader and longer lasting platform for projects where I can talk about my ideas and the subjects that appeal to me.  Whereas in the editorial world that message has a shorter half life upon publication.  My growth in this area has come largely through the connections I've made at the various reviews like Santa Fe, PhotoNola, Photolucida, and FotoFest.  Before those I had literally no idea about what the art world was other than paying admission to see a show at a museum.  These reviews have spawned connections to galleries, museum curators, content generators like Crusade for Art, Fraction, Lenscratch, SXSE, and LPV Magazine, and most importantly a solid base of mentors that have guided me through it all.  What a blessing.

If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?

Again, I kind of see the fine art world being just one part of the greater thing for me, so in that respect I think I'd just be happy with it continuing to foster my growth and offering me avenues to get my work out to a larger audience.  Everyone wants great shows, more print sales, and books, that's a given.  I'm just humbled by having the appreciation I'm experiencing now and hope I can continue to produce work that touches folks.

What are your goals for 2014?

Goals for 2014, hum, as a freelancer the goal for every year is to end with more than you started. The goal is to stay in the black, start some new projects, finish some old ones, and keep my wife happy.