Kara Brodgesell

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club https://www.newspaperclub.com/. I decided on them after diving into the archive of newspaper promo information on your website and was very happy with the results. I especially appreciated the informative samples they sent over before I submitted my order.

Who designed it?
My husband Noah, who works as a public programming director, but his InDesign skills are far superior to mine. We had a number of discussions about what I was hoping to achieve and which businesses should be featured, and then he helped me select the final images and he crafted the layout. I’d wanted to do a promo of this project for a few years and always stalled once it came to deciding how to format it, so his participation was invaluable.

Tell me about the images?
This was the classic personal project in that I pursued it all in my free time because I wanted to be hired to create photographs like this. I also loved having the chance to shoot such a wide variety of types of images. I lived in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco when I shot it, which has a unique patchwork of small businesses and manufacturing. It felt like I was surrounded by people making things and spaces and I wanted to celebrate that. It now also feels like a memorial for businesses that once were, as many have closed or moved out of the area.

How many did you make?

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first one. I’ve been fortunate to be freelancing in the Bay Area for 9 years and I set a bunch of goals in early 2020 about how I wanted to grow my businesses and find new clients – all of my work thus far has been through references. A significant printed promo was a big part of that plan. The shipment arrived in early March and I was going to send them out by the end of the month, and continue with two more over the year. Instead, we went into lockdown days later, everyone is working from home indefinitely, and the box of promos is sitting in the corner of my office. It’s a bit heartbreaking.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’ll let you know! I’ve listened to so many panels, read interviews, and talked to other photographers about how to promote your work and I feel like, in the end, it comes down to: do it all, as much as you can. Social media, emails, printed promos… whatever may keep you in people’s minds. I certainly value printed pieces. I save promos and magazine/newspaper features that I respond to. And I thought that this body of work lent itself better to a newspaper-like format with many spreads, rather than an email or post with just a few small images.

Why did you choose a personal project for a promo?
My favorite way to photograph is to take a documentary approach with minimal equipment, in a place I may never get access to otherwise. This project afforded me that so many times, and it was a great exercise in finding shots quickly in new environments – there were no scout days or pre-production meetings. I’m also deeply grateful to the number of artists and business owners who let me wander around their spaces and ask a lot of questions. It’s one of the many things I’ve missed during this pandemic, not being able to explore and be inspired in this way.

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