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Like many photojournalists based in the United States, I traveled to Haiti to cover the January 12th earthquake. I came home with an impressive array of photographs, which I believed to be both marketable and worthy of public notice. Yet, like many young photojournalists, I had limited opportunity by which to market my work.

It was a small moment of crisis for me. Were these images of others suffering to become mere fodder for my tweets and Facebook updates? Just another portfolio to be displayed on my website? I immediately decided that I would do to do more than simply allow these images to lay idle on my hard drive. I had to find a way to make a difference, and also advance my career at the same time.


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As photographers, we have all come across interesting characters who have looked like a famous portrait waiting to happen. It could be at the bus stop, a crowded market, the house next door, or in rural Pakistan.

Regardless of where it is, photo ethics call for a personable engagement, conversation, and even permission.  But in situations where a language barrier exists, or strict taboos are in place, a more subtle and indirect approach is required.

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As Cultural Director at Magnum Photos in London, I’ve had a lot of experience of proposing work to venues both in the UK and abroad. Promoting a project for exhibition is aided hugely by a good network of contacts, however, there are also things you can do even if you’re starting out. Following are some points to bear in mind with regards to the process.

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Editor’s note: Dan’s words of advice were featured in liveBooks latest report, “8 Blogging Truths for Creative Professionals.” More of Dan’s honest and heartfelt narratives can be found on his blog at

My earliest memory of writing is from elementary school. In a small, spiral bound notebook, I managed to compile hundreds of pages about a group of mushroom people.

I was convinced of its brilliance. Then I promptly lost the notebook. Note to us all: backup your work. I didn’t write for the next twenty years, but as I began my photography career, something changed in me and writing on a daily basis became a part of my life. But let me be painfully clear. This was not a choice I made. This was something I had to do.

There was something inside of me that needed to come out and photography was not enough, still isn’t enough. I remember my first, adult journal, or diary, or whatever you want to call it. One of those black and white speckled jobs from the supermarket, a “composition book,” I think they call it.

I began to fill them.

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