Success Stories

Telling Stories, Finding Truth

Turning your passion and creativity into a business is a dream often held by many, but lived by few. The StartUp Hub caught up with Paul from Jackson Chambers Photography, a year into his new business, to find out more about how he started, his advice to others and plans for the future.

Source; Jackson Chambers Photography

Dream Big & Dig Deep

'I have always been interested in people and their personal journeys, I wanted to tell real stories through my work that matter to others. As an arts graduate, creativity has always been at the core for me. The stories of the ordinary people, who to me are extraordinary, those who may be marginalised or often left behind. I came into this business through a route from recovery, returning to my artistic roots through a personal journey which brought me to the realisation that creativity could give me a direction that was true to me and had an integrity to tell other people’s stories in a respectful, meaningful way.’ 

Paul’s ambition as a photographer was inspired by the work of other photographers who worked fearlessly to capture and document untold stories across the world. Taking inspiration from the late photographer Fiona Adams, she encouraged him to nurture trust from his sitters. ‘Whether I am working with someone for a passport photo or a long project shoot, as photographers we need to build that trust.  There is no hiding through the lense, you can’t hide your soul and so we must treat others with tenderness and respect.’

Source; Jackson Chambers Photography

Finding Balance

Starting any business is fraught with ups and downs, cashflow, marketing, client acquisition amongst many other elements.  But balancing the needs of the business with the passion and creativity of an artistic career can be particularly challenging.  ‘You have to be disciplined to address the nuts and bolts!  Finding balance between the creative pull and also finding time to do the admin side is difficult. There are no such things as days off in the early days of being self-employed and it can be emotionally draining. I did not account for that at the start of this process. Creativity needs recharging in order to make sure that you don’t burn out. It is very hard work, but it's a passion, it doesn’t always feel like work and I realise how lucky I am to be able to do what I do.’

Getting Started

‘Early on I joined the StartUp Hub and their accelerator programme. It is essential to address the things that you know are not your strengths and give yourself time to work hard on those areas. Finding the balance between believing in yourself and also recognising where you need to ask for help with your business is really important. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself about what you don’t yet know. I have been surprised and deeply moved by the people who have been generous with their time and assistance.’

Paul takes time on a Sunday morning to reflect and journal, to look at the work of others and learn from their approaches.  Continuous learning in all areas is so important. ‘Look back and learn from what you have done, but don’t dwell on it. You need to constantly push yourself and move forward, but balance this with the need to pay the bills.’

The Future

The business continues to develop and 3 months ago Paul moved into his own studio. ‘Nurturing and developing a creative space that is organic and edgy has been very important for my work. When people walk in and feel excited, that potential and positivity in the space helps to create comfort and a relaxed environment needed to make great photographs. I am reminded each time of something Fiona Adams once said to me, “what a gift it is for people to allow us to borrow their faces for a while.” As Photographers, we have a responsibility to respect the vulnerability of the people on the other side of the lense. I want to connect and tell the stories that capture people in a respectful, meaningful way.’ 

This article was originally printed in Business Brief: November Issue

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