Work placement – Tracy Marshall interview

Photo: Ken Grant

I have worked on a few projects with Photo Meet now, and the work which stood out for me as most interesting was the interview I did with Ilias Georgiadis. It occurred to me that I could propose an interview series with industry insiders – not photographers but those with the power to get work seen.

This would be a win-win situation: Photomeet would get content for its website and I would get to talk to some movers and shakers in the business.

This was my pitch for the series:

‘Making a body of work can provide great satisfaction, but the process is not finished until the work is in front of an audience. In this series of interviews, Photo Meet talks to the influential insiders who make this happen, be it on a gallery wall, the pages of a book or magazine or a website.

What makes them tick? How did they get into the business? What advice do they have for photographers? Read on to find out.’

My idea was accepted, and for the first interview I proposed Tracy Marshall, the director of the new Bristol Photo Festival. I felt this would be a timely interview since BPF is in the launch phase and therefore presumably keen on publicity. There was also an existing link between Photo Meet and Northern Narratives, the photography organisation founded by Tracy and her partner, photographer Ken Grant. During the Covid pandemic, Photo Meet and Northern Narratives ran a joint open call for photographers whose work had been interrupted by the lockdown. Thus there was an ideal opportunity for mutual promotion of BPF and Photo Meet.

This assignment was a big step up for me as I was left to organise the whole feature myself – contacting Tracy, asking for an interview, writing the questions, conducting the interview and supplying the final text to Photo Meet.

I contacted Tracy and asked if she would be willing to do the interview, and she graciously accepted. I conducted the interview via Zoom, using a prepared list of questions as a starting point but letting the conversation take its natural course – for that reason I did not send the questions to Tracy in advance. The interview went well – I had suggested a one-hour session but in the end we spent nearly three hours talking.

Instead of taking notes during the interview I recorded it and then wrote up the interview afterwards. I sent the draft to Tracy and we agreed a final version after some small changes.

I have proposed to Photo Meet, and they agreed, that we publish this interview as the first of a series of interviews with curators, publishers and anyone responsible for getting photography seen. The series will be called Meet the Experts.

The interview can be read online here:

https://photomeet.org/tracy-marshall-interview

Or as a PDF here:

This is the publicity for the interview on the Photo Meet Facebook page:

and Tracy’s mention of the interview, with comments, on her own Facebook page:

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