This week’s career change story is from Ula Maj. I love her SnappedAway project and I hope you do too. She has moved from architecture to photography curator, critic and promoter.
This is one of series of guest posts designed to inspire mums thinking about a career change. To find all the stories use Career Change Story in the Categories drop-down.
If you have a career change story to share, click here to contact me. I am always delighted to receive guest posts on this subject. 500-800 words. I’d love to hear from you.
Career change: architecture to photography
My name is Ula, a mum to an adorable two year old. I am in a process of changing career from architect to photography curator, critic and promoter; and in the long term, a photo gallery owner. I run a photography blog www.snappedaway.com – my hub for promoting young photographers. I still work as an architect as I am at the beginning of my journey to become who I want to be but what is important to me is I have my goal set.
I guess like with many mums my desire to do something with my life really kicked in when I was on my maternity leave. I realised that my job (architecture) is not a very family friendly profession. I started thinking what else I can do or even more importantly what is that I always wanted to do. The idea of fine art photo gallery didn’t come straight away. I guess it was always somewhere in my head but this was one of the things you don’t treat seriously – like a childhood dream of being a princess. However when you start looking for a solution to a problem, inspirations can come from different directions and people. It was at that time when my partner who is a photographer and a graphic designer opened his online t-shirt shop piekuo.com. This gave me the idea that I could do the same with contemporary photography: print it on t-shirts and wear it on London streets and at galleries, so that I can exhibit works of art on myself. Well, it isn’t your typical photo gallery but imagine the amazing potential this idea has. Like pop-up galleries, flash mob exhibitions all working together to bring art photography closer to the public.
Because of my partner’s start up business we couldn’t financially commit to another project but instead of parking it, I’ve decided to work on my idea and build it slowly. I’ve created the website www.snappedaway.com, where I invite different artists to share their work. I publish a series of articles featuring their photography and later we pick one image that goes on a t-shirt. At the moment the one t-shirt we print is for my personal use. I wear this t-shirt on London streets and at London galleries. I dress myself in white and pose with a frame so I become a one person gallery. This is documented and later published on my blog.
My biggest challenge is finding time to work on my project. We have no family in London, so when I started we couldn’t get a childminder when we needed to go and do a t-shirt photoshoot in the city centre. If you were to see the photos where instead of posing, I am chasing after my toddler you would be laughing hard with me. Now we are lucky to have a close family friend living in London, so this changed a lot. I write posts on my phone or connect on social media when I commute to work (I am writing this article on a train too); my lunchbreak is time when I work on my website etc.
It is really about trying to find chunks of time you can use for your work. I am far from my ideal of publishing a post every day, sometimes it’s one post a week (like when my little one was sick and I had to stay at home) but it is important that I keep moving forward. Imperfect actions are better than no action at all. At the moment my goal is to keep inviting new photographers and share their work on my website and doing one person t-shirt exhibitions, the next is to organise my first ‘big’ pop-up show.
This whole project is a constant learning curve for me: from teaching myself how to build a website to how to promote yourself on social media. Today’s world gives so many possibilities and I believe you can make any idea work if you are really passionate about it. Good luck to you.
If you enjoyed this story, please do leave a comment below. Do you have a career change story to share? Click here to contact me. I am always delighted to receive guest posts (5-800 words). Get in touch soon.