17/04/2018 - 15:35

Web puts photographers in the picture

17/04/2018 - 15:35

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Perth photography business Salty Wings is a prime example of how creatives in the 21st century can drive success off the back of social media.

Jampal Williamson (left) and Michael Goetze say they will be open to more pop-up galleries in the future. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perth photography business Salty Wings is a prime example of how creatives in the 21st century can drive success off the back of social media.

Having attended the same high school several years ago, Michael Goetze and Jampal Williamson leapt at the opportunity to experiment with aerial photography at a time when drones were gaining popularity.

The pair built up a bank of shots travelling from Esperance to Broome, before starting an Instagram account about three months into the journey, posting their first photo in early 2016.

“We put together a big catalogue with the intention of uploading one really high-quality aerial photo a day, and at the time, to our knowledge, no-one was doing that, and that really gave us attention,” Mr Williamson said.

Mr Goetze said the pair’s work was first noticed in WA, which remains its main customer base, although its eastern states customer base was increasingly growing.

As inferred by the name, the ocean is a key thematic focus for Salty Wings, with strong use of texture and colour crucial to the artworks’ aesthetic.

“We put out so much energy in terms of our content, trying to entertain people; we call them ‘micro vacations’,” Mr Goetze said.

“People enjoy our content and if they enjoy it enough eventually they might buy a print from us,” he said.

Salty Wings reaches 133,000 people on Instagram through its social media account, based on direct followers alone.

Digital and print sales make up two sources of revenue for the business.

Its most prominent sale was made to Apple, Mr Williamson said, when the tech company sought out two Salty Wings images to be used for its iOS 11 update.

“I think if you have a really good product and pay attention to the details of how you market it, the power of the internet will do the rest,” he said.

Having studied economics at university, Mr Goetze has a keen interest in e-commerce and said he was eager to see how digital currencies would change the way creatives lived and earned revenue.

“Right now, Facebook and Instagram, they own your content when you post on their platform, so they make all the profit from advertisers,” he said.

But avenues for artists to make advertising revenue are opening up as new platforms such as Steamr and Twitch, which don’t take ownership of creatives’ content, are emerging. 

“There’s a war going on between all the platforms now, all those companies are competing for content creators, so the deal is going to get better and better for us I think,” Mr Goetze said.

Until August, Salty Wings can be found at its pop-up gallery in Perth’s Enex building.

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