Success takes more than creativity

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 April, 2008, 12:00am

Like many people who graduate from university with a degree and a dream of setting up their own business, photographer Gigi Kwan found herself unprepared for the demanding world of being the master of her own enterprise.

Ms Kwan said the master of fine art degree she gained from York University, Toronto, and a master's degree in art from the-then Hong Kong Polytechnic were useful in as much as they taught her the principals of art and photography, but did little to prepare her for running her own enterprise.

'It was the experience I gained from working as Ringo Tan's photographic assistant that really taught me the nuts and bolts of the business,' recalled Ms Kwan, who said the highly respected photographer taught her how to approach the financial aspects of running a business and interpret clients' wishes while maintaining professional integrity.

Ms Kwan said her university lecturers emphasised the pursuit of artistic expression and individuality but very little about making headway in the commercial world where time and creativity have a dollar value. 'When I was studying, I naively thought that people would like my work and would simply come to me, it was never mentioned just how competitive the professional world of photography is.'