We’ve just added a comments feature to our blog, thanks to our dedicated and tireless web designer. So go ahead and tell us what you’ve wanted to say about any of our previous posts – the new feature is retroactive to all posts.
We hope that adding comments will help this blog better serve artists by being a place where we can share ideas. To get the ball rolling, I’d like to talk a little about portfolio reviews. I just got back from Review Santa Fe, a fantastic event that brought together over 100 photographers with curators, publishers, and art administrators. There was some quality work there, including Jody Ake‘s amazingly rich ambrotype portraits (yes, he really does bring the actual plates to portfolio review events as well as prints made from them). Former Light Work Artist-in-Residence Chad States got a lot of attention for his Cruising series, which many people were talking about. It’s a real testament to the organizers, Center, that the event still felt really intimate even with so many people involved.
The Santa Fe reviews are 20 minutes long per person, which is pretty standard for such events. I’ve heard this format compared to speed dating, and that is really no joke. As a reviewer, within 20 minutes time you have to get a sense of who the photographers is and what they want to accomplish, gauge whether that is actually happening in the photographs, and then communicate that feedback in a way that is constructive and helpful. Meanwhile, the reviewer is trying to show enough of the work and tell enough of the story to provide context while also attempting to get specific questions answered. Whew.
To maximize the opportunities afforded in these types of reviews, a good dynamic has to develop pretty quickly. In the comments, post your stories of portfolio review victories, plus any tips you have on what works and what doesn’t work both as a reviewer and a reviewee. I’ll post my own tips farther down in the comments. —Mary Goodwin, Associate Director
Image: Jody Ake