I submitted my photographic work to the Format Portfolio Review Event on 19 and 20 March.  I signed up for four reviews which was the number suggested for those attending their first review.  It seemed about the right number – I had a sense that had I signed up for more, which a number of people had, the views and ideas might be more diverse and whilst helpful, more difficult to develop into a coherent response in terms of the development of future work.  I have decided to split my summaries of the reviews into two blogs to make them a more manageable size.  The second blog includes the references given by the four reviewers and others that I picked up at discussions during the event.

Review 1

My first reviewer is based in China and interested in developing bodies of work.    The reviewer immediately opened the Among Trees Collection and said she could feel the connection with the space and with the trees.

Among Trees – Format Final Portfolio Layout 2021

She said she wanted to know more about why that specific place and space and why it is important to me.  She suggested that she could see some of my work as being produced on a large scale but could also see them as small collections of postcards.

She said she preferred the Among Trees Collection as she felt it was more extendable.  She asked what my future plans were for developing the body of work and I outlined my thoughts on continuing the work with sea/water surfaces (given that a significant aspect of the essence of an Island is that is surrounded by water) and mountains (a significant landmark in the Island’s history).  I said at this stage that I favoured working in black and white for these images.  She spoke of the philosophical meaning of mountains and the use of metaphor in Chinese art.  She suggested I play with the shape of water and mountains and produce abstract images.

She advised that I should spend time producing my images as different size prints, on different surfaces and creating alternative layouts and then ask for feedback.  I need to work with the materiality of the photograph.  She referred me to the work of Jem Southam and a Chinese artist called Chen Xiaoyi whose images also share a personal story.  I asked whether she had a preference between black and white and colour – she said she thought Among Trees worked best in colour.  She noted in particular Images 4, 8 and 9 and said that she had a strong connection to these images – beautiful. . .”

Among Trees 4 – Alison Price, March 2021

Among Trees 8 – Alison Price, March 2021

Among Trees 9 – Alison Price, March 2021


Review 2

 My second reviewer focused initially on The Ephemeral Hiddenness of Skye Collection.

The Ephemeral Hiddenness of Skye – Format Final Portfolio Layout 2021

She referred to the images as having serene, timeless beauty – “elegant but very abstract”.  She pointed out that they do not have a punctum or an anchor point, which allows the viewer to dwell in the image – she said her eyes just went over and over the images.  “They have an elegant form and are poetic”.  She confirmed the images do capture the essence of Skye indeed “they are a homage to Skye”.  She also loved the portfolio layout I produced in a three by four form.  She suggested a square photo book format or equally a large format vinyl print.

She suggested I ask family and friends far and wide how they respond to the images and maybe I could branch out with chapters as to how collaborators respond to them.

Moving onto the Among Trees Collection she also felt that these images worked in colour and in a different way – the trees becoming active dancers, and that the images demonstrated a wonderful communion between me and the trees, captured by my camera.  “They record the movement and the language of trees.”  She referred to image 11 as a slow image whereas 12 was a wake-up image and this juxtaposition might be an interesting way of presenting the collection.

Among Trees 11 – Alison Price, March 2021

Among Trees 12 – Alison Price, January 2021

She asked me to contact her to speak with her again with a view to talking more about my work, and developing a series of images for publication, through a portfolio and/or interview, at an appropriate stage in my PhD.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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