My second supervisor alerted me to the opportunity of having my images reviewed at an event hosted on-line by Format.  At first, I was a little daunted by the possibility and felt it may be too early to launch my efforts for professional assessment but, after a moment’s hesitation I decided to go for it, on the basis that leaving it to the same event next year would be rather too late in my PhD journey.  I have booked four reviews on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 March.  Naturally, my thoughts are now turning to what and how to present my work.

I want to get the most advice and guidance I can out of the event and my individual sessions and so I have looked at the advice on the Format web pages.  There are a couple of written pieces – an interview with Artistic Director of Quad and Format International Photography Festival, Louise Fedotov-Clements, and a link to the Photo Shelter Blog – 7 Myths about Portfolio Reviews Debunked (Margolis 2012) and also a very helpful interview with Camilla Brown, Curator, Writer and Lecturer about how to approach professional reviews.  For my own reference I have put together the following points to remember and to bear in mind as I collate my work for review.

Preparation

Preparing written information

  1. Think about the who, why, what, when of your work
  2. Ensure work is true to the originator and the subject
  3. Explain work in a compelling way – what is the story you are telling, why are you making this work and why should the viewer care?
  4. Prepare an Artist’s Statement (300-350 words), Bio (provides orientation information for the reviewer) statement about the series (150 words) and a short statement on sub-series as appropriate
  5. State what is important in the work – be honest and clear and authentic
  6. Use ‘caption section’ in the software to upload your words about a series
  7. Think about how you would display your work and provide installation shots if you have them
  8. Make sure your website is up to date

Preparing images

  • Show a breadth of work but stay within an aesthetic
  • Spend time and care sequencing and editing of images
  • Hold up a print on the day to show how you present your work if you wish
  • Use Picter software to upload and share work with the reviewer and Zoom for the meeting itself
  • Produce Jpeg images at 150dpi
  • Reviewers will look at your images before the meeting

Preparing for the review meeting

  • Decide on purpose of the review for you and communicate that purpose to the reviewer
  • Prepare a couple of questions relevant to the reviewer’s expertise
  • Research background and preferences of your reviewers
  • Upload a wild card image!
  • Include a back-up series in case finish early

On the Day

  1. Engage in a dialogue about your work
  2. Review is a discursive platform
  3. Refer to other artists doing similar things
  4. Produce at least a couple of series – one completed and another in progress
  5. Leave a postcard of one of your images with contact details on the back with each reviewer (post Covid)
  6. Record your reviews but ask before doing so

Outcomes of Review Process

  • Valuable critical context for your practice
  • Access to ask question about what reviewers are looking for
  • Opportunity to talk about and tell your story
  • Persistence pays off and after the review continue to develop your own voice and develop confidence and strategies for visual communication

 

References

Brown, C. “Online Review Guidance from Camilla Brown:  Photo Forum.” Retrieved 23/2/21, from https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=908269016346685&ref=watch_permalink.

Lachowskyj, C. “Persistence Pays Off:  Tips and Tricks for Applying to Awards and Portfolio Reviews.” Retrieved 23/2/21, from https://www.lensculture.com/articles/louise-clements-persistence-pays-off-tips-and-tricks-for-applying-to-awards-portfolio-reviews.

Margolis, L. (2012). “7 Myths about Portfolio Reviews Debunked.” Retrieved 23/2/21, from https://blog.photoshelter.com/2012/05/7-myths-about-portfolio-reviews-debunked/.

 

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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