The next article in the FotoFest coverage will talk to particular artists that participated in Session 4 of the Meeting Place portfolio Reviews in Houston Texas. But today, we would like to pass along some observations on the portfolio review process.
Marta Sánchez Philippe, who is heading up these reviews a third time for FotoFest, was kind enough to put us in place with two reviewers: Christopher Rauchenberg, President, BLUE SKY GALLERY and Ashley C. Givens, Ass’t Curator, Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum. They had great insights and patience. These individuals were representative of the high quality of arts community leaders that Meeting Place attracts as review “staff”.
In order to give the best guidance distilled from these sessions, we need to break it down into the questions you, the artist, may be asked and some guidelines for presentation. The cost of these sessions is not inexpensive, so preparation is key …
Questions to be answered:
- What is the objective of the work being presented?
- How do you describe the project?
- How did the project come about?
- Is there a timeline involved?
- Why did you employ a particular technique in creating the work?
- Is there a storyline? A connection between the photos in a series?
- What barriers exist between the viewer and the subject?
- What growth in your work can be traced in this project?
- Do you “direct it” or let it unfold and document it?
- Is the concept fully resolved or is this a work in progress?
Guidelines for presentation:
- Know the answers to the questions above!
- Research your reviewer to try and understand their viewpoint
- Have a one paragraph artist’s statement memorized
- Have specific questions you want answered … then ask them!
- Don’t just present for 20 minutes, have a dialogue
- Listen … and playback what you hear to the reviewer
- If you want gallery representation, ask how to get it
- Make sure the reviewer sees your passion for, and in, your art
Many artists expect their art to “speak” for itself alone, unfortunately in a review, it is two humans that must communicate in a meaningful away under time constraints … in addition to having qualified work presented.
For a Meeting Place guide to Portfolio Reviews: Mary Virginia Swanson