I visited my first Portfolio review viewing at the Redline Gallery in Denver a couple weeks ago. Oh Boy - lots going on and good inspiration. My mission was to get an idea of what kind of work folks were showing, how many images that had reviewed in their portfolio, the types of paper/media they were using to present the work and feed back from the photographers reviewed about what they took out of the process.
The variety of work ran from portraits, still lifes, abstract, landscapes, documentary and projects around a theme defined by multiple images of a subject and events surrounding that subject matter. Very interesting stuff. I have to say there were a number of photographers pursued a similar theme and after seeing a few of them I just passed by the rest.
The quantity and print sizes varied but most of the photographers said that a uniform group-theme- around 15-20 images were put together and placed in open portfolio boxes for the folks like me to handle and view. I was surprised that a # of the photographers that had 50-100 images in their portfolios and that seemed like way to many for me. On person had approx. 75 images to view but it was a grouping of three different themes so that if the reviewer was interested in seeing other aspects of their work it was right there available.
The paper used by a number of the artists was satin paper which viewed nicely and held up will to the handling by all us folks that came to see the work. 8 x 10 / 11 x 14 print sizes handled the best but a number of the artists had larger prints that they presented to the viewer so as to keep the work from getting destroyed. One photographer noted that she wished she had brought her small portfolio version to have on view since the space for each artists was limited due to the number of people participating and for the reviewer to see but it was suggested to have a larger piece or two printed and available to view if that would be a size they might use in a show environment.
Alternative processes were used by quite a few of the photographers and were very nice. Printed on fine art papers the work was interesting. The alternative processes have seen a resurgence along with shooting film again. As with vinyl vs. cd's a love for the past aspects of the fine art of any medium come around to be used and perfected. Some of the themes utilizing that medium were better then others but that is subjective.
Most of the photographers found the process to work for them. A couple folks said they were still processing the feedback they got & others said that made some good contacts with the reviewers that participated in the MOP portfolio reviews presented by CPAC in Denver and others said they would do it again so as to continue to grow. The idea of doing the review is not just to have important people in the different fields - advertising, publishing, gallery, and agents - see your work but to maybe get a lead on selling or showing.
I still have not resolved my biggest problem of putting together a cohesive group of images that are themed based or tell a story. I have the hardest time be objective about my work but now at least I have an idea of quantity to present, style of presentation and that a theme works will for overall presentation/ showing. So I shall work on getting together images to get into my portfolio so that I will be ready to go for the next opportunity that comes around to sign up for a review and see how it all flows.