Sometime last fall, I decided to give PhotoLucida another try. During the last six years, it has become quite popular, with first-come-first-served signups that fill quickly. I waited until the first signup day, accessed the web site, and got in.
PhotoLucida is held every two years. I let the 2005 and 2007 ones go by. Why go now?
I’m coming to, if not the end, at least a pause in the Nighthawks series, and I’d like to get some critical feedback to help me decide where to take the series. I’ve already had one Nighthawks show, but I’d be happy to get one or two more. I’ve also got some new (read half-baked) work, the Light and Motion and PhotoCalligraphy series, that hardly anyone has seen and I want to know what the cognoscenti think of it. (You can see all this work at www.kasson.org).
I also have a better sense of how portfolio reviews work, and hope to be able to get more out of this one than the one six years ago. I have a better sense of what I’m trying to say with my photography, and I’m willing to make more of a commitment to follow up. I also want to talk to a new class of reviewers: intermediaries who advise photographers on how to market their work. Some even make their living this way; you might think that their advice would be colored by the desire to maximize their fees, but they seem to be hugely oversubscribed, which would both indicate and motivate otherwise.
I’ve laid the groundwork for some follow up already. I discussed the new website last month. I’m also having three brochures printed: one each for Nighthawks, PhotoCalligraphy, and This Green Growing Land. Last time I passed out CDs with pdf files on them, to no discernable effect. Maybe the effort of sticking the discs into a computer and firing up Acrobat meant most of them just gathered dust. Or maybe the work wasn’t very good. Who knows? Anyway, I’m trying something else this time.
One of the problems that you need to solve before going to a portfolio review is what work to show, and how to show it. The reviewers want to see the actual work; they don’t want to thumb through books or look at images on a computer screen. You get twenty minutes with each reviewer, which, by the time you’ve introduced yourself and talked a little about what you’re trying to say, is only long enough to show 15 to 20 prints. They should all be selected from one body of work; no reviewer wants to see a “greatest hits” presentation.
I have four different series that I considered bringing to the review. This Green Growing Land is finished. My objective for it is finding walls and eyeballs. Nighthawks may or may not be done. I’d like comments on it and exhibition possibilities for it. PhotoCalligraphy is just getting started, and is nowhere near ready for a show, but I want some feedback. Light and Motion isn’t really a cohesive series at all, just a bunch of images bound together by a common place and photographic style. I think there are at least two series in Light and Motion. I’d like some insight into teasing out the threads.
I plan to concentrate my efforts on Nighthawks, putting together a 15 or 20 picture collection. I’ll have a few of the PhotoCalligraphy images and one or two from the Light and Motion series if people want to see work-in-progress or the night-in-the-city pictures just aren’t connecting. I’ll have the This Green Growing Land brochure in case anyone wants to delve deeper.
So that’s the plan. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post what I’m doing to get ready for the review, and when I get there, I’ll post about how it’s going.