Report from Photolucida’s Portfolio Review


Photolucida 2009 Portfolio Review photography by Janos Lanyi

The following is from Janos Lanyi, a member of The Photo Exchange who participated in last weeks Photolucida Portfolio Review in Portland, OR.

On April 22 the ball room of the Benson Hotel in Portland, OR became a very lively place. Hundred sixty mid-career photographers (blue name-tags) and sixty gallery and museum directors, photo editors and other leaders of the photography world (red name-tags) got together for a 4-day long highly structured portfolio review event. Each registrant, like myself, was assigned 18 reviewers, selected by draw based on stated preferences, for 20 minute one-on-one sessions. In addition, local gallery owners and professional photographers circulated in another room among the participants, and held impromptu reviews. All in all, we received as many as 25-30 opinions on technical, artistic, and in some cases business, issues. The Portland portfolio review was promised to be a career-changing opportunity to assess one’s photography, and it was.

 Being told by several photography consultants to well-known New York galleries and museums that your work is genuine and profound is wonderful and exciting, and you float high until another tells you that he just doesn’t care for your images and maybe you don’t either. However, there were so many opinions that they did add up to a consistent picture. The perspective I gained on what is good and what is not good in my own work is astounding. It will shape my photography for the next year, until the next portfolio review.

 On the first night the photographers showed their best work at a public event at the Portland Art Museum. There are many people, of all ages, in Portland interested in photography, and the place was packed. It was also an opportunity for us to see the work of the other participants, some astonishingly good. Wouldn’t you know it, many of the reviewers gave more of their time talking to us there. Add to that the noisy and intense discussions sharing work with other participants in the Benson lobby, noon seminars every day, and a public lecture by Abelardo Morrell on his unorthodox photo images, and we were buzzing with information overload. Photolucida 2009 ended with a roaring party on the rooftop of the Blue Sky Gallery on Sunday evening. Even the usually uncertain Portland weather cooperated. 

By Doug Stockdale

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