SoCal PhotoExchange

Portfolio Reviewer for LACP

Posted in Juried opportunities, Photo Art Business, Photographers, Photography, tPE members by douglaspstockdale on August 5, 2017

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Dawn Watson, dnj Gallery, Santa Monica, CA copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This last month I was a guest portfolio reviewer for the LACP (Los Angeles Center of Photography) EXPOSURE 2017 portfolio reviews at the dnj Gallery in Santa Monica’s Bergamont (Arts) Station.

Overall it was a great experience as a portfolio reviewer as I was introduced to some very intriguing and well thought out photographic projects. It should probably come as no surprise that many of the photographers and artists were interested in spending time with me regarding my assessment about these projects being published.

One of the most frequent questions I am asked before one of these events; how does one prepare for a portfolio review? Since the review is scheduled for only 20 minutes, everyone is always surprised in how quickly this time slips by. First just about everyone brings too many photographs and supporting materials probably in the hopes that a reviewer will be able to see it all and still have time to provide some wise advice. Nope that usually does NOT happen.

Second, as a portfolio reviewer I start each discussion with three requests: tell me about yourself, tell me about the portfolio we are going to review and what is it you would like to obtain feedback from me about your project that might help you to move it forward?

Reviewers would like to know a little bit about who they are talking to; not your life story, but a quick 2 minute bio, which I call an elevator speech. Same for the portfolio (maybe a photographic project), for the photographer/artist to provide some context as to what is going to be reviewed, again perhaps 1-2 minutes, another elevator speech. Last, what is it you need from the review? Some examples: feedback on the editing of the photographs, are the images technically acceptable, could this sequence or series work in a book layout, are the photographs consistent with the artistic statement, etc.

Third, plan on reviewing only one portfolio with each reviewer, you can bring more portfolios, but you will only have real quality time to spend on one with each reviewer. In most portfolio reviews the artist/photographer might be meeting with a series of different portfolio reviewers and it is appropriate to select a portfolio that is relevant to a specific reviewer. In my case, most wanted me to review their book dummy’s or portfolios that they were thinking about having published.

Fourth, plan on having less than 15 prints in the portfolio to have reviewed. In many cases we did not get through all 15 prints during our 20 minute session. You should want quality time/discussion for each image and how these images relate to each other. This exchange takes time when it results in a give and take discussion.

Bring something to take notes and one photographer recorded our review session. Each portfolio reviewer is an individual with a point of view, which may be very different from yours, so don’t become defensive if the reviewer does not see or understand what you are trying to communicate with your photographic prints. One key purpose of coming to a portfolio review is to get a broader exposure to your work and have others talk about what they see. If you are doing more talking than listening, then you are not going to obtain the full benefit of this occasion.

Last, leave something behind, perhaps as simple as a business card (yes, one person left me with one of their books) to help the reviewer remember who you are (I did 12 portfolio reviews on Saturday and names and projects began to blur at the end of the day) and then follow up with a nice email note a couple of days after the event.

Reviewers are there to help you and if they can point you in a direction or make an follow on introduction, they usually will. I had a short list of introductions and follow-up items that I had promised and these are just about completed, as it takes a few days to get organized. Also realized that these are good events to network with the other photographers and artist who are participating in the reviews as you never can tell what might come up during a side discussion.

Note: I had not realized at the time I took the photograph of Dawn Watson, above, that the large red photograph behind me was going to reflect so much pink color on Watson’s self-published book. Below is a better representation of her book “Trees” ( & thanks to Watson for providing a better photograph) and a nice follow-up email regarding our review time together. well done.

Cheers!

Douglas Stockdale, Publisher

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Early bird discount for photobook workshop ends this Saturday

Posted in Photo Art Business, Photo Workshops, Photographers, Photography, tPE members by douglaspstockdale on December 16, 2016

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LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design, photo Douglas Stockdale

The early-bird registration discount of 20% for my Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop that I will be leading next April over two weekends will be ending midnight this Saturday, December 17th. This creative workshop is sponsored by Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP).  So if you plan to be in the Southern California area (aka best-coast), time to check this workshop out and take advantage of this discount.

Could also be a wonderful Christmas present for someone special ;- )

Just saying…

your wonderful Editor.

 

Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern – The Photographer’s Playbook

Posted in Books & Magazines, Photographers, Photography by douglaspstockdale on December 3, 2016

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Copyright 2014 Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern published by Aperture

While in Santa Fe last month and visiting the photo-eye book store, I had an opportunity to purchase a copy of Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern’s book The Photographer’s Playbook. The subtitle reveals the essentials of this book; 307 (photographic) Assignments and Ideas, which are distilled from 307 photographers, curators, photographic academia and workshop leaders, including Aline Smithson, Mark Steinmetz, Jim Goldberg, Stephen Shore, John Gossage and many more. From my perspective, this book draws heavily on a few photographic academia programs for BFA and MFA photographic degrees.

It appears that the book is focused on young and inexperienced photographers who are searching for the reason to be a fine art photographer (as part of a BFA/MFA program) or for a photographer who is stuck in a dry spell as to how to find conceptual ideas to development next. If you have the technical side of photography down then working through a bunch of these assignments could provide you with an equivalent BFA/MFA education as to the conceptual projects you work on. What may be missing is the group critiques offered in the academic programs and instructors that might challenge you (alternatively a best friend that can continue to say “No, try again, dig deeper”). So find a small group photographic/artist peers that you can count on to be candid and talk/show the work/assignments, a group who can say “Very cool, I see where you are going, keep at it, dig deeper”

To be candid, there are some ideas within this book that are similar to other ideas I have developed over the years to help me consider photographic options and move my concepts forward. I will continue to write about some of them, such as my post earlier this morning about experiment-play (games), a frequent idea (27 different variations) that is recommended in this book. In my case, experiment-play was what I was doing that led me to my Memory Pods project that I have been working on for just about three years. Recently, experiment-play is what inspired me to start the Middle Ground (aka Life in the Slow Lane) project earlier this year.

To be fully transparent, as a portfolio reviewer for LensCulture, we also provide some resource recommendations as part of the portfolio review and this book is one that I recommend to photographers who have a photo technique but appear to looking for a project to apply their process. Recommended!

Cheers,

Douglas Stockdale, Editor

(originally posted on Singular Images)

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FREE guide from LensCulture – Get exposure for you photography

Posted in Juried opportunities, Photo Art Business, Photographers, Photography by douglaspstockdale on November 29, 2016

LensCulture

LensCulture is now offering a FREE download (pdf) for their recent 2017 guide to help with gaining exposure for you fine art photographs, available here

I will have to admit that since I now work for lensCulture, I have a bit of a basis ;- )

Nevertheless, go check it out and I would like to hear back from you as to whether you think if this guide will make a difference for you in 2017.

Your truly, the Editor

Photo Workshop in the Grand Tetons

Posted in Photographers, Photography, tPE members by Gina Genis on May 25, 2012

A view of the Grand Tetons

Hello Friends,
I am teaching a photography workshop in the amazing Grand Tetons from June 25 – 29th. Take a look at my website to see photos and get details. Join us. You will be inspired and go home with fabulous images and memories.

Schwabacher Landing, the Grand Tetons