The Review Santa Fe deadline is fast approaching and I have been trying to decide if I want to enter this year. It seems worth it because it would give me the chance to introduce my new UV work all at once. I wrote last year about my devastation over being rejected. In retrospect my edit could have been much better. And I am now much less emotionally involved in contests. I guess I have entered enough of them, and gotten to win, (I worked much harder on my Critical Mass top 50 entry) to have a healthier understanding of them. Portfolio reviews can be a great way to make jumps forward in your career and to foster relationships. I asked two photographers who were lucky enough to attend last years review to share some insights on applying. Also, APE also has a good post up on contest entries. I will say there are a couple basic things I have learned from WIP that are important for entries, especially online.
EDIT, EDIT, EDIT!!!!!!!!
Then edit again. Some very basic rules:
If an image is in your edit because just because you personally love it, dump it. If it is an image you always have to explain to people, dump it. If you have it in because you think it is important for content, dump it. If you have to keep trying to find a way to make it “work in the edit,” dump it.
In a contest situation you need the best possible group, each image should be able to stand alone and be part of a harmonious group. One picture that is less strong is enough to sink you.
So here are some thoughts from two of last year’s reviewed.
Tips for Review Santa Fe:
I applied for Review Santa Fe two years in a row with the same work. The first year I sent digital files and was not accepted. I read the reviewers comments on the CENTER website and noticed many of the judges preferred to review prints. So when I applied for the second time I sent the exact same project but as prints and got in. Actually, I never got the official email from CENTER that I had been accepted, it got lost somewhere in the ether. Luckily I called Maggie to check in and she relayed the good news.
I also suggest you carefully read over all the reviewers biographies and pay close attention to what they wish to see and not see. I knew there might be specific reviewers who would be uncomfortable reviewing my work due to its content. Surprisingly everyone I met with gave my work the attention and respect it deserved.
I attended Fotofest earlier in 2008 and so when I attended Review Santa Fe I had very specific questions about my work which I posed to gallery directors, editors and my peers. Having a list of questions about your work helps the reviewer understand what it is you wish to walk away with. You only have 20 minutes so it never hurts to get straight to the point.
Aside from showing work, reediting my sequence several times and bringing along leave behinds for editors, museum and gallery directors and all the wonderful photographers I met who were also attending the review, I recommend being prepared for altitude sickness. I saw several people suffering in different ways. I myself had terrible headaches, trouble sleeping and loss of appetite. One girl had nosebleeds. This is not to deter you from attending but just be prepared so you can make the most of your meetings.
Above all else have fun and be confident and passionate about the work you are sharing.
My advice: wait* + shoot**
Two years ago I pulled the plug on my application at the 24th hour. Sitting at the computer, everything ready to upload for REVIEW, I realized that my group of 20 fell well short of communicating my vision. I decided then/there to set the following year’s REVIEW as my deadline for getting everything about that project out of my head and into the portfolio.
Caveat Emptor: But dont take this advice the wrong way (fuel for your procrastinator). When I saw the work that made it to Santa Fe this year (and learned about all the projects that didnt) I was humbled-without the extra time and work I just wouldnt have made the cut.
Time at reviews is time not shooting-maybe this is obvious but sometimes it seems that we have all gone review crazy. Some of the best advice I got in Santa Fe: “dont become a regular on the review circuit”.
Thanks to Eric and Sarah for sharing their experience. And if you are looking for a review closer to home, this weekend is the SPENE conference. I will be speaking on a panel about photo blogging, with Amani Olu, Amy Stein & Laurel Ptak on Saturday at 10:30. Artists Zoe Strauss & William Lamson will be speaking at the event and there will be a portfolio review. Info is below
SPENE REGIONAL CONFERENCE: STATE OF THE ART
Hosted by FIT in New York City
December 13, 2008
The Northeast Conference: State of the Art is rapidly approaching. Early
Registrations must be postmarked by December 7th. Please find below the
conference schedule and list of portfolio reviewers. For registration and
other conference info Please see
Conference Chair Allison Wermager, Co-Chairs: Brad Paris and Jessica Wynne
For more information contact email@example.com
8:30 Registration Begins
9:30 Image Maker Presentation – William Lamson
10:00 – 12:00 Portfolio Reviews
10:30 Panel Discussion – Photo Bloggers: Amy Stein, Laurel Ptak, Cara
12:30 Members Meeting
1:00 – 3:00 Portfolio Reviews
1:30 Panel Discussion – State of Photographic Education
Ann Chwatsky, Moderator, NYU Steinhardt Studio Art Dept.
Susan Johada, Professor of Art, U of Massachusetts
Susanne Nicholas, Associate Director of Education, International Center of
Nancy Goldring, Professor, Montclair State College, New Jersey
Peter Clough, Graduate MFA Student, NYU Studio Art Dept.
3:00 Image Maker Presentation- Sasha Bezzubov
4:30 Image Maker Presentation – Craig Kalpakjain
7:00 Key Note Speaker Zoe Strauss
Deputy Photo Editor at Blender Magazine
Photographer, educator, and founder of The Michael Mazzeo Gallery.
Carrie Levy is a photographer and teacher based in New York City.
Priska C. Juschka Fine Art in Chelsea
Deputy Director of Photography Newsweek
Owner P.P.O.W. Gallery
A photographer and writer based in New York City, Jill Waterman is the
editor of PDNedu, the ASMP Bulletin, as well as a contributing editor for
many other projects with PDN Custom Media & Events.
artist, editor/publisher of ZING Magazine and collector.
NYC based portrait photographer.
Photo Editor, Cookie Magazine Peter Hay Halpert
Peter Hay Halpert is an art dealer, with exhibition spaces in New York and
Independent curator, educator and photographer
Alana Celii and Grant Willing