On March 16 I received an email from the Outreach Director at Photolucida telling me that a space has opened up for the Portfolio Reviews and I am next on the wait list. All I knew is that I wasn't ready for this but this opportunity doesn't come often. So I immediately said yes, I'll be there and sent my check. Now that I'm done I can truly say that this was a good decision, although there were moments of extreme agony wondering why I every even considered subjecting myself to such an ordeal. For those of you unfamiliar with the reviews, this is the Granddaddy of all reviews, the big one, and it happens only once every two years. It is four days of reviews, I had 20. The experience was priceless, from the standpoint of the feedback you receive, the people you meet, and the inspiration you receive from special speakers and other photographers. The fine art photographic industry is here looking at work. I was humbled to be among many experienced photographers who were showing some incredible work. My conversations were with publishers, gallery owners, museum curators, industry consultants and collectors.
The system of elevating your career in fine art photography is curious, and the portfolio review circuit is one of the many channels providing opportunities for artists to inject themselves into the system. These sessions are offered at several major photo festivals during the year, lasting usually 1-2 days. You have prearranged meetings with reviewers who spend 20 minutes with you answering questions and offering comments on your work. It's a brilliant system for meeting that key individual who would be virtually impossible to access otherwise. Can you imagine trying to come to New York and booking meetings with a museum curator, publisher, and gallery owner to meet you and see your work? Good luck! I've participated in many reviews prior to this so I knew what to expect, but the enormity of the entire experience really blew me away.
The highlight of the event was called the Portfolio Walk at the Portland Museum of Art where we had our portfolios out for the public to see. I was astounded by the response of the Portland arts community and their level of interest in photography. It was a special night.
There are so many lessons learned from attending Photolucida. All I can say is that it changed the trajectory of my career, I feel that this initiation was critical, and now I am on my way.