Wednesday, March 9, 2016
At the APA SF Annual Portfolio Review
The other evening I had the honor of reviewing portfolios at the American Photographic Artists San Francisco Chapter's Annual Portfolio Review. For those not in the photography world, a portfolio review works like this: photographers sign up to bring their work (most often in a physical portfolio or "book" as it's often called, or sometimes digitally on a laptop or tablet) and share it with reviewers sitting at little tables in fifteen-minute-long meetings. The reviewers tend to be professionals who, for one reason or another, hire photographers or buy photography--so art directors, agents, designers, creative directors, and photography book editors (like me!). Folks like us always want to see work from new photographers, and photographers always want to put their work in front of new potential clients, so it's pretty win-win. There's also a feedback and critique element that keeps the conversations lively. It's often compared to speed-dating. I hadn't done one for a while and wondered how easy or difficult it would be to get back into the idiom of this particular idiosyncratic professional/social structure--but it turned out to be quite easy to pick back up. The photo below, as the first of us reviewers entered the room and found our seats, doesn't quite do the thing justice--imagine the room full of fifteen reviewers and fifteen photographers all having conversations at once and you'll get a better sense of the energy.