are pleased to present the Griffin Portfolio Review Day on May
9 - a one-day event where photographers may have their work reviewed
by leading curators, collectors, gallery owners, editors, and other
photography professionals committed to mid-career and emerging
talent. Review sessions are twenty minutes long and structured
to offer professional development, critique and feedback. Such
reviews can be a very helpful tool in leading to exhibitions, publishing
work and long term relationship building with arts professionals.
Fee is $100 for Griffin Museum members and $125 for non-members. Fee
includes three Reviews. This year we will make every effort to
connect you with your choices. Every reviewer was chosen because
of the opportunities and expertise he/she can provide to our
reviewees. Space is limited.
We will begin taking reservations
on Friday, April 11 at 10 AM. To reserve a space, call 781-729-1158.
Participating reviewers include:
- RICARDO BARRETO
- JEN BEKMAN
- KELLY BENNETT
- ANJA CHAVEZ
- BRIAN CLAMP
- ALISON COLLINS
- ED DOOKS
- KATHERINE HENNESSY
- JILL ENFIELD
- BARBARA HITCHCOCK
- HENRY HORENSTEIN
- KEITH JOHNSON
- ARLETTE KAYAFAS
- LANCE KEIMIG
- NAHID KHAKI
- JOHN MANNION
- NAVEED NOUR
- JESSICA OLDHAM
- DIANA RABINOVICH
- BEVERLY SNOW
- BERNIE TOALE
- PAULA TOGNARELLI
- JILL WATERMAN
- DEBORAH WILLIS
here for our reviewer's bios.
How to prepare for your review
here for a pdf version to print)
IN ADVANCE OF ATTENDING FOCUS REVIEWS at the Griffin Museum
of Photography consider the following advice from Mary Virginia
SET GOALS, THEN RESEARCH!
Consider in advance what results you are seeking from this investment. Are
you seeking advice/guidance/information, or are you looking for
more tangible results? Are you hoping to sell prints? Are
you seeking representation by a gallery? Do you wish to
place an exhibition of a completed body of work with a museum
or institution? Are you hoping to secure a publishing contract? Be
clear about what you want, research the professional biographies
of the reviewers towards making the most of your time towards
your desired goals.
TIGHTLY EDIT your photographs to a number of prints that allows
you to present your body of work in an efficient, thorough manner. A
portfolio in the range of twenty images is not so overwhelming
in scale to hinder discussions; if the project or series is substantially
larger, you can of course bring more to show during the review
session, but understand that to engage in a meaningful dialogue,
less may be
“more.” If you have two bodies (or more) of work, perhaps
one that is completed, one or more on-going: consider bringing
small selections of each, research the likely tastes and interests
of the Reviewers, and consider asking which they’d prefer to
see. Understand, however, it may be impossible, time-wise,
to discuss all work with each reviewer.
PRACTICE your presentation - keep it short and simple! Be
mindful of the 20-minute limit with each Reviewer; you will want
save time within those 20 minutes to receive feedback from them. DO
plan on speaking on your work, leave time for dialogue with the
PRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT, as are “first impressions.”
I suggest you print your images similarly on the same size/paper. Protect
the work, but not to such an extent that it takes too much of
your 20-minute session to wrap/unwrap each print.
EASE IN HANDLING will maximize your time to talk with the reviewer,
so select a box, book or portfolio that will allow you to show
the photographs relatively quickly and be seen without harm to
the objects. It is not necessary to mat your work for presentation
- you can fit more prints in your box, or travel lighter; your
prints will be frequently shown and may reflect this.
SIZE(S) - If possible, show work to reviewers in the size that
you prefer for final presentation size. That said, the
tables you will be presenting your work on will be 3’ x 6’and
if prints are larger than that, several samples rolled in tubes
with a supplemental more manageable portfolio may be a wise choice. Installation
views will help Reviewers to interpret large-scale, installation-based
or other non-traditional work. Consider making a small "portable" portfolio
to have with you at all times throughout all events, i.e. a box
of 4x5's, an 8x10 presentation book of prints, or laser/inkjet
copies so you will be able to share your work with other photographers
and reviewers if an opportunity presents itself outside of the
formal review sessions.
KNOW THE REVIEWERS: Go to the griffinmuseum.org one last
time and cut/paste your own copy of all the reviewer’s bios and
keep it at your fingertips, to refresh your memory as needed
on Reviewers you will present work to, or meet socially during
the weekend. In addition to making notes directly on these
individual pages, consider bringing a tape deck to record your
session with Reviewers (always wise to ask their permission before
hitting “record” button).
PREPARE PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR REVIEWERS:
Consider producing a business card that features an image for
easier recollection; I always appreciate it when the image matches
one the photographer shared with me at the event; this aids the
Reviewers in recalling your work and your presentation to them.
Present yourself in a professional manner by having current information
on the card.
Design/produce a simple promotional piece that will serve to
remind the Reviewers of your work as well as providing them your
contact information. I appreciate having something
in print (or CD-ROM) featuring reproduction of several images
from your body of work (all Reviewers will meet with many photographers
during this event; it never hurts to remind them visually of
Make sure it is small enough for Reviewers
to file in a traditional (8-1/2 x 11) file folder, for ease in
referencing your work. Be mindful of the possibility that materials
can become separated; put your name and contact information on
EACH individual page. If being distributed to a small group
of individuals, you can self-produce this piece and save the
expense of commercial printing. Note: this printed piece
and/or CD-ROM can do double-duty for you if it is designed to
also serve as a mailer beyond distribution at this and other
similar events. YOU MAY PREFER TO PRODUCE & SEND THIS
OUT AFTER THE EVENT, having gained insights from Reviewers as
to which images are most powerful, rather than preparing it ahead.
Shop for well-designed yet functional presentation/storage
materials. There are many options available through office
supply/art supply vendors. Be original yet functional.
Beware of metal clips/clasps as they can damage your piece(s)
in transit or when filed.
Producing a Targeted Promotional Packet for RSF: If
you are meeting with Reviewer(s) about a specific exhibition
project you would like to place, ensure that the information
provided is relevant to their needs such things as total number
of images, size, mat/frame needs, space required (linear and/or
square feet, ceiling height, panel sizes), suggestions for educational
components, AV requirements if any, and other site specific details. If
you have previously exhibited the work, perspective/installation
views are an asset to accurately interpreting the exhibition
at their venue. Likewise, if you hoping to secure
a publication contract with the Reviewer(s) for a completed body
of work, be certain to provide visually effective materials for
them to retain. Many times the person to whom you present
may not be the final decision-maker at their business or institution;
you need them to become your advocate, representing the work/project
to their colleagues after RSF towards your mutual advantage – be
sure to provide them the tools to do so!
WHEN ATTENDING THE PORTFOLIO REVIEW EVENT:
BE ON TIME! If late for your scheduled review appointment,
the time will not be made up.
REMEMBER YOUR GOALS: Be up front about your wishes – is
this a “work in progress” in which case you are seeking feedback? Are
you seeking advice regarding technique? Editing?
Presentation? Or, Are you asking for advice regarding gallery
contacts? Publishers? Museum Curators? Let the Reviewer
know at the outset what you hope to gain from this experience.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Make sure that your presentation takes
LESS than the 20-minute appointment so that you have time to
gain feedback/advice from the reviewer.
MAKE NOTES for your reference following each session on the
alphabetical sheets you prepared - who you saw, their comments
on the work and/or on specific images, printing, presentation,
general advice and other remarks you will want to review. Carry
your binder with you at all times for this purpose, and add to
it comments about Reviewers and their upcoming projects as you
learn these things from other photographers during the event. Another
idea is to make yourself a list of reminders or “prompts” to
print below the Reviewer Bios – reminder notes TO YOURSELF to
ask for their business cards, ask if they’d like to be added
to your mailing list and what format they would prefer materials
to arrive in (CD/Website, print, slides?).
Don’t assume that a reviewer would like to keep more than a
simple business or promotional card. At the end of your
session, ask if they would like to retain additional materials
for their future reference, and if so, indicate whether you can
provide these on site, or offer the courtesy to ship things to
their office following the event (at your expense). Ask
too if they would like to be kept informed of your work as it
evolves, and if so, in what format – print, CD-Rom, notices of
additions to your website, etc.
Be sure to ask Reviewers for their business card if you intend
to add them to your mailing list.
Keep your business and/or promotional cards handy and give them
out. Ask for cards from other professionals at the event
to add to (or begin) your promotional mailing list. Ask
for cards from fellow photographers, too, and keep in touch with
Be courteous to fellow photographers by respecting the 20 minute
time slot and pack up your materials before the next person’s
session with your Reviewer is set to begin.
AFTER THE EVENT:
Following up with your new contacts is essential if you want
to maximize your potential for tangible returns from this experience.
You will initiate relationships – now cultivate them.
Write each Reviewer and thank them for their insights towards
your work, advice, and their time. Send follow-up
packets within a few weeks to those who requested additional
materials at your expense (never send C.O.D. unless specifically
told to do so).
If a Reviewer encouraged you to provide more material for their
files, such as an artists' resume an overview of a current or
past project, an exhibition proposal, photocopies/laser prints
of images, sets of slides, CD-Rom or other such promotional materials. If
you wish to have these items returned to you following their
review, you must provide return postage, ideally in the form
of a pre-paid overnight delivery service such as Federal Express,
Take advice to heart:
re-edit your work, alter presentation format(s) and apply other
advice in order to enhance the returns from your next portfolio
If there were Reviewers that you had wished to meet with but
were unable to, don’t hesitate to write and express your wish
to have done so, and your interest in their becoming aware of
your work, that you look forward to showing the work at an industry
event in the near future. Add them to your mailing list. Don’t
forget to continue to share your work with your peer group between
attending such events –
critical dialogue among art makers is invaluable.
I hope that this advice will be helpful to you, and that your
career will benefit from your efforts before, during and after
attending FOCUS REVIEWS at the Griffin Museum of Photography.
Mary Virginia Swanson
About the author:
MARY VIRGINIA SWANSON is a leader in the fields of marketing
and licensing fine art photography.
It was during her tenure heading special projects at Magnum Photos
that she recognized the opportunities for artists to develop
second markets for their work, and in 1991 she founded SWANSTOCK,
an innovative agency managing licensing rights for fine art photographers. Now
consulting, lecturing and conducting workshops, Swanson is committed
to bringing photography and photographers to new markets. She
is the author of THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: PRINCIPLES
AND PRACTICES; her website URL is: www.mvswanson.com.
Swanson also maintains a popular blog, "Marketing