organization. It was an eye-opening experience being "on the other
side" and seeing how
our own work might be evaluated when we apply to galleries or for
grants or even just
apply for a job. I learned quite a bit and thought I'd share some tips
with you. Some of
these are painfully obvious but it never hurts to repeat them, right?
Essentially I spent all day in a dark room with a group of
photographers and photo-related
professionals and we were given the task of viewing 1400 individual
images and around
300 portfolios for a total of 3800 images.
Of those images, only 5% were chosen for further consideration and
their share of over 3
million $$ in scholarships.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
All the images were judged on originality, technical skill and the
emergence of an artistic
1. Edit. Then edit. Then when you're done editing, edit some more.
Some of the projects I saw had great individual photos but the editing
was poor and those
2. The image itself is the most important. Judges were more forgiving
"mistakes" or even sloppiness or lack of skill if the image itself was strong.
3. Body of work
Only show one body of work. Don't try to show versatility in style or
consistent. The judges wanted to see a singular vision. Even if we
didn't agree on the
message of the work or if we didn't like individual images, the
portfolios were still placed
in the next round if the overall body of work was strong.
Show your singular vision by exploring an idea fully. Some portfolios
showed the genesis
on an idea but didn't explore it and those were rejected.
4. Unlike what conventional wisdom would dictate, try to place most,
if not all, your
stronger images in the front or beginning of your portfolio. While this sounds
counterintuitive, the reality of judging so many portfolios meant that
many were not
viewed fully. For example, the portfolios contained 8 images each. If
the judges did not
like the series by the fourth image, the entire series was dismissed
and we moved on to
5. Engage the audience emotionally.
Some portfolios were technically competent and consistent and overall
they were "fine" but
left us emotionally flat. Those were the first to get dismissed.
Hope this was helpful. If you have any thoughts to add please let me know.