while we were at NYPH’09 we stopped in to read the list of people doing the Portfolio reviews for the festival. when i was looking over the previews of the festival i saw they were providing these and i said to myself, ‘jene youtt you’ve been there and have always come away feeling worst than when you began.’
it’s not that they are so bad for people i’ve had encouraging words spoken about my work as being different, but i’ve also heard from gallery owners ‘i don’t know who to sell this work to.’ my work doesn’t seem to fit into a commercial mode nor too much of a fine art market.i do manage to sell an image here and there though.
i’ve also been to portfolio reviews where nobody came around to see our work. i am not shy and went looking for who was suppose to be looking at our portfolios. i got just a passing glance but i did embarrassed them enough to have them look at the people around me. how dare they treat us so, and for this we pay a hefty fee.
but back to the subject, mary looked at the list and said we should copy them down to add to our press list. good idea, so that’s what she began to do. i put my backpack on the table gave her a pad and off she went. a young photographer put his portfolio box down on the table next to me which attracted my attention.
he looked as if his dog had just died. i empathized with him and started up a conversation asking him how the review went? he said he was disappointed in the response he got. his work covers a lot of different areas which he had included in his portfolio. he had scheduled to talk with a gallery owner and said she had ripped him apart. i’ve been there and done that so i knew how he felt.
i tried to be upbeat about reviews and said it’s hard to know what people are looking for. i did tell him that i though reviewers were looking for single themes. i’ve had the same thing happen to me at Soho Photo they want to see a submission of a single subject done different ways? i’ve been rejected by this selection committee a couple of times all for different reasons but it doesn’t really matter for what. rejection still hurts.
what to me is the cruelest is when they don’t take the time to explain to you what they don’t like about your work. they get embarrassed by the confrontation. i’ve heard some of the silliest rejections about my work. one of the funniest was ‘nobody on the committee felt like dancing after reviewing your portfolio.’ i tried to keep a straight face but the absurdity of the comment got to me. my comment to that was ‘and if i took pictures of barns they’d want to go to the country?’
a young woman came over to us at the table, she knew the other photographer and they gathered their stuff and jackets and off they went. when you are young and biological and with a pretty woman some of these everyday hurts get forgotten for a time. it’s odd how we humans only seem to remember these small nicks in our egos forever.
oh well, here’s to the next portfolio review.
mary came over finished and we went about the rest of our day, holding hands, being glad to be with each other.