Portfolio or Instagram page REVIEWs
I love doing portfolio reviews and have been fortunate to do them in groups as well as one on one. Having the courage to ask other artists for their input on your work is the first step towards separating your ego from your art. Often we become our biggest fans, which is ok to some extent, but ultimately it’s important to create distance from your craft. I think portfolio reviews are becoming a lost art. At least on the entry to pro am level. Yes there are the gold standard reviews every year, FORMAT, CENTER, The New York Portfolio Review, FILTER Festival and on. But those are geared towards established fine art photographers, usually involve upfront expenses, travel, entry fees and often have limited space. In the end tho, gaining access to those reviews, if you’re at that point in your career, can really take you to the next level.
But what if you’re just starting out?
Well, it’s not easy. You may not even know any other artists. For this reason, I think many have turned to Instagram for “pseudo” peer reviews. I completely understand but this is dangerous and mis-guided. Likes and comments on Instagram certainly have merit of course. But Instagram is a platform designed to up vote images. Algorithms do their alogratghimy things and there then are some comments below. That’s just the way it is. It’s not designed to recommend what sequence your images should take, if your images are technically sound etc.
Asking others to provide guidance is often eyeopening. At least it has been for me. Many times in the past when someone has been reviewing my work, they’ve received it in a way that I never anticipated. This is good! It’s part of the growing process. Perhaps I laid out the images in a way that I wanted them to be received but the reviewer rearranged them creating an entirely different storyline. So cool! It’s critical to keep an open mind throughout the process, listen and take notes.
That said, I’d like to start using my Instagram platform, in particular my Instagram Stories as a community space to share interesting and engaging work with my viewers. Not a review per se but a chance to help get some exposure. I get DM’d and commented ALL the time asking for shout outs and requests to look at others work. Cool, but I’d like it to be an open review so everyone can get inspired and learn. So… comment below with your IG name and I’ll start reviewing or drop me a DM, or better yet, help me help you, like and comment on my next Instagram post. TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS so my work can get seen. I’ll help you, you help me. At this point I’ll probably only do one or two artists per week, but if there’s interest I’m game to do more. Keep in mind, the attention span on Instagram Stories is minuscule. Stories need to be less than 1 min. So the “reviews” will be more like a few comments regarding your page and “portfolio”.
What am I looking for? Well… I’ll know it when I see it lol. But here are some basic guidelines, YOU MUST HAVE AT LEAST 30 IMAGES on your page. I need something to look at, as a whole. Any topic, genre or interest, whatever your jam is. I don’t care. BUT I will be looking for consistency and cohesiveness. How do the images interplay? Do they tell a story on an individual basis? Or as a whole? Or both? If you have a picture of a bird then pictures of cars, do they compliment each other?
Hopefully someone steps up! Be confident! Besides… it’s free!