Last week I left Minneapolis’ snow and cold* to travel down to FotoFest in Houston for five days to meet with publishers, gallery owners, curators and collectors. I went to primarily show DARK MATTER (twenty gravures in a hand made portfolio case) but I also took a selection of platinum prints. This was my first portfolio review and I didn’t really know what to expect.
FotoFest is all about networking and meeting your peers, not just the reviewers, so I’m glad that I got to meet and hang around with some amazing talent – Mara Trachtenburg, Ron Cowie, Yvette Marie Dostatni and Sal Lopes, Paul Smead, Paolo Parma, Alexandros Lambrovassilis, Jim Vecchi, Svjetlana Tepavcevic, Ryuten Paul Rosenblum and Galina Kurlat amongst the many, many other talented photographers that were there. It was such a pleasure to meet you all. Just promise you’ll forgive me if I’ve omitted your name from this list.
The organisers guarantee a minimum of sixteen reviews between Saturday and Tuesday and I was scheduled to meet with eighteen. Travel plans change and you may not necessarily get some of the reviewers you request, so they allow you to trade and fill empty review slots which meant that, when all was said and done, I finally got to meet and show my work to twenty one reviewers over the course of the four day session.
On the Sunday evening all the photographers were invited to show their work during Open Portfolio. This is open to everyone; the public, the reviewers and the other participant photographers. I had two reviewers, who I wasn’t scheduled to see, ask me to find them the next day to show work – which is always a good sign. I had been allocated table space that was situated against a back wall and with two or three other photographers either side, so I couldn’t get out to look at everyone’s work without being fairly disruptive. Or more so than normal.
Overall the experience was great. There were proposals to purchase both the DARK MATTER portfolio and individual platinum prints, subject to acquisitions committees. There were offers of exhibitions and a workshop. There were connections and suggestions made. So now I have to follow up, act on their advice and keep that ball rolling and the plates spinning.
*Unfortunately I returned to more of Minneapolis’ snow and cold the next week…