Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the newly redesigned New England Portfolio Reviews* at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. The Griffin basically took over these reviews from the PRC because of the recent troubles that organization is having. (edit – The Griffin and PRC actually used to jointly host the reviews at BU)
*(What are portfolio reviews? I’ll have a longer article posting shortly, but they are basically a chance to show your photography to various photo professionals for feedback and exposure).
As someone who attended two previous NEPRs, I was very happy with the new, more intimate arrangement. Instead of 80 or so photographers on the BU campus, this one had 20 per day at the Griffin Museum itself and a proportionally smaller group of reviewers.
Because of the smaller size, though, I felt that the entire proceeding was more informal and that it was easier to interact both with other photographers and the reviewers themselves. The provided lunches also helped people interact, as reviewers and photographers mingled during lunch as well, allowing for more relaxed conversations.
One downside to this arrangement, of course, is that less photographers are able to attend. The buzz at the reviews was that they plan on having reviews more than once per year to help address this situation — I hope that is indeed the case.
The other big difference from the previous reviews was the introduction of an educational component. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings the proceedings started with a lecture by Mary Virginia Swan and a panel (on Saturday) and a lecture by Jennifer Schwartz of Crusade for Art on Sunday. I found both days to be very worthwhile and I wish they had an even longer panel discussion — that in particular was very useful for me.
Elin Spring, who writes a wonderful and must-read blog for anyone interested in fine art photography in New England, wrote a summary of the reviews from her perspective, too, including highlighting work that she saw there (including mine, so thank you!).
One of the best things about these sort of reviews is to meet other photographers and to see their work in person. Photographers who I talked to during the event included Sean Sullivan, Jane Yudelman, Bob Avakian, Susan Lapides, Cattie Coyle, Taylor Hopkins, and Lucas James (link to his blog post about the reviews), and I heartily recommend checking out their sites. And my apologies if I missed somebody!
I found the less formal version of the NEPR to be a great opportunity and look forward to future events.