Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Review Sante Fe 2009...
At the Friday evening Portfolio Viewing Event.
What an amazing experience in Santa Fe. Exhausting and my brain is definitely in overload mode right now but if anyone was to ask was it worth it?...Definitely. On many levels. Initially the experience of preparing your work, preparing your thoughts, and researching the reviewers was super valuable in and of itself. I was thrilled to receive most of my top picks, and was glad to get this information ahead of time so I could do further research on the reviewers and know what I wanted to get out of each meeting. The lottery system must be working well since many photographers that I met with were also pleased with the choices they received. Perhaps it would be good if the reviewers also knew who they were meeting with ahead of arriving in Santa Fe and maybe if they could even put in their top picks too.
Reviewers Darius Himes, Katherine Ware, and Charlotte Cotton at the Sunday seminar "Words Without Pictures: Considering Contemporary Photography."
Twenty minutes goes fast and my meetings were so varied. I had some really good, positive ones, one really insightful--although tough one (but to put it a little into perspective--she does not like Loretta Lux's work at all, whose work I do really like although I have always been a little surprised why her career took off the way it did), one that started off like a grad school critique (which I am way beyond) but later had some interesting feedback, and some other interesting conversations and referrals although nothing earth shattering. I think attendees need to realize that not everyone is going to like your work or be a fit with you and that's okay. I spoke to a few photographers who had some really rough reviews. All I can say is don't take it personally. Be confident in your work and if there is some constructive ideas that you can take from that meeting --great. But don't let it make you question everything that you do.
My most memorable formal meetings were with Katherine Ware, Charlotte Cotton, Debra Klomp Ching, and Anthony Bannon. And a special shout out to Melanie McWhorter who just sent me an email link to a call for entry for a show on childhood. It really is all about networking.
I also got to meet some other reviewers on an informal basis either at the open Portfolio Viewing night or more socially. I really enjoyed meeting Whitney Johnson, Kevin Miller, Elizabeth Avedon, Catherine Edelman, David Laidler and David Bram.
© Elizabeth Fleming, Brad Moore.
And now to the photographers. What an amazing community of diverse, interesting, talented people. Between reviews you could peek at portfolios or just chat or retreat to your room for a break. If you ate at the hotel restaurant which was often a necessity in terms of timing, you could always eat with someone you had met or eat with someone new. (Footnote: the hotel isn't situated right downtown but when I had the time to go downtown the hotel was very accommodating in terms of taking me down and picking me up from their sister location in town. I never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes.) And the social events of course gave more opportunity for meeting people.
It was wonderful to hang out with Elizabeth Fleming who I had been in touch with online before. And I really like Brad Moore's work so it was great to see it in person at the portfolio viewing night although he wasn't at his table when I had a chance to come by, but I did finally get to meet him on the last day at lunch. Here are a few other photographers I really enjoyed meeting: Melissa Kaseman, Mark Menjivar, Kevin Miyazaki, Meggan Gould, Teri Fullerton, Sarah Faust, Dornith Doherty, Jonathan Blaustein, Anthony Marchetti, Graham Miller (a fellow Aussie, along with reviewers Kevin Miller and Debra Klomp Ching), Sonja Thomsen, Jesse Burke, Polly Gaillard, Olga Chagaoutdinova, Kerry Mansfield, Stefanie Motta, Georg Kuettinger, Meg Birnbaum, Claire Beckett, Curtis Wehrfritz and many more!
I feel like I made some really good contacts. I am realistic about things taking time, and think about this experience in terms of building connections for the future. I feel fairly confident that one day, one of the connections I made at Santa Fe will help me in my career path. Stay tuned...