The Portfolio Project

What is the Portfolio Project?

The Portfolio Project is designed to assist NVPS members in developing a cohesive collection of images suitable for presentation to art directors at display venues, as well as to friends and family.  All members are encouraged to join the project regardless of their level of experience.  Specifically, this is not a competition, everyone’s work is reviewed individually and not compared to the work of anyone else in the group.  The project is designed to help each person hone their skills and learn the art of self-critique.  In all cases these should be your best images.

The project runs from September to May.  There will be a mid-project review to offer suggestions, and a final review in May where participants will present their finished images.

Members will work on identifying a theme, writing an Artist Statement and compiling their best images to support their theme.  Previously made images are allowed, but participants are also encouraged to add new work to their portfolios.

Portfolios in progress are kept in a private group gallery on Dropbox, accessed only by participants.  After the final review the gallery will be transferred to the club website.  Past portfolios are available for viewing at https://nvps.smugmug.com/NVPSGallery/PortfolioProject and in the archives at https://nvps.smugmug.com/Archives/Portfolios.   Members who are thinking of joining the Portfolio Project are strongly urged to look through the past portfolios.  Doing so will give a good idea of how other people had developed their theme and presented images that worked together as a whole concept. 

Choosing a Theme:

Choosing a concept is the first step and some people have started with more than one idea.  As the project progresses it is usually obvious that one concept is stronger or more appealing and will take precedence.  Visit the club’s Portfolio Project gallery to see what other people have done over the years.  The subjects have varied greatly, but what will stand out is that there is a cohesiveness to each collection following the theme.  After choosing a theme the next step is to craft an Artist Statement.  

The Artist Statement:

The Artist Statement tells the viewer your intent in making the portfolio and is where you tell why you are interested in the subject.  It is not used as a biography.  Nor is it used to list your equipment, unless your purpose was the exploration of a particular lens, such as a fisheye, or camera type, such as a pinhole or cell phone.  Most viewers will lose interest in an artist statement that is more than one or two paragraphs long and will just skip to the images.  Make your narrative short and concise, just concentrate on what and why.  Preferably leave out references to the project or the club as your reason for the collection, make this about you and your work.  Read the statement out loud to see how it sounds; and find someone else to read it and tell you what they think.  There is a good article on writing an Artist Statement on the website at https://www.ebsqart.com/Education/Articles/Business-and-Marketing/14/How-to-Artist-Statement/75/ .

Your Purpose Will Dictate the Final Presentation:

You could be doing this project purely for experience and for personal growth as a photographer.  You could be thinking about images for gifts to friends and family, for a holiday calendar or coffee table book to display, or for quality images to hang on your walls.  This will dictate your final project presentation, consider prints, book, poster or digital display.

If you are thinking about using the project to develop a professional folio for advertising and presentation to galleries, you will want to differ your approach somewhat.  You can present your images as prints in a presentation box, or as a folio.  A cohesive presentation will be foremost, images should have the same orientation, both portrait and landscape orientation are okay, but the two should be grouped separately.  And images should be sized so that at least one side of the images is equal and with framing as opposed to being printed edge to edge.  For instance, if your folio size is 11X14 you could size the images at 8X11 and increase the canvas sizes to 11X14, giving the images a uniform border.  In a professional folio of your best images it is reasonable to have different subject matter, if so, the images should be arranged in galleries as opposed to being mixed together.  You should be able to update your folio, changing images as you grow as a professional, so choose a folio where pages can be added over time. 

The Reviews:

An intermediate review will be held mid-project where each participant will have their images projected during a club meeting and the reviewer, either individual or panel, will offer suggestions as to the direction and effectiveness of the artist statement and images.  As there can be a large group participating there will only be time to show 12 to 15 images from any one person.  As stated before, this is not a competition, it is a learning experience.  Each portfolio is addressed individually.  The same format is used for the final review and each participant will bring in their final project to share. 

Sign-up

Contact one of the project coordinators at the club meetings or via email to sign-up or for additional information.  Coordinators for the 2019-2020 season will be Ginger Werz-Petricka, Lynn Cates and Willa Seigel. Their contact information is shown in the “Board Contacts” page here.