I received an email from ASMPNY Chapter President Stephen Mallon to be a reviewer for the ASMPNY Portfolio Review. The review took place last night at the Tribeca Skyline Studio and was free for all ASMP members.

I’ve never done an event like this before so it was an interesting learning experience for me. I’m used to one-on-one appointments with photographers at the office but this was a whole new world. It was speed dating meets portfolio reviewing! Having never done speed dating this may not be an accurate statement but reviewers were given little kitchen timers and told to set it to 10 minutes per photographer. The timer was awkward because it felt like a race but definitely helpful because I can lose track of time when talking photography.

My approach to the review was the simple introduction and a quick explanation of what kind of work I do at my current agency. Then I would go through the book page by page. In general I don’t like to make any major input until I’ve seen the whole book, with the exception of the general comment about liking a certain photo while flipping through. The primary criticisms that I expressed to the photographers was the need for editing for consistency and editing to make a viewer understand what their area of expertise is.

Here’s a list of the photographers that I met with:

Andrew Holbrooke 
Antfarm Photography 
Bruce Katz 
Dan Bigelow 
Dirk Anschutz 
James Worrell 
Jason Gardner 
John Loomis 
Jon Wasserman 
Matt Greenslade 
Maynard Switzer 
Metin Oner 
Paul B Goode 
Robert A Ripps 

Before the event I went back to a book I once read while in college called “Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images” by Terry Barrett. I found this excerpt useful when talking with photographers about their work.

An artist’s interpretation of his or her work should meet the same criteria as anyone else’s interpretation of that same work: Does it make sense? Does it offer insight? Is it interesting? Does it engage other interpretations? Is it reasonable and backed by evidence? Is there sufficient reason, in addition to the fact that it comes from the artist, to accept it as a good interpretation and a worthy judgement?

Photographers make decisions on why a certain photo is in their book and there’s a lot of emotion attached to that decision. This quote reminds me us that there’s always a need to take a step back and look objectively at a photo and what purpose it serves in the portfolio.

All in all it was a great night, I enjoyed meeting a variety of photographers. There was a dinner at Bubby’s afterwards for the portfolio reviewers and ASMPNY board members. It was a great time to share our experiences from the review process. The full list of the reviewers can be seen here. I did not take photos as I should have for the blog but the night was so busy I didn’t get a chance to pull out my camera. I have 1 shot from when I got to my review table and 1 shot from the end of the night at dinner.

Thanks ASMPYNY for organizing such a great community-building event and thanks to Tribeca Skyline Studio for letting us use your space!

IMG_1958 table
IMG_1960 girls
Photo Agent Jacqueline Bovaird of Glasshouse and Art Buyer Mea Tefka of JWT

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  1. Great to meet you last night Cecilia — it was my first review as well and not at all the mob scene that I envisioned. Hope you had fun… Best, -John

    • 2 Cecilia Marshall

      Great to meet you as well John, I’ve added your blog to my blogroll.

  2. Hey, lovely to see you at the event, thank you for your comments about my work.
    I passed Bubby’s on the way home and thought about getting some late dinner but kept on truckin. Hope it was good, used to go there every weekend when I lived down there.

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