Posted October 04, 2011 in Member News
Christina Z. Anderson
SPE Website Portfolio thoughts.
Over the last month or so I've been browsing the member portfolios on the SPE website, and I'd like to share some website tips and then direct the reader to a few noteworthy projects:
If posting work on the SPE website, it would be oh-so-helpful to post a short bio on the member page and then a portfolio artist statement for each and every portfolio (hint: usually bios are written third person singular, artist statements first person singular). I found myself often wanting more information about the photographer and the work. Contrary to the popular saying, pictures are not worth a thousand words. See Megan Dunbar's bio and artist statement for an example (plus look at her pinhole photographs, a new take on Sherman).
Second, the first picture in the portfolio will be that portfolio's introduction image, and should be chosen carefully. It should be easily graspable at 1-inch square and inform the body of work. Since member's portfolios first show in groups of twenty, and then that thumbnail leads to the member in particular, twenty members are essentially "competing" for attention on one page. Make that intro image a winner.
Third, why share a portfolio of only 1-3 images? Having 10 in each body of work would be ideal. 1-3 doesn't tell enough of a story, or else says the project has not been fleshed out.
Fourth, make sure the ten images in the portfolio are cohesive and coherent so the portfolio can be understood. The statement of old that a person spends 4 seconds looking at a photograph on a gallery wall is probably generous for the click-and-go generation.
Fifth, only 80 or so of the 329 portfolios are visible to the public, the rest are visible only to members. Why not to the public? It's a great way to showcase your work. And with SPE's membership approaching 2000, the website is obviously underutilized.
Now, some very brief comments directing the viewer to just a few of the many noteworthy portfolios. The first: Jacinda Russell's and Amy Stevens' portfolios dealing with the symbol of decorated cakes. Some lucky raffle winner came away from the Atlanta raffle with one of Russell's cake images and it wasn't me. Russell's cakes are understated and elegant, symbolizing unmet expectations, yet the surrounding turquoise waters hints at hope and clarity. Stevens' cakes are over the top, Martha Stewart gone awry, decorative ad nauseum, dark humor and gendered messages abounding. There is no hope that this woman will win Pillsbury's Bakeoff. How fitting a symbol of domesticity and perfection is the decorated cake, and aptly used by these women.
Then there is Peggy Shaw's Hover Portfolio, evocative; Raleigh Rodger's altered realities; Cara Wade's mordançages; Bridgette Broughman Via Gaze and Scalpel; Adam Thorman's milk jug caught by brilliant light, wrinkled couch cushion evidence of years of someone, Alexander Hellner's airplane photographs of developments in different parts of the world in contrast with Daniel Kariko's project on Florida development, Jimmy Fike's botanical taxonomy, Daniel George's Natural Selection, and Christopher Jordan' suburban sublime, which gives a nod to Todd Hido but the use of blur takes the project in another direction. Happy browsing!