2011 Photolucida Portfolio Reviews
I recently returned from my trip to Portland, Oregon where I attended the 2011 Photolucida Portfolio Reviews. Photolucida is held every other year at The Benson Hotel. It is considered to be one of the top review festivals in the country, with photographers being selected by lottery. The Benson is a beautiful grand hotel with amazing woodwork and huge crystal chandeliers, and is the perfect venue for Photolucida.
There were 62 photography reviewers at the four day event. Each photographer was permitted to select and meet with 16-18 reviewers. Each review is a one-on-one session lasting 20 minutes. It’s a bit like what I imagine the speed dating experience to be. In that short time, there are introductions, small talk, presentation of work, explanation of the work, questions and feedback from the reviewer, handing over of leave-behind materials, and a cordial goodbye. During my reviews, I received invaluable feedback about my work from an array of prominent photography curators and gallery owners, including Susan Spiritus of Susan Spiritus Gallery, Jason Landry of Panopticon Gallery and Harris Fogel of Sol Mednick Gallery and Gallery 1401, just to mention a few.
On the opening night there was a fantastic event, the Portfolio Walk, held in the Sunken Ballroom of the Portland Art Museum. The Walk was open to the public allowing all to view work from the attending photographers. Since there were 160 photographers, the walk consisted of three rounds, with roughly 50 photographers showing work at a time. There was a great turnout with hundreds of people attending.
One fantastic aspect of Photolucida is a large ballroom at The Benson, which serves as a breakout / informal meeting room for photographers to hang out, look at each others work, and recharge. Additionally, above and beyond the set schedule of reviews over the four days, photographers also had the opportunity during downtime to spontaneously meet with “roving” reviewers in the Crystal Ballroom or “The Pit”, as they referred to it.
Also, many of the galleries in downtown Portland were open Saturday evening for the Pearl District “Gallery Walk”. One gallery I popped into was the wonderful Blue Sky Gallery, which was exhibiting landscape photographers Mitch Dobrowner, who photographs storms, and Michael Light, who does fantastic aerial photography. Blue Sky also hosted the Photolucida closing party.
Michael also had in the exhibition two huge books, which were supported by the coolest industrial stands!
Mitch Dobrowner’s wonderful storm series…
I hope to be chosen in the lottery again next time, as this was a very valuable and enjoyable experience, and Portland is a very cool city (when it’s not raining)