FotoFest!

FotoFest!

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FotoFest
2008
is now in full swing. It kicked off on March 7th, and as usual, has a
tremendous calendar of exhibitions, events, panels, and workshops. One of the
biggest impacts FotoFest has had on the industry has been through its portfolio
review segment, called “Meeting Place“. These folks wrote the book on the
portfolio review; there are fourteen days of meetings scheduled with curators,
dealers, reps, collectors, and editors. Participants can register for either a
four-day or six-day session, and are guaranteed at least four meetings a day.

My
sense has always been that the photographers who are going to get the most out
of a time and cost-intensive review like FotoFest are those with already strong
and cohesive projects that they’re shopping for publication or exhibition (which, as we all know, can keep us in procrastination purgatory forever). But
after speaking with Lisa M. Robinson, a FotoFest success story, I feel a little
differently.

Robinson,
whose beautiful book Snowbound
has just been published by Kehrer Verlag, has been a presence at
FotoFest since 2004, when she first started showing images from the series and
looking for feedback. In 2004, “the work was at a very early stage, and I found
the reviews very encouraging. It was really an opportunity to plant seeds on a
project that I can now follow through on.” Lisa has been very proactive about
creating a presence for herself at portfolio events, including PhotoLucida and Rhubarb-Rhubarb. And it has been a
process; when the book came out this year, many thought she was on the scene
out of the blue, but in fact, she has been “building these relationships for
years”.

The
work itself is stunning, having been produced over five consecutive winters.

lisa1.jpg

Valhalla, 2007

lisa4.jpg

 Solo, 2007

I
called Lisa to ask about the festival, and found her super-busy with
Snowbound-related activities. She’ll
be sitting on a panel on Sunday the 16th called “Publishing Photo
Books Today”, and she has a book signing on Monday. She’s also still showing
the imagery to people who have not seen it, specifically international curators.
And now she’s working on acquisitions.

On
that panel will also be Mary Virginia Swanson, a renowned consultant and industry
mainstay. She’ll also be reviewing portfolios with other reviewers who include Sue
Brisk from Magnum, Lesley A. Martin from Aperture, German GEO‘s Nadja Masri,
Paula Gillen from the New Yorker, Brian Clamp of CLAMPART, and MANY more. It’s
an embarrassment of photo riches.  If you
DO go to Houston, don’t go unprepared, even if your project is still in its
infant stages. Mary Virginia Swanson gives her tips for how to present a
portfolio here.


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