APA Portfolio Review 10/2013

Earlier this month at Tchiat-Day’s Playa del Rey location APA had the 2nd of its yearly portfolio reviews. I think there were 9 reviewers (maybe seven) from a decent cross section of the commercial field with one editorial and a fine art person. I go because I’m a volunteer and it’s one of the best ways to get me out of the house to meet these people. I don’t believe that I travel in the same circles where I would casually run into any of these people and you know a direct cold call is a likely candidate for voice mail.

This event seems less hectic than most of the other reviews given the organization and the calm environment of tbwa. At least, this is what I overheard. Admittedly, I was armed with fatigue from the prior day’s documentary shoot that ran long and a knowledge that I didn’t want anyone’s critique. I tried to get the reviewers to talk mostly about themselves since I know enough about me. For the most part there was enough give and take. I do have to admit to the humor of being the constant anomaly is wearing thin.

Kevin Steele was there again (one of my favorite action photographers) and it’s always interesting for me to see the far more established cats like him there. He knew all of the reviewers already so he was there for a refresh. That’s a reminder to those who think they can drop the mic after the first verse: the beat goes on.

Given that Heidi & Anthony had to leave early, Cesar (the other volunteer) and I packed up the joint then split. On the drive back to the laboratory I pondered the place between futility and progression. One of the reviewers said length of time that you’ve been shooting doesn’t matter and I’ve seen that to be true. How you pursue your opportunities while generating imagery that moves your target is paramount.

And that is part of the conflict for me in my lifelong battle of intrinsic reward versus get gigs. I had one reviewer earlier (who I had met in the past but didn’t have this time) in passing ask me the question similar to asking an actor “what restaurant do you work at?” It wasn’t meant that way but it was. That’s what a lot of entrenched people think given photography’s democratization in these transitional times.

This week I’ve been working on spec commercials, composites and data mining. Maybe next week I’ll take that lady’s order. Maybe next week she’ll be taking mine.

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