Photography Portfolios – What Do We Do Next

One year ago today, Mark Murray and I presented a workshop about photography portfolios at the 2012 Spring JEA/NSPA National Convention. He and I have presented together for several years. How we present changes each time, because each convention space influences the presentation. The rooms are different sizes. Some conventions have more workshops and fewer people. Technology constantly changes, so we try to adapt. We try to keep it simple, while at the same time providing valuable information.

Mark Murray and Bryan Farley teach a Photography Portfolio Workshop at the 2012 Spring National Student Journalism Convention in Seattle, Washington. (Bryan Farley)

Mark and I practice simple complexity, a term my educator step-father referenced during the discussion thread of my Simple Man post.  In our presentation, we simplify many fast moving complex dynamics that we cannot always predict. (Dr. Hannah Fry explains complexity science during a short TEDx video, “Is life really that complex?”)  

 

Mark Murray and Bryan Farley teach a Photography Portfolio Workshop at the 2012 Spring National Student Journalism Convention in Seattle, Washington. (Bryan Farley)

How is complexity theory relevant? Well, we still teach students the simple lesson that “First Impressions” influence perceptions; however, photographers cannot control which image is viewed first. Now that online portfolios can be accessed as galleries, a potential portfolio reviewer (or customer) might see thumbnails with several photos. I cannot even control which galleries will appear first during a search (nor do I always want to control what will be searched.) Our simple lesson that weaker images “pull down” a portfolio actually is supported by the more complex technology shifts.  When students see fifteen photos on the screen, the students understand how a bad photo affects impressions.

At the 2012 Spring JEA Convention in Seattle, Mark Murray assists with the Photography Critique at the Seattle, Washington State Convention Center. (bryan farley)

Mark and I also assist Bradley Wilson with the large group photo critiques. There are a few hundred participants seated. The judges discuss what makes a good photo (or what does not.) We keep it simple, even though we realize that taking a moving 3-D object and putting it on a two dimensional surface is challenging.  What we choose to discuss is the simple complexity.

In the title, I ask What Do We Do Next? I had asked the question at the end of the discussion thread about Seattle when I was responding to one of the organizers for the 2014 convention. (I am one of the 2013 convention organizers where Mark and I present again.)  I have noticed recently that internet search has created a new level of complexity. My smart phone and my laptop are connected AND the search terms seem to influence my Pandora. My dreams might also be affected. Tonight in San Diego. I noticed that my internet searches reveal different responses than my searches earlier this week in Oakland, even for something as simple as a Jewel song lyric I had quoted. When I fly away tomorrow, I will check again.

When Mark and I started our portfolio presentation, students used matte board. We recommended that students purchase a domain. I own mine and I always search my own name in each city and find amusing results. Next year will we even suggest that students search? If so, what will they find?

Comments

comments

4 Responses to “Photography Portfolios – What Do We Do Next”

  1. Bryan Farley says:

    Mark Murray I posted this last night about our photography portfolio presentations. (One year ago we presented in Seattle.) How have we changed our presentation during the years, especially regarding technology? Do you notice anything interesting regarding search when you travel? What is more complicated?

  2. Bryan Farley said:

    Mark Murray I posted this last night about our photography portfolio presentations. (One year ago we presented in Seattle.) How have we changed our presentation during the years, especially regarding technology? Do you notice anything interesting regarding search when you travel? What is more complicated?

    at 6:47 pm on April 14, 2013

    [Comment imported]

  3. bryan farley says:

    Zach Hetrich, one of the former students whose portfolio we use during our presention, shot the cover for Adweek this week.

    http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/what-mudvertising-and-why-are-marketers-diving-149785 (May 28, 2013)

  4. […] I helped create a college fair in a county that did not have one. When I felt that I was ignorant about photography portfolios, I learned. I learned a […]

Leave a Reply