I'm about to spend four days up to my eyebrows in photography at Photolucida. We spend two years organizing this event and it is a doozy. We'll be hosting 150+ photographers from all over the country and world, plus 60 gallerists, museum curators, photobook publishers, magazine editors, and collectors. We pair them up in many, many, many (!) twenty-minute meetings over the course of four days. The photographers display their images and the reviewers give them helpful feedback. Photographers walk away with new connections, offers to exhibit and publish, and tons of new ideas about their work. It's wildly inspiring and profoundly exhausting at the same time. Whew!
Anyway, what it got me thinking is this: creating a portfolio can sound nerve-wracking, confusing, or out of your league - but the reality is that it just takes intention and time. You don't just trip over a finished portfolio. Portfolios don't happen effortlessly for talented photographers. If you haven't made one, it's not because you're a wreck of an artist - it's just that you haven't given the process focused energy and attention. Yet.
Intention + Energy = Better Art
When you do give your art real energy and attention, amazing things happen. You start to see more connections between disparate images, styles, and techniques. You start to see threads of meaning and consistency - and you start to gain greater direction and purpose as an artist. It feels really good to start making real progress like this.
Portfolio building is essentially a way to go deeper than any single image can take you. You find a subject you love, and then you immerse yourself in it. It feels rich, engaging, and supportive (because, your subject gives you direction). I love teaching about how to do this, because it's a process that has given me so much joy and fulfillment over the years.
You can make a visionary portfolio. Class starts May 2nd.
Right on the heels of my crazy Photolucida event, I'll be teaching my Visionary Portfolio e-course. It's a fire-lighting kind of class, so if you're craving some extra direction or searching for greater meaning with your photography right now, this is a great time to join. I'm also offering a special mentoring registration option for photographers who want one-on-one time during the course. All the details are right here.
“I had taken Laura’s other online courses, but not this one because I thought I had no interest in creating a “portfolio.” To me the word meant preparing work for exhibition. And, how wrong I was! While this certainly can be a great goal, this course for me was much more about inner exploration, exploring personal themes, and building a coherent body of work no matter the end goal. I now look at my existing work in a very different way and I have found a clear path for moving forward. A great gift, indeed.” Patricia Hogan
"I was stymied about my future direction in photography and you have armed me with an entire arsenal of ideas and exciting new pathways.” Christopher Drake
Come say hello!
If you're in the Portland area and you want to get in on the Photolucida action this weekend, come out to the Portfolio Walk (pictured above) at the Portland Art Museum (Fields Ballroom, Mark Building) on Thursday from 6-9pm. We bill the event like this: "See more photography in one night than most people see in a lifetime!" It's really true - it's a massive education in contemporary photography. It's also really inspiring to see what other artists are doing. I'll probably be running around like a headless chicken...but it would be great to see you. You'll know me because I'm about as tall as your average ostrich...and I'll be wearing a name tag. See you there!