One of my favorite ways to get to know new work is through the competition Critical Mass. As a Juror, we have a chance to see ten of your images, read your artist’s statement, learn from you what your final print process is, your preferred presentation size, price, and more. I can’t tell you how many photographers I meet at portfolio review events whose work seems familiar to me.. and I realize that they submitted to Critical Mass, and it allowed me to get to know their work for the first time, or update industry professionals on their projects. And I applaud giving the top prize winners BOOKS of their work. I love the fact that I can spend weeks reviewing the submissions and judge from CD-Rom when on airplanes over a period of weeks, allowing for thorough consideration of the work and my final rankings. Recently I have been reviewing the judging discs from previous years and can tell you that editing an sequencing DOES matter. I’ll be looking at work, completely engaged, then out of the blue the photographer decides to also show work from a complete different discipline. This challenges one’s focus on your work.
My best advice: submit 10 images that are coherent as a group. EDIT! Each image should add to the strength of the submission; don’t throw a curve ball into the submission, to show how broad your capabilities are… Carefully consider which image you elect to identify as “signature” from the submission, which will be used on the checklist we receive. If the selection of images you submit comes from a larger project or series, tell us. Provide us with titles. Write about your work with clarity.
The competition website can be found by clicking here. You will find a list of those pre-screening the work, and the Jurors who will review the submission of 175 finalists, on the site. I look forward to seeing your work this fall during the Critical Mass judging period.
From the event website:
The aim of Critical Mass, and all Photolucida programming, is to provide participants with career-building opportunities and to promote the best emerging and mid-career artists working today.
Critical Mass is a program about exposure and community. The idea is simple- photographers (from anywhere) submit a 10 image portfolio for $75. This work then gets pre-screened by a committee of 25 great jurors and from there, 175 top finalists are determined. These top finalists then pay an additional submission fee and their work goes on to a jury of approximately 200 of the world’s best curators, editors, and professionals who have agreed to vote on these finalists. From these votes, two or three photographers receive book awards and once the monographs are published, everyone who enters and reviews will receive copies of the books.
We are pleased to continue to give scholarships to pre-selected photographers by geographical region. In 2007, we gave scholarships to Polish photographers, this year the focus will be on photographers from Mexico.”