To my readers:

I am pleased to tell you that I have merged my blog into my updated website. On my new homepage you will see the three most recent blog posts, as well as being able to navigate through the blog categories directly at any time.   You will also easily find “PLANNING AHEAD: Industry Events of Note” as its own category, as well as my event calendar “MVS ON THE ROAD” prominently featured on the new website.  Click here now:

I’m sure you will find the new combined blog AND website an even greater resource!

Thanks so much for visiting the past five years, and hope you will bookmark my new website.

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MVS to speak in Maine, Thursday August 6, 8 p.m.

I will be speaking this Thursday within the weekly faculty presentations at the Maine Media Workshops, a lecture series that is open to the community and free to all.  I hope to see many of you there! 

Thursday, August 6th, 8 p.m.

Location: Union Hall, on the main street of Rockport, overlooking the beautiful Rockport Harbor, a stone’s throw from Timothy Whelan’s fantastic bookstore.

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Creative Capital’s Professional Development Workshops for 2009: Orlando, Kansas City, Missoula, Tucson, San Antonio, Harrisburg and Penland

Creative Capital is an incredible organization that has a range of offerings for artists and arts organizations, you should all familiarize yourself with its contributions to the arts.   A favorite program of mine:  PDP, the Professional Development Program, launched in 2003.  This year the PDP workshops are coming to the cities listed above.

For a full list of workshops offered, dates and cities, click here; sign up for the e-newsletter here.

From the website“Who is the Creative Capital Professional Development Program for?  While the workshops are useful for artists in all disciplines and at any stage in their careers, they are geared towards artists who have made a serious commitment to the pursuit of a professional artistic practice. Our participants are individuals who create, on an ongoing basis, original works of art and are pursuing this work as a means of livelihood or a way to achieve the highest level of professional recognition. PDP is designed to build on the readiness of artists who are able and willing to take full responsibility for directing their careers.”

For a link to the calendar for these workshops, click here.  The next city is ORLANDO, FLORIDA on February 20-22.

From the website listing for the Orlando event:

“If you are interested in applying to participate in this workshop, please contact Morgan Lewis via email at

If your city is not listed, why not encourage your local arts organization to become a partner and sponsor a PDP workshop in the future?

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a Creative Capital PDP event, and continue your education on effective management of your artistic life.

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MAGNUM Booksigning at Aperture Gallery, Monday 15th 7:00 p.m.

Magnum Holiday Book Party

Book signing and Reception
Monday, December 15, 2008, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555


Join Aperture Monday evening as we host the Magnum Holiday Book Party, with over twenty Magnum photographers including Elliott Erwitt, Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr, Paul Fusco, Larry Towell, Martine Franck, Paolo Pellegrin, Richard Kalvar, Mark Power, Peter Marlow, and many more. Limited-edition prints, rare and new books will be available for purchase. A special gift book by Alec Soth is included with every purchase.

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Deadline December 20 for the Aaron Siskind Fellowship approaches!

The Aaron Siskind Foundation‘s Individual Photographer’s Fellowship (IPF) grant program encourages and celebrates artistic achievement in contemporary photography by supporting the creative endeavors of individual artists working in still photography and photography-based media.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2008-09 grant cycle. To learn more about the IPF grant and how to apply, go to the
IPF Grant page to view the 2008-09 Grant Information & Application Guidelines.

Application Period: October 20 to December 20, 2008
December 20, 2008 at 11:59 pm EST

Please note that our application process is now exclusively online; mailed applications are no longer accepted.

“We are pleased to recognize last year’s recipients of the Aaron Siskind Foundation IPF grants. Our panel of judges selected six applicants to receive cash grants of $5,000 to help further their creative projects and abilities. The panel’s job was not an easy one, with so much great work and 900+ applications received. If you applied in 2007 and did not receive a grant, don’t give up! Several 2007 recipients had previously applied one or more times.”

Anne Coleman Torrey
Executive Director

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OCTOBER: Arts Funding Month at branch offices of The Foundation Center

The Foundation Center is an organization that exists so that you can connect with funding sources for your projects or for you continuing education. Established in 1956, today there are physical Foundation Center offices in five cities, and “Cooperating Collections” in every state in the US. Their website has an extensive “GETTING STARTED” learning section when entering the world of grantseeking for the first time. And, they also offer different tiers of subscriptions to their massive database of funders that you can utilize to do effective project research at home.

October is ARTS FUNDING MONTH at all the Foundation Center offices; be sure to check out the free classes such as Grantseeking Basics for Individuals in the Arts as well as classes to learn to maximize their on-line research tools.

From their website:



New York

79 Fifth Avenue/16th Street
New York, NY 10003-3076
Tel: 212-620-4230

Field Offices:


50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 150
Atlanta, GA 30303-2914


1422 Euclid Avenue, Suite 1600
Cleveland, OH 44115-2001

San Francisco

312 Sutter Street, Suite 606
San Francisco, CA 94108-4314

Washington, DC

1627 K Street, NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20006-1708

Cooperating Collections

Cooperating Collections are free funding information centers in libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit resource centers that provide a core collection of Foundation Center publications and a variety of supplementary materials and services in areas useful to grantseekers.
View a list of locations across the U.S. and in Mexico.

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Photographers frequently ask me about the value of attending portfolio review events, which events to attend and why. The offerings are vast and the investment of time and money varies. Deadlines loom for several of these opportunities so I am taking the opportunity on a long travel day to give you an overview of my opinions on the subject portfolio review events, as well as upcoming dates that are essential to mark on your calendar if you would like to attend any of the 2008-2009 offerings.

Do I think attending a portfolio review event has value? Absolutely.

Will each and every photographer benefit from sharing their work at these events, no matter how resolved their body of work is at that time? YES. Reviewers can provide creative guidance for works in progress, as well as marketing advice for completed projects.

Can participating in these events help move your career to the next level? Without question. But to do so effectively you must continue the dialogue you have started at the event.

Will every single appointment be a match made in heaven? NO. But responsible Reviewers will find much to share with you about your work, regardless of whether it fits their gallery, their collection, their publication program, and know too that you can ask them questions about their industry, from market trends to pricing and editioning to whom they might suggest would be interested in your project.

From my perspective, there are three main reasons you should bring your work to a portfolio review event:

First: The process of applying and preparing to attend is a valuable experience. Writing about your work, editing your work for a 20-minute reviews session, and preparing a printed piece or CD-Rom sample with your imagery to share with others attending are activities that in themselves will lend clarity to your work.

Second: presenting your work to industry professionals and peers alike. This is an experience that can’t be matched. The standard model is a 20 minute session with each Reviewer; the number of sessions you have dependes on the length of the event. The number of times you will share your work goes beyond these formal sessions as you will share work with other photographers too. Through having a dialogue about your work your clarity about and commitment to your bodies of work, your presentation to your target audience, your explorations toward desired final print(s) and in what format to display the work – all this and more comes from attending a portfolio review event.

Third: Beginning relationships. Portfolio review events provide an opportunity for you to to share your work and ideas with your peers and industry professionals, be it discussing craft or intention/audience that you devote your twenty minutes session to. It is of course your responsibility to follow up with those Reviewers who encourage you to keep them posted on the evolution of your project.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss from FotoFest for bringing the Portfolio Review to our community; 2009 will be the Thirteenth International Bienniel of Photography and Photo-Related Art which continues to be a catalytst to creativity and a conduit to international dialogue for Reviewers and photographers alike. Hats off to FotoFest! You and your colleagues have set a strong example for which we thank you, and know that we look forward to being in Houston during the spring 2010 Bienniel, most certainly.  Sign up for the FF2010 newsletter here(Be sure to check out, a website FotoFest has developed that brings together information on photography festivals internationally.)

As the number of portfolio review event offerings has increased, occurring now in every season and in nearly every region of the world, some organizations have decided to require submission for consideration by a jury before allowing acceptance. I believe Review Santa Fe was the earliest to transition to be a juried event with PhotoAlliance’s OUR WORLD: A National Juried Portfolio Review requiring acceptance by jury from its inception in 2007; the 2008 co-Sponsor was Orion Magazine. This year the portfolio review component of Atlanta Celebrates Photography required submission of a portfolio for the first time in the ten-year history of programming.

If an organization declares that it will require entrance determined by a judging process, I am admittedly happiest when you, the applicant, have full knowledge of the names of members of that all-important pre-screening team; this, combined with some thoughtful research on your part can aid in your decision as to invest your time and money in applying for that event. Personally I feel there are enough of you ready to participate in these events that are aware of deadlines who fill the roster, and find the level of work very high regardless of any jurying process in place.

The next step in your decision to apply is to look carefully at the Reviewers that have been asked to participate. An increasing number of events are inviting a diverse group of reviewers, going beyond professionals from the fine art arena to include influential photo editors, photo researchers, graphic designers, corporate art consultants and others who bring opportunities for your work to be seen in multiple markets. I applaud this effort and encourage you to try to schedule a session with an individual whom you are not as likely to secure an in-person meeting outside of an event such as this. Among those from related professions whom I applaud for serving as Reviewers are photo editors Kira Pollack of the New York Times Magazine, Paul Moakley from Newsweek and Whitney Johnson from the New Yorker, photo researcher Mary McClean from Random House, corporate art consultant Julie Kinzelman from Kinzelman Art Consulting and corporate curator H. Scott Westover from The Progressive Art Collection. If you are interested in learning more about marketing opportunities in areas other than simply fine art, I encourage you to seek our reviews offering a diversity of industry professionals. Note: depending on the event, you may be allowed to make a “wish list” of participating Reviews to meet with, and in some cases, learn your schedule in advance of the start of the event furthering your ability to prepare.

Geographic location too could be the reason you register (or apply) to one event over another. I want you to know your local community, and to introduce your work to others beyond your local area. Every event will do its best to invite professionals from all parts of the country however most invite a strong contingency of regionally-based reviewers for ease of and cost of bringing those professionals to their event. If your work is well know in the east, you might consider attending a review event in the west.

Educational component – another plus from my perspective. If you are committing time and resources to travel to an industry gathering such as these I wish for you to gain insights from professionals and peers in attendance in the form of lectures, panel discussions, and more. When weighing your options, educational offerings may be a factor for you in putting an event in your “plus” column.

Introducing your work to individuals from multiple markets is a growing focus of some events, while others invite a majority of reviewers from the fine art community. Many publishers seek invitations to attend JURIED events. Study the list of the reviewers who have been invited to all events, and this should be a strong factor in weighing the value of your attending that particular event.

My enthusiasm for your investing in portfolio review events grows as I become increasingly frustrated and in fact pessimistic about the value of entering many exhibition and/or publication competitions. The reproduction rights demanded from the winners, and more often now from those who simply apply, are frustrating, unnecessary and unfair. The physical space and the circumstances at the actual judging of the work can vary, within a physically environment that may not lend itself to optimum viewing of your work, or judges working remotely without a dialogue, or so few examples of your work presented that we can barely get to know your work. (My most interesting judging experiences of late have been being part of a team judging the 2008 Photography Annual for Communication Arts Magazine, and reviewing entries for Critical Mass in the solitude of airplanes (more on these competitions in upcoming blog entries).

So I encourage you to review the offerings, join their e-mailing list, mark these dates on your calendar and know that they (and the host hotels) will sell out within a few days of opening registration. Being aware of cancellation policies is always wise.



International House Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana

Registration opens AUGUST 15;

Event dates: Portfolio Reviews December 6 & 7; overall event including workshops for photographers runs December 4th – 13th


REVIEW LA (concurrent with Photo LA)

Doubletree Guest Suites Santa Monica, California

Registration opens mid-September.

Event dates: January 9-11

Info: Http:


Benson Hotel, Portland, Oregon

Registration opens August 27th

Event dates: April 23-26th, 2009


Santa Fe, New Mexico

Registration: Submit twenty images and artists statement by January 23, 2009; notification of acceptance/registration anticipated by early March.


OUR WORLD from PhotoAlliance

San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

Registration dates not yet posted.

Event dates: March 6/7/8, 2009


ATLANTA CELEBRATES PHOTOGRAPHY’s portfolio reviews are closed; event will be October 11th. (Juried)

The Center for Photography at Woodstock offer’s two separate days of reviews in NYC for a limited number of participants on a first-come, first-served basis; information is contained in their annual Workshop brochure. Earlier this year they offered the first Regional Review which I hope will become an annual event.

Both the Griffin Museum and the Photographic Resource Center in the Boston area offer reviews in the spring.

Other regional organizations like The Print Center (Philadelphia), En Foco (Bronx, NY), SF Camerawork and many other regional centers offer portfolio reviews, primarily as a benefit of membership. Support your local organizations!

Additional opportunities to share your work with your peers:

The network of Fall Regional Conferences of the Society for Photographic Education offer portfolio reviews as well at the upcoming National Meeting at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, Texas on March 26-29, 2009.

Other events will be posted as details are available.

Harris Fogel of Mac Edition Radio conducted an Interview with me on this subject; click this button to

HEAR. We cover the value of these events, how to prepare and follow up in my marketing workshops.

I will continue to comment on this blog on making the most of your portfolio review investment, and refer you as well to a chapter on this subject in my business book. I look forward to seeing your work at these upcoming events!

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MMW Events this week: MVS to lecture in Rockport, Maine This Thursday Eve

I’m just wrapping up attending the class “Copyright and Legal Issues for Media Artists” taught by attorney Nancy Wolff at the Maine Media Workshop, and this evening I switch hats to become a teacher of my marketing workshop. What a week! Nancy’s class has been amazing, we have all learned so much about the copyright law and the changes in attitude about allowing creators retaining copyright. If you haven’t read Nancy’s book, you must. Tonight, Dirck Halsted will speak at 8 p.m. at Union Hall on his book “Moments in Time” about his incredible career as a photojournalist. Many of you know of him as the founder of Digital Journalist.

Tomorrow night, Thursday the 7th, I too will be speaking in the Faculty Lecture Series at MMW, along with a book signing with summertime locals Allison V. Smith and Jerrie Smith, authors of Reflection of A Man. Join us! 7:30 start at Union Hall in downtown Rockport, just down from Timothy Whelan’s amazing photobook store. Also on view in Union Hall is the exhibition “Two Generations: Paul and John Paul Caponigro” continuing through August 22nd. Plenty of reasons to drive to Rockport this week!

To view the Community Events area of the MMW Website, click here.

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Fall Marketing Workshop with Mary Virginia Swanson: November 6-9, Tucson, Arizona

I am pleased to announce my upcoming Fall Marketing Workshop in Tucson, Arizona with special guest presenters LISA M. ROBINSON and KEN ROSENTHAL. Registration opens today.

Who should attend? This workshop is an ideal overview for photographers wishing to promote their work to the fine art market with a goal of print sales and publication. If you haven’t yet completed a body of work, gaining insights on the industry at this stage is encouraged.

This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the fine art photography market and how one can effectively target galleries, collections and publishers most likely to respond to their work. An understanding of presenting work to industry professionals via competitions and portfolio review events, as well as the value of attending Gallery Expos will be discussed. Examples of successful promotional tools with be shared. I will bring to the workshop an extensive library of reference materials and examples of successful self-promotion examples to share with participants. The final session on Sunday morning will be on publishing your work, and will held at my home utilizing my personal library for discussion and demonstration.

Friday afternoon we have scheduled a special “Print Viewing” of masterworks from the Archives, as well as discussion with Denise Gose, Rights and Reproductions Manager at the Center for Creative Photography on the University of Arizona campus.

Saturday afternoon special guests Lisa M. Robinson and Ken Rosenthal will be presenting on their individual careers as artists, followed by a visit to Etherton Gallery (on view will be The Figure Illuminated, photographs by Flor Garduño, Alvin Booth and Ralph Gibson).

The workshop begins Thursday, November 6th at 6 p.m. and concludes at noon on Sunday, November 9th.


Please visit this link to the Fall Marketing Workshop page on my website for complete course details including optional consultation sessions with myself, and an optional studio tour Lisa & Ken following the close of the workshop. Special discounted rates at nearby hotels within walking distance have been arranged for participants; come to beautiful Southern Arizona this fall – an informative and inspiring time will be had by all!

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MVS to Houston Soon, Giving Lecture at HCP 6/26 to Benefit Newly Established “John Cleary Library”

As many of my readers will recall, my friend and gallerist John Cleary passed away suddenly earlier this year. I am going to be in Houston June 21-28 to work with his print and photobook collection, meet with my clients and most importantly give a lecture to benefit the John Cleary Library at the Houston Center for Photography during the exhibition of images from John’s collection of children, on view at HCP through July 13th.

Shortly before John passed away, HCP honored him by naming their newly established learning library the “John Cleary Library.”

It is my pleasure to present a lecture at HCP on the evening of June 26th with all proceeds benefitting the John Cleary Library (reception 7:30 p.m., lecture at 8 p.m.; book signing to follow).

While I have lectured at FotoFest during its educational programming within recent Biennial programming, this will be the first time I will present “Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs” in Houston. This presentation will be free to HCP members, non-members fee will be $12.00.

I will have copies of my book “The Business of Photography: Principles and Practices” will be for sale at a discounted rate, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the John Cleary Library.

Texans: head down from San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, or up from Galveston, over from Beaumont… Come out and support HCP’s new John Cleary LibraryI

I hope to meet many of you there.


From the HCP Calendar:

Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs
Thursday June 26, 2008, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Mary Virginia Swanson

Finding Your Audience: an Introduction to Marketing your Photography will provide artists with a road map to getting their work in front of those with whom they most wish to share it. Doing one’s homework towards the contemporary art market, engaging in a dialogue with peers as well as one’s industry, and presenting one’s artwork are at the core of this event. The value of entering juried competitions and maximizing one’s investment in attending art fairs and portfolio review events will be discussed as well as creating effective promotional materials to keep in touch with those on your mailing list. Lastly, the benefits of a multimedia presence today will be discussed, within a broader discussion about new markets for photographers.

Ms. Swanson will have copies of her self-published book THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Principles and Practices available at a discounted price for those attending the presentation; books are available at $30 for HCP members and $35 for non-members.

Finding Your Audience is free to all HCP members and is $12 for non-members.
Reservations are recommended but not required.

In honor of her friend, collector and photography dealer John Cleary, Ms. Swanson will donate all proceeds from the lecture and a portion of the evening’s book sales to HCP’s John Cleary Library.

Mary Virginia Swanson makes it her goal to help photographers find the strengths in their work and identify appreciative audiences for their prints, exhibitions, editorial and licensing placement. Ms. Swanson has a diverse professional background, having coordinated educational, publication and exhibitions programs for a wide range of institutions and businesses in the field of photography and is considered an expert in the area of marketing and licensing fine art. It was during her tenure heading special projects at Magnum Photos that she recognized the opportunities for artists to develop second markets for their work, and in 1991 she founded SWANSTOCK, an innovative agency managing licensing rights for fine art photographers. Her workshops and lectures on the subjects of marketing opportunities and awareness have proven to aid photographers in moving their careers to the next level. She also consults with business and agencies in the photographic industry to aid in their awareness of contemporary photography.
Ms. Swanson currently works individually with photographers as a marketing consultant to guide artists in their careers. She maintains a popular blog about marketing and she is the author of her self-published The Business of Photography: Principles and Practices (2007). Visit her website and link to her popular blog at

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