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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Handouts from PhotoPlus Expo Seminars

Last week, I presented two seminars at PhotoPlus in New York City. Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs and Presenting your work to the Fine Art Community.

For those who attended I prepared the following handouts.

Handout for the Fine Art Lecture

Handout for Finding Your Audience

If you would like to sign up for the mailing list for information on upcoming lectures and events please click here.

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March 24: Barbara Kasten in conversation with Charlotte Cotton at LACMA

Conversations with Artists-Barbara Kasten
Tuesday, March 24 | 7:00 pm

Photographer Barbara Kasten joins Charlotte Cotton, curator and head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at LACMA, to discuss her work and the renewed interest in photographic abstraction within contemporary art.
Brown Auditorium | Free; tickets required-available one hour before the program
This program is supported in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Fund.

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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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Rubin Museum: Three Outstanding Exhibits Overlap through April 16

The Rubin Museum has an ambitious photography schedule this year, with three terrific exhibitions overlapping. Try to get there this week, when planning a visit to NYC for (perhaps for the AIPAD: The Photography Show which begins this week, April 12-15):

Ending April 16: Mongolia: Beyond Chinggis Khan
This exhibitions featured the work of photographers ELAINE LING and BUILDER LEVY interspersed with magnificent objects from the Rubin’s Collection. A wonderful show!

“This exhibition celebrates the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Mongol empire by Chinggis Khan in 1206. A selection of Mongolian sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, and other ritual objects, drawn entirely from the RMA’s collection, will be complemented by images of Mongolia made by the contemporary photographers Builder Levy and Elaine Ling. This combination of traditional art and modern photographs, with subjects ranging from the ancient standing stones left by the Huns and Turks to scenes from the annual festival that celebrates Mongol accomplishments in horseback riding, archery, and wrestling, is an effort to illuminate a country whose history, art, and culture is virtually unknown to most westerners. A focal point of the exhibition is the RMA’s collection of Mongolian dance masks, which were used in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the annual festivals that took place in monasteries across Mongolia.”

Ending July 16th: ILLUMINATION, the photographs by LYNN DAVIS which opened this weekend. The New York Times did a wonderful article on Lynn the the opening of this show titled “Travels Abroad Lead to Travels Within” by Mia Fineman (4/8/07) which you can read here.

Lynn Davis (American, born 1944) has explored the world in search of the greatest universal sites, both man-made and natural. In this exhibition, the artist presents her photographs, deeply modern and imbued with a sense of abstraction, with her selection from RMA’s collection. This pairing reflects her intuitive response to the RMA collection as resonant with the spiritual nature of her work. Davis’s photographs have been exhibited internationally and collected widely. Her work appears in many museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, which held an exhibition of her works in 1999.”

Ending September 3rd at the Rubin: The Missing Peace Project: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama
This exhibition is touring the US, and it is worth a visit to the project’s website, an excellent example of an exhibition website; don’t miss the FOR PARTNERS sections which leads you to view understanding the tangible benefits of sponsorshi. Those of you have heard me lecture recently know that this is one of the project websites I feature in my section on project sponsorship.

“Contemporary artists from around the world, working in a variety of media, offer a wide range of new and existing works inspired by the messages, vision, and values of the Dalai Lama.

Ending August 22nd at the SVA GALLERY: A component of this large exhibition is lso on view at the Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts, 601 West 26th Street from July 12 through August 22.”

From the exhibition website: “The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama is the result of a collaboration between the Committee of 100 for Tibet and the Dalai Lama Foundation. We see this project as a unique opportunity to explore the idea of art as an interpretation of, and a catalyst for, peace. Through the artist’s work, we also hope to broaden appreciation for the Dalai Lama and the principles he embodies. The project and exhibition title is an evocative play on words – peace will always be elusive, or missing, in our world, but the Dalai Lama consistently shows that dedicating oneself to peace is anything but pointless. The word ‘portrait’ is used very loosely. Artists were given the freedom to explore the full life of the Dalai Lama; each ‘portrait’ was the result of personal interpretation.

The artists, both established and emerging, were selected because their work addresses themes that are embodied by the Dalai Lama, such as compassion, peace, unity of all things, impermanence, spirituality, belief systems, community, people in exile, non-violence, happiness, and tolerance. Many of the artists have created new work for the exhibition in a wide variety of media, including photography, painting, textiles, animation, sculpture, video, and installation works.

We hope that this exhibition will inspire us to reflect on who we are as human beings, our relationship to others, and our place in the world.”

For a list of participating artists, click here. As of this writing, I’m not certain which works are on view at the Rubin, and which are at the SVA Gallery; call to confirm or allow time to visit both venues where this large exhibition is on view!

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Many of you will be fortunate enough to attend one of the upcoming Portfolio Review events I mentioned in my last post, “Portfolio Review Season BEGINS!”. I encourage all of you to consider participation, and consider that both an OPPORTUNITY as well as an INVESTMENT.

The following is a short handout that I have shared with those attending portfolio review events. By posting it here, many of you considering attending will gain perspective on how to prepare, and hopefully will taking the step to apply/attend!

in order to make the most of this opportunity to share your work with others!


SET GOALS: consider in advance what results you are seeking from this investment.
Are you simply seeking advice/guidance/information, be it on clarity of content, print quality or editing/sequencing, or, are you hoping for a discussion on marketing the completed work? Are you seeking representation for the work? Do you wish to place an exhibition of a completed body of work with a gallery or institution? Are you hoping to secure a publishing contract? Be clear about what you want, research the professional biographies of the reviewers and concentrate on making the most of your time with them towards your desired end results. Be sure to clearly communicate these goals with each Reviewer at the start of your session(s).

TIGHTLY EDIT your work to present to Reviewers, remembering the specific amount of time you will have together. I suggest you bring 20 images to your review session. This is just my suggestion….I find with more than 20, we don’t have time to talk about marketing the work – we’d spend the entire time looking, and little time talking. There is no “set” number of prints to bring, and the decision will be different for everyone, according to where your body of work is. If the “A” edit of a body of work is larger than 20, you may wish to bring an expanded group to the event, should the opportunity arise to meet and show work to Reviewers or to other photographers outside of the event’s review structure. If you have two on-going bodies of work, bring small selections of both and when appropriate, based on your research on the professionals reviewing work, show both work to selected or to all Reviewers accordingly.

PRACTICE your presentation – keep it short and simple! Don’t make the mistake of talking the entire time… Be mindful of the time limit with each reviewer; you will want ensure time within the session to receive feedback!

When presenting your work at the event:

PRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT: print images the same size/paper. Protect the work but not to such an extent that it takes too much time to wrap/unwrap each print.

EASE IN HANDLING will maximize your time to talk with the reviewer, so select a box/book/portfolio that will allow you to show the photographs relatively fast. The size of tables you will presenting on are likely to be standard folding tables, so don’t assume you will be able to bring 20 oversized prints and actually be able to present a large group in 20 minutes. If you have any questions about a special area that may be available to share larger work with Reviewers, call the organizers to inquire well in advance. Consider bringing several samples of larger prints rolled in a tube, with a more complete group in a smaller size. Accept the fact that your work may show some “road wear” by the end of the event; you are there to show work to as many Reviewers and peers as possible.

TAKE NOTES during your session, whether you bring a tape recorder (always ask permission to record for personal use) or make a binder with a page dedicated to each Reviewer at the event, with their bio and your notes for that specific Reviewer. Some photographers print out a sheet with thumbnails of all the images they intend to share, to note which images each Reviewer responded most strongly to. It is difficult to presenting work AND to take notes at the same time, so come up with a system that will work best for you. Whatever note taking or recording format works for you – do it! You want to take home as clear a memory of each discussion as possible.

– Design/produce a simple promotional piece that will serve to remind the reviewers of your work as well as providing your contact information. Reproduction of several images from your body of work is suggested (they will see many photographers during review events– it never hurts to remind them visually of your work). Make sure it is small enough for them to file in a traditional (8-1/2 x 11) file folder, if you have any hopes of a Reviewer retaining it and contacting you in the future.

I suggest that you never assume that a Reviewer would like to retain more than simply a card – ask first if they would appreciate additional materials you can provide on site. Don’t burden a Reviewer with a bulky packet to take home from the event – offer to mail it to them at their office after the event (at your expense). Do not assume that you will get anything returned to you unless you include a SASE. If a Reviewer encourages you to stay in touch and keep them apprised of your work, ask what format they prefer your communication to be in – paper or email? Image sent via CD-Rom or examples of images in print? When you have the chance to learn their preferences, always ask, and make note of this for your records.

Consider this experience the chance to begin relationships with professionals who respond positively to your work.

I hope your investment in attending a portfolio review event will move your career forward towards your goals.

© 2007 Mary Virginia Swanson. An expanded version of this article is feature in my book “The Business of Photography: Principles and Practices” “available on my website at:

NOTE: I will be giving a seminar called “Presenting Your Work to the Fine Art Community” on April 28th (1-5 p.m.) at the Griffin Museum in the Boston area, during which I will go into greater detail about maximizing your investment in attending portfolio review events – before, during, and after participation. Registration for my workshop is open now.

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HP BLOG links to MVS Lecture Handout

In Monday’s HP‘s Professional Photography Blog, Eileen Fritsch wrote an article called “Breaking into the Art Market.” Within this piece, she offers good advice and resources. Don’t miss this blog, which is referred to as a “loosely guided idea-exchange that can help you make sense of emerging trends in photo-imaging and maximize your success as a photography professional.” Click here to see a full list of HP blogs.

Within Monday’s marketing piece, Eileen also recapped my talk at PhotoPlus Expo 2006, and has a link to my handouts from my lecture, “PRESENTING YOUR WORK TO THE FINE ART COMMUNITY.”

Mark October 18-20, 2007 on your calendar to attend next year’s PhotoPlus Expo, sponsored by Photo District News Magazine.

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