How to present your fine art photography / How NOT to present it

How to present your fine art photography / How NOT to present it

In the past couple of years I seem to be regularly assaulted by many aspiring artists who want me to look at their work. Nothing wrong with that premise as I always appreciate looking at photographic art within many diverse genres.

The problem resides with artists shoving their cell phones in my face, usually accompanied by various comments such as “look at this cool image”, “It took me weeks to do this”, “I was lucky with this one”, “this is an amazing photograph and nobody can do the same”, “what do you think”?

The problem clearly resides in the fact that by presenting your art in such a format has simply denigrated it, trashed it beyond any repair. Art is an important thing, a crucial expression of a most important communication with the world at large, and for many a most compelling endeavor. Now I am forced to look at it on a device that ridicules photography and art as a whole, even with cell phone photography if that is the technique used to create such artistic outcomes.

Recently, a wonderful lady pulled her cell phone out of her bra and asked me to scroll through various unsavory selfies and a few potentially great art photographs. A guy pulled his cell phone from his back pocket, clearly next to his ass, and apologized to the remnants of his lunch on the glass face. Really!

Occasionally, a large I-Pad is presented and the scrolling is either done by the artist, which of course I completely resent (let me see your work at my appreciative pace, not yours), or I am asked to ignore the various cat or dog images intermingled with “the work”.

So, if you truly want to show your artistic work to others, a gallery curator, artist and art consultant, please, please do not use cell phones or electronic devices to show your life’s work and ambitions. Would you turn up at a hot date without bathing for a week? Would you show up at a major job interview wearing ragged and dirty jeans and flip-flops? Would you embarrass yourself just because of neglect, or because wearing a too tight speedo at a classy beach BBQ party sounded like a good idea at the time?

Instead, why not present your amazing art in a printed format? A small Blurb book of your work only costs $25, and you can give a copy to a very relevant person who might just advance your career in a chance meeting. The book will be read carefully, at a pace that allows for appreciation of the art, not the ubiquitous protective stupid case around your cell phone, supposedly representing your so-called “personality”.  

Why not carry small prints of your art? If you have a business card with your professional website (not your Facebook personal page as I really do not want to know what you think, or your opinions about anything at all), I will surely look at your website and most likely will bookmark it for future. As opportunities arise, I refer to, and often pass on to others in the art world, the work of the artists who have shown great and interesting work, no matter what the genre is, who deeply care about what they do and are able to present to an audience. Can you achieve this with your cell phone? NO

So, just stop showing your art on cell phones and other electronic devices that will simply denigrate what you do; Create and produce mini books, prints some small prints you can give to your audience, these will be appreciated and define you as an artist, not a fool. Yes, the world of photography is mostly digital, but guess what you see in an art gallery or museum? Prints. Guess what you sell as an artist? Prints

This is how we show our work. It has brought us many group and solo shows, many sales and a multitude of contacts in the art world. I don’t even have photographs on my cell phone; I use it to make phone calls, not to present our art that is our life, career and profession.

5 Tips for a Successful Portfolio

5 Tips for a Successful Portfolio

5 Tips for a Successful Portfolio

Written by Pierre Dutertre 


1: Your portfolio is the sum total of your photographic experience, technical and artistic skills as well as your individual style, the way you see the world. Without a portfolio you can only say that you are a photographer, but cannot substantiate that statement.

2: Creating a portfolio together with a body or bodies of uniform work can be challenging, as it becomes too easy to become distracted or confused with the unity of your imagery, in terms of genres, styles or expected outcomes with the viewer.

3: The sequencing of images within your portfolio is an essential component to its expected presentation; too often, this sequencing is based upon personal preferences or artificial and rigid categorizations. In other words, a photographer assembling his or her own portfolio can easily become biased due to their intimate and usually confusing knowledge of each image, their circumstances and memories associated with these that are irrelevant to the viewer.

4: Your portfolio is only as strong as your weakest image. The sequencing of images for a portfolio can be achieved by printing small thumbnails of your images, cutting them and then physically assembling galleries that are unified stylistically, by genres, colors, compositions and communicative expressions. Some of the weaker images will often be left out at the end, thereby eliminating less valid or repetitive photographs.

5: It is essential to refine your portfolio. Having an industry professional, curator or consultant review your portfolio on a regular basis will help you refine the sequencing of the images, establish weak or strong categories of work, eliminate unnecessary photographs, as well as establish future directions and potential projects. The reviewer must be completely impartial, extensively experienced in such reviews and able to apply the formal critique principles used in the evaluation of the visual arts, whether commercial or fine art based.