Saturday, 24 November 2012

Paris Photo Part II

© Laura Noble

Dearest readers, I have bad news, my other photos from Paris Photo have been destroyed by i-photo! So this is the last of them saved here. However, the next blog I will source the photography favourites to talk about.

© Laura Noble

So here is the amazing venue of the Grand Palais, what a place. It is so impressive I am still in awe of it. Unlike the previous venue it is easier to find your way around with helpful gallons to pinpoint your location for the inevitable meet-ups with friends & colleagues. 


©Anni Leppälä
Just before dark (girl with red ribbon), 2012
53 x 77 cm 

One of the first things to catch my eye was this lovely work by Anni Leppälä, of the Helsinki School. The ribbon reminded me of one of my favourite paintings by Ingres, see below:

Jean-August-Dominique Ingres  (1780 - 1867)
Comtesse d'Haussonville, 1845
oil on canvas
51 7/8 x 36 1/4 in. (131.8 x 92.1 cm) 

I interpreted this painting myself focusing on the ribbon, both in her hair & reflected in the mirror behind her.

© Laura Noble
Comtesse d'Haussonville 2m²
Oil on canvas
2 panels 1 x 2 meters

This is just the left panel, the work is 1 x 2 meters, as is the right hand panel not shown here & the same size, so the complete work is 2 x 2m.

© Laura Noble (detail)
Comtesse d'Haussonville 2m²
Oil on canvas

The ribbon is highly seductive for obvious reasons, however there are many theories about the use of red in art which are worth further discussion. 

©Gerhard Richter
Betty
Oil on canvas
102 x 72 cm

The other obvious correlation was with Gerhard Richter, notably this work. I do prefer Ingres though as his sitter is a young female with a strong character, direct & confident. I also am not a huge fan of photorealist painting. If you want a photo, take a picture! (Ooh have I gone too far here?) Maybe Leppälä is influenced by both, with the patterned jumper & red ribbon...

Perhaps the art world (& its clients) prefers their women submissive? Discuss...


© Laura Noble

So after a wonderful few days, lots of parties, openings & a L A Noble Gallery party at the apartment (thanks to those who came, it was emotional) my last evening in Paris was spent with two wonderful photographer's Øyvind Hjelmen & Helén Petersen in a charming place for duck leg & chips as only the French can make. (All cooked on the little grill behind our amazing owner/waiter/entertainer pictured below) The drop ceiling was in the  classic Parisian style, much like the 'Amelie' cafe last year. 

© Laura Noble

Although the food was average, the evening was top notch & the first chance to try & wind down from another crazy Paris Photo. Loved his braces, why don't more people wear them anymore? So much nicer than belts I say... 


© Laura Noble

Again the red was prevelant in my choice of photographic subject, telling...

© Laura Noble

The view from outside was pretty special too! Nice to have such a place a minute away. 

© Laura Noble

Such civilised characters, (don't be deceived we are all unhinged on the inside) have a nice glass (or two) it was a shame to go back & pack. 

© Laura Noble

So for one last peek, my favourite picture of the whole week through the peep hole in the apartment door. I will find some more pictures if I can salvage files of the party as well as the amazing deli owner who provided the catering for the party at the apartment & helped carry all the produce up 3 flights of stairs along with 2 neighbours who dropped by. Who say Parisian's aren't friendly! 



Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Paris Photo Part I


I arrive in Paris at night & before entering the apartment take a picture of the courtyard looking up into the night sky, a lovely sight...


The next day, Wednesday is the opening day of Paris Photo 2012. A crisp November afternoon we approach the Grand Palais. Pictures of the almighty are on display for all to see, David Lynch need only show his hair to be recognised in an instant. 

A very short film of the wheel, so lovely.

All the photo's & video here on the blog are taken with my phone by the way, so don't expect miracles...I am but a mere painter after all...who wears silly jumpers...

So, back to PP (for short) & most of the opening afternoon was spent bumping into oodles of people & seeing very little photography to be quite honest. However, that is half the fun. The website had launched the day before, so word was out on the photographic grapevine for those who had missed the Unseen fair. 


Amongst the fabulous people the wonderful Vee Speers, whose work I bought many years ago & has since become a very good friend. She lives in Paris & as luck would have it just minutes away from the apartment I was staying in. Here she is with the lovely David Fahey from L A. 


Up in the VIP lounge Fariba & myself compare shoe sizes, her a 3, me a 7 1/2, am I big or is she small? Who cares, nice picture, good purple floor! Both 'on trend' ? I have no idea.


So the time had come to leave & head out to Vee's for her traditional dinner party. Needless to say it was fantastic, thanks Vee. The fact there there are no pictures of this event goes to show how much fun everyone was having. By the way the picture above is taken for Emily Allchurch, for those who know her work you will understand. For those who don't, see this link

Thursday now & after a very late start recovering from the night before I headed into the fair. As before more friends to bump into including Bruce Davidson & his wife Emily. A lovely hour was spent talking about relatives & their achievements this year including a book by Emily about one the bikers in the Brooklyn gang that Bruce photographed many years ago. 1959 in fact, wow that was a  long time ago. Let's not dwell on that, the work is a fabulous that's enough in my books.

So here is Bruce & yours truly discussing the book & life of 'Bobby' or Bob Powers as told to Emily. 


Here is the cover & info if you want to buy it. It's on my Christmas list! Can't wait to read it.


So wandering back home we passed a lovely Hotel with blooming flowers in every window box, real or fake who cares, they look great! 

Then time for a quick change before attending the Prix Pictet Prize show at Gallerie Vanessa Quang. Dinner followed then another late night. So to bed with more about Paris Photo in my next blog & the photographs that I loved to come...


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Preparing for a portfolio review

So you are thinking about doing a portfolio review & you want to know where to start. No brainer: the portfolio!

Now if you are doing a review in person you may have an iPad or a laptop to present on, this is fine. However, I always recommend people to bring a couple of prints as well, especially if you are seeing someone from a gallery as they are used to handling prints & understand that the quality of the object itself is just as important as what image resides on it. 

You may or may not do your own printing, but there is a vast difference between an inkjet & a C-type. And please, people don't call them Gicleé we all know what they are...& what it translates to? (Far too naughty to publish here)


If you do decide to go with a box think about what type. Here there is a handy cutaway section so you can lift each print out, but I would say mount your prints with these or they will get dinged very quickly with repeated handling. This also limits how many prints go in there, depending on the thickness of the mounts. 

I prefer the ones that you can slide the prints from left to right. (See top picture).

I would also recommend a white border around your images (thin is fine) so that there is a visible barrier between the edge of the image & the edge of the box or table it is being viewed on. This not only helps the picture to 'pop' but also stops the eye from going beyond the image, staying focused on the picture & not wandering to the surface below. Again, keep their eyes on you work!

Be organised, there is nothing worse than wasting half of your time fiddling about, it looks unprofessional too.

Handling: Sooo important. If you treat your prints with respect so will the reviewer, bring gloves for them to use. This way your prints stay clean & they spend longer looking at each one too! 


Or you could go with one like this that has inserts, make sure they are good quality though as it can alter the appearance of the print if they are cheap. Without is always preferred with fine art prints. 

How many?
For a 20 minute session: 20-30, that's a print every minute or so.
No more than 40 for a 1 hour session, or the reviewer will forget the first one by the time they get to the end & you want them to remember your work.

Have a clear idea of questions you want to ask, have a list if you need a prompt.

Go for the selection that will appeal to them. If you bring commercial work, make sure they know in advance or if it is stated at the beginning of the review. This helps the reviewer to think on your wavelength & offer the appropriate advice. 

I have spoken to many photographer's who think they have produced art, but in fact have a very commercial eye, so be clear.

Listen!

I cannot emphasise enough the need to listen to your reviewer. You are there to gain insights & help, not the other way around. By being polite & courteous you are more likely to be offered help or even contacts. Being defensive can be misinterpreted as being obnoxious. A good reviewer wants to help you, nit hinder your progress in the industry - they may be working with you one day. It's in the reviewers best interests to offer good advice & keep their reputation intact. 

Be honest

Pretending to have more experience than you have doesn't help in the long run, you will be found out! 

What else do I bring?
Something to write notes on. You will only forget tips, advice, names & suggestions later. Some photographer's record them as well, to listen back to later in a less pressured environment. 


Have a business card to give to them afterwards. 

Follow up...

Even if you don't get a response right away, send an email afterwards to keep contact. If it has an image on it that helps too, as they may be seeing a lot of people that day & they will remember an image easier than a name.

Skype reviews:

As before the number of images should be the same & sending it in advance & on the day is a good idea. this means that the reviewer has time for a quick peek beforehand when they have a spare minute, then when the time comes it is in their inbox again on the day, so no need to search!

I prefer a pdf format as downloading huge files onto a computer is time consuming & uses up a lot of space on their computer. Also this ensures the whereabouts of your images & lessens the risk of copying if it is sent elsewhere, perhaps to an editor as a result of the review!

So I hope this helps folks. I look forward to hearing your comments.

If you would like to book a session please email hello@lauraannnoble.com 







Monday, 5 November 2012

Portfolio reviewing....a good idea? Part 1:Why should I do them?

Outside the V&A Museum of Childhood ©Laura Noble

As a seasoned reviewer I am always wondering why more photographer's, experienced, graduates & the like don't do more of them? 

Often the following reasons/excuses are given:
  1. I don't need one, been a photographer for years, I'm brilliant already!
  2. I don't need anyone else to criticise my work I'm a good enough critic.
  3. Everyone tells me I'm brilliant, well my friends & family do.
  4. I learnt all I need to know at university/college
  5. I know what I'm doing
  6. You will only tell me to look at some other photographer's & I don't do that
  7. My work is set at a good price & I know my editions are the right sizes
  8. My current project/s is/are unfinished
  9. My personal work is completely original, no need to show anyone else
  10. It is too expensive


A happy review, thanks for the email afterwards Raf!
©Laura Noble

Sound familiar?

Well they are all points which have varied validity depending on the individual. So I would like to address the above points & invite you my dear readers to comment on the post if you feel inclined. If you have been reviewed by yours truly, please don't be shy & comment too!

  1. I'm sure brilliance is a subjective term & fear of criticism should be faced. Only someone with a huge ego would say this & give away their insecurities. It is up to others to profess brilliance...
  2. You should always be your own worst critic, but if you have dedicated your life to create it is always healthy to open yourself up to criticism. This does 2 things, helps you grow & also to push yourself to create better work. You might learn something that had never occurred to you about yourself & your work in the process.
  3. See point 1. Others should stretch beyond those who are biased in your favour. A fresh pair of eyes, with expertise could offer you very good advice & critique in a way that could make you aware of your strengths & weaknesses comparatively. It is hard to keep track of what others are doing in the industry & if I had a £ for every photographer who was doing a project that had already been done I would have at least £100!
  4. University offers a lot of theoretical & academic comment, but very little in terms of the photography market & commercial advice. Money matters are often met with distaste in discussions. Reviewers live in the real world with real experience to share. Editioning is the main topic of many a review. I think this is so important & so little information is given on this topic in academic institutions. 
  5. Not always, there is always room for improvement for everyone, myself included.
  6. Looking at other photographers/artists work is your duty as a creative person. There is nothing more embarrrasing than meeting a curator or gallerist & not understanding who or what they are referencing when discussing your work or anyone else's. This shows your lack of education &/or arrogance. No one is above learning from others, knowledge is power.
  7. How many sizes? How large is the edition? This can be a vital consideration for collectors. If you want to sell your work you could be missing the boat due to editions that are too large & not considered 'limited' by serious collectors. Prices are relative, are you famous, exhibited, published? 
  8. Perfect time for a review, as I have mentioned in the past it is a reviewers job to keep abreast of the market/art scene etc... You may learn more than you'd bargained for & often given inspiration. Fresh objective eyes often see things that you do not as you are so close to your work. A good reviewer is constructive not destructive! It is important to encourage, not discourage, you are the future after all. Bad advice procures bad results & no one benefits from that.
  9. Nothing is completely original, but understanding where ideas come from helps you to avoid embarassing situations (see 6.) & you may have your eyes opened to a new idea or approach as a result.
  10. Good advice is never too expensive. You can save an enormous amount of time & money by taking advice from someone with the expertise to help you. It is in their own interests after all as you may be working with/for them one day.   


Giving advice, this review led to another session with this talented chap 
©Laura Noble

So what do a portfolio reviews (PR) consist of?

Well that depends. There are two types, the first is like speed dating a 20 minute one-on-one session with lots of different people. Many big photo events/fairs/festivals organise PR. They usually happen throughout the event or over a set amount of days in a suitable location, near the exhibitions/festival/fair...

Many you pay for a number of sessions, with a minimum number of reviews specified by the organisers. Short biographies on each reviewer is sometimes published with the promotion of the PR on a website or via email. This helps you to decide who are the most suitable/helpful people to book a review with. Often slots fill up very quickly as reviewers are often very busy individuals who do not normally have time to look at every photographer's email/portfolio that lands in their inbox. You may have already approached them & not received a response.

This is a good way to see a wide range of people in one go. Costs vary dramatically. You show you portfolio, they make suggestions, comments, give advice & sometimes arrange to take the discussion further or even offer you work, then you swop business cards & go to the next person. Think 20 minutes, no more than 30 pictures you won't have time to discuss more. If you bring lots of projects you have to rush through them. Take the one you think is going to appeal to the people you are seeing, or can give you the best advice on how to proceed. 

The other is a one-on-one consult, which is a service I have offered for years. There is a set fee for a full hour so that your work can be discussed more fully. This also gives time for talking about career progression, editioning, best practice, marketing, presentation, pricing, possible projects, other people to contact etc. as well as talking about your work.

For those who are not based in London or where the reviews are taking place I also do Skype reviews whereby a portfolio pdf  is sent via email, so that I can have it on hand for the review. (Details are arranged in advance such as times, preferred topics of discussion) All reviews are payable in advance & non-refundable, as cancellations can prevent another photographer from booking the slot. You may wish to discuss one thing in particular or ask for more info on what information it is advised to bring or have at hand. 

Having more time to speak also means that you get to know each other better & can give a fuller sense of yourself & your work. It is a less pressured time frame so you can elaborate more on your ethos, projects & what you want to achieve.  

For more info or to book a review with me please contact: hello@lauraannnoble.com
Please include a contact telephone number & a link to your website if you have one. I will be in Paris next week & have a few sessions free. If you are too, do contact me asap! 

Next time I will talk about how to give a good review & what to expect. 

Dear readers I'm looking forward to hearing your comment & experiences.

Till next time...