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don_narayan 02-01-2007 03:34 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
some of my recommendations:
"Hungry Flies"
"Helping Hand" (maybe with a slight crop on the right to nick that fabric out, but don't cut the hand at all)
"back to life"
"Too much Sand"
"a village doctor"
"Romance on St. Mary"
"a lady climbing the fence"
"girls on phones"
"mate, the police are coming"

Well... I thought you would have more strong stuff but that's all I see. Where is your Pakistan work? Your Cardiff work is best, it is actually DIFFERENT!

Also, don't submit the photos with the titles, keep it simple and numbered in the sequence you want them to be seen... and think about that sequence, it's important.
Don't submit more just to submit more (unless there is a required amount, not just a maximum amount). 10 strong images is better that 20 good ones.

Good luck,

Luko 02-01-2007 04:12 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
I have I concur with Narayan's choice, which is very similar to mine, except maybe I would swap "helping hand" (which is probably too similar with "back to life") for another image in your portfolio.
On the Cardiff side, I also would swap "Romance on St Mary", which might not be probably sharp enough, for "baby don't cry", which proposes a different "distance" than the other ones, although it might not be as good.

Perhaps I'm wrong but it seems to me that agencies don't like very much motion or loose bokeh blurried images, hence I would first be a stickler to whichever shot that includes either, that's why I'd sack "Romance...". Also I'm afraid we could expect shots like "Romance" or "stinking toilets" from a 17 years old, not a 30 years old reporter (happy birthday, btw)... getting some fun is ok, not for everybody when you're looking for employment... it's a problem of who you're sending your picture to...

I'm also surprized with some of the images you selected.
On my part, I think you have much better photos than say Cardiff "Sunday 1AM" or Tamil Nadu's "Stripes and ladder".
Another thing that the "masked criticer" wrote in your Pbase gallery about redundancy is very true : most of your shots are redundant. I take that portfolios should show your ability on shooting different scenes, different views without loosing your own style and showing different aspects, for instance back to life and nap are very complimentary, in their situation, in their format... but most of the images you selected have a similar "distance" or feel (not that they are not good, but are on the same basis) in the end, it looks a bit redundant : look at "back to life", "helping hand " and "how are you", it's the same image, reduundant information. th enegative point is that you took three images to say one thing.

As a recommandation, I think you should try to vary your selection with different POVs.


don_narayan 02-01-2007 04:34 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
and consider who you are trying to show this to... these people aren't members on TE or photo enthusiasts that frequent Pbase... you need to show these people something different... your vision... what differentiates you from every other dreamers? So you have been to Pakistan and all over India... then show them something from these places they they wouldn't expect to see. That's how you can wow them.

greg 02-01-2007 05:15 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
1, 2 and 16, 17, 18, 19 don't fit with the others from Cardiff - I think you could whittle the remainder down to 10. I don't agree with Luko about 6 and 13 - you're documenting 17-yr olds... this is exactly how they are. 'Travels abroad' is too weak a theme - I think you'd be better to take 10 either from the Phnom Penh dump, or from Chennai.

good luck!

maciekda 02-01-2007 05:26 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
thanks Greg and others, lots of useful thoughts. it is so difficult to make a portfolio.
a quick question: should I show small series or jus 20 good single images? or maybe 2 large series - but i am not sure that I have a strong 10-pic series.

maciekda 02-01-2007 05:31 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
ok, i will make one portfolio with 20 pictures, I will include the ones you selected and see what else could be added. I will replace titles with names of places where photos were taken.
I don't have many great images in fact, nothing great from Pakistan, nothing great from Africa..

maciekda 02-01-2007 05:50 PM

Re: redundancy
true, some of the photos are redunant, I will replace them with something different. and I will replace 'the romance' with 'baby don't cry' I am not sure whether to include travel shots or some decisive moments from the streets...? maybe i will try to find sth completely different in my archives

Luko 02-01-2007 06:46 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
"you're documenting 17-yr olds... this is exactly how they are. "
Probably but you have to be realistic and first think who's paying.

The problem Greg, is that you'll never see such pictures published for many reasons ... hence if you can't make money out, they're worth nothing. Maturity and market realism is also something they'd expect from their photographers, I guess.

I wonder if photojournalist students have some tips to share about the editors unofficial or unwritten rules... Narayan, something to say about that?

"I think you'd be better to take 10 either from the Phnom Penh dump"
Talking about weak themes, this is typically for me the false strong theme.. every tourist now goes to the Phnom Penh dump to get the sense they are war photographers, then back into their AC car. I'll stop there because I've already written what I felt about it, in past critics.

I'm not sure at that stage that the agencies are looking for new themes, -they'll provide their assignees the bloodiest themes you can imagine- but rather for a way to photo any kind of theme. If this is, I reckon 10 photos on Phnom Penh dump would be very redundant... but again I could be wrong, this is where it should be interesting to have learning photojournalists share their experience.

greg 02-01-2007 08:49 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
Hi Luko,

I'm sure you're right about publication. Still, there must be something to be said for showing the agency what you think are good photographs before thinking about what to sell. The alternative's pretty depressing. If he has a couple in every submission they like but can't print, I don't think that's negative. That the focus was rotten is another matter!

As for the dump, it may be overdone, perhaps even somewhat shallow in the involvement (yet aren't many successful photos?), but at least it is a theme - that's all I meant, and Maciek has some pretty good ones in the dump genre. Could be any other theme. You can't present a portfolio of 'my travels abroad' - not unless you're interesting and famous enough to string them together with your own life. Otherwise you give that very same impression of comfy tourism, cushy hotels and AC cars...

many greetings,

don_narayan 02-01-2007 10:39 PM

Re: my portfolio for the VII contest
If you don't have a strong 10 image package, make it however long it needs to be in order to be strong... don't ever put in a weak image just to fill space. 20 singles is no good... you want to show that you can shoot a package, even if it is only 4 or 5 images in a package. But serious, think about sequencing, some photos back to back may hurt one another, others will compliment each other... and you might even think about transitions between picture packages... it all matters.

I'm not telling you that all this is the law... but it is stuff I have been learning, stuff I think is worth passing on to someone that has some drive and wants to make something for himself in this business.

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