I've been back from Photolucida for a week now. While I've been thinking about what reviewers told me, I'm only just getting to re-reading my notes and I haven't yet turned on my voice recorder to hear what was said. After weeks of preparation and worry and a not insignificant cost, now that the reviews are over, now what do I do? I met with 18 reviewers formally and a few more informally. I got good advice and useful comments from all of them, which is good and a problem all at the same time.
I approached this whole process as a beginner; when I signed up for Photolucida, I hadn't done portfolio reviews before. I was in the middle of preparing for my first review at Atlanta Celebrates Photography. By the time the ACP reviews rolled around, I was tempted to pull out. From looking at some of the work on Photolucida's website, I felt like this might be out of my league. Some of the photographers are full-time artists who've been shown in galleries. I believe artists at that caliber are looking for representation or opportunities for new shows.
I figured since I was meeting with a few reviewers at ACP anyway, many of whom had reviewed for Photolucida in the past I'd ask what they thought. I had one tell me I should wait, but others told me they thought it would be a good idea for me to go to Photolucida. At the ACP portfolio walk, I even had a brief minute to speak to Laura Moya, the director of Photolucida. She was quite encouraging. I decided to go ahead and go. Not that I didn't reconsider several times. I had months to worry and panic about the work I was going to show and whether it would be as important or as polished as the work as other photographers there.
I decided I'd just look for feedback on my work. I wanted to know what they thought of the projects I'm working on and what I'd need to do it improve or focus my work to make it suitable for showing in a gallery or for publishing.
The next trick is sorting through all of it, figuring out what advice to put to use and what not to use. Maybe writing about it here will help.