Like Building Blocks

Like puzzles, photographs must fit together for flow and harmony in a portfolio.

I have been teaching now for more than 30 years, working with the young and older in a range of photography classes. I have worked in different geographic areas within varying cultures, sharing photographic explorations. The most common single thread is that all people having so many diverse interests, often make photographs as if they were displaying a wide range of shoe styles! The issue is not about the widest selection, rather it is about identifying the common traits found within the many prints presented.

A cohesive body of work is exactly that: a body of work that is cohesive in relating and supporting one another. Creating a portfolio of photographs with order in mind to achieve strength and unity, must reflect a determination and confidence by the maker. The images must be technically treated in a manner so as not to conflict. It is possible to utilize some different methods in printing, but nothing so radical that the print becomes more about the process than the image itself.

All printing techniques, whether traditional or not, must be employed in service to the image for its best communication and understanding. This is also true of presentation methods. Essentially, presentation is about neutrality. The intent is to allow the image on paper support, or other material, to be read and understood. We must all resist pretty and decorative motifs that serve more to distract than contribute to the photograph’s power. Such an understanding comes with maturity in a photographer.

The Building the Photographic Portfolio workshop is about all these things. Most especially, the workshop seeks and supports the maturity of each photographer’s work. This process does take time, and will not be accomplished in a single day. But, we all can begin again to see with fresh eyes and a renewed enthusiasm, passion, and commitment.

Stephan Brigidi

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