Portfolio review by Martin Parr

I had already shown my body of work to Martin Parr at the workshop I attended in Sicily during the summer, but he had only seen the individual prints, not the book. One of the things he commented on was the amount of text – he felt there should be less. Martin felt that there should be only one press article per page, but I wanted to keep the narrative more open. My solution was to address this in two ways: the book does have less text, but still more than one article per page; but the text presented on translucent overlays to better integrate with the images. I was keen to show the completed book to Martin in both its large and low-cost versions.

We did the portfolio review by Zoom and I set up two cameras so that I could show Martin the book in detail while still holding a face-to-face conversation with him. Martin admired the book – he liked the images and the concept of reproduction with linen. Although he had spent some time living in Ireland and has a retrospective tour of his Irish work coming up, he was not aware of the history of the linen trade and its colonial connections.

He still felt that there was too much text in the book, but I am happy now that I have the balance right. He did ask me for a copy of the book to put in his library at the Martin Parr Foundation, which I was obviously pleased about. While on that subject we briefly discussed my earlier book 100 Women 100 Years which I had shown him in Sicily, and he agreed to include a copy of that book in his library too.

Martin suggested I approach the Seamus Heaney Centre and the Belfast Exposed gallery with a view to exhibiting my work. He gave me contact details for the director of each and said I should mention his name when I contacted them. This should be an excellent opportunity to get some attention for my work.

Work placement – Photo Meet Open Call feature

My latest work with Photo Meet was helping in the preparation of a feature entitled The Rural consisting of work submitted by a number of photographers to the Photo Meet / Northern Narratives Open Call.

This was to be a group feature contrasting with an earlier feature entitled The Urban.

The photographers and selected images were chosen by Mimi Mollica – I will write separately about working on this process with him – and he supplied me with a list of questions he wished me to put to the photographers. I proof-read the questions and then suggested some minor alterations.

The main work was to contact all the photographers, send them the questions and edit their replies before submitting them to Mimi for the feature. Of course, there was some chasing up required, but most came back to me very quickly.

I also wrote the introduction to the feature, starting with Mimi’s brief for the feature and synthesising the themes as described by the photographers in their submissions.

The feature was announced on Facebook and Mimi kindly credited me for my assistance with the project.



Portfolio review planning

In parallel with working on my portfolio pdf, I am planning who I will ask to do reviews. Collective portfolio reviews is one option – those associated with photography exhibitions and festivals. The other possibility is to approach individual photographers, and it is this I intend to pursue initially. I have two photographers in mind initially.

Stuart Franklin is a member of, and ex-president of, Magnum. I have worked with Stuart briefly, assisting him on a project in Brittany as part of his book ‘Analogies’, published in 2019. I have asked him to review my Body of Work and he has agreed.

Tristan Poyser is a Manchester-based photographer who produced the most recent photography series about the Irish border. The Invisible In-between was exhibited at Belfast Exposed in 2019. I thought that his opinion of the work would be valuable, given his relatively recent exploration of the border and photographic interpretation of it.

Beyond that I plan to get further reviews at Photo Meet in London in June. As part of my work experience plans I will be working as a volunteer on setting up and running the event. One of the benefits of this is that I will be offered free portfolio reviews.

To quote from their website, Photo Meet is ‘A one-of-a-kind event in the creative heart of one of the world’s leading photography capitals, attendees will receive tailor-made advice in one-to-one portfolio reviews  with experts drawn from across the industry, together with talks, workshops, screenings and organised networking opportunities, where they’ll learn more about the dynamics of the contemporary photography market.’