Report on FOTOFEST2008

PART V - The Meeting Place-Sixteen days of Portfolio Reviews

FotoFest's 20 Meeting Place has become the standard review in 14 countries around the world.

140 reviewers are brought to FotoFest to review 350 artist/photographers over a 16 day period.

Students at the Meeting Place

In October 2006, FotoFest brought 30 curators from Europe, North America and Australia to Beijing to reviews the portfolios of 275 Chinese photographers chosen from 1000 photographers who applied from every province in China. The event was a great success but one of the Surprise benefits was that the students who acting as translators for the reviewers began the take Active role in the review process after the second day. The Meeting Place as a teaching tool became obvious to us. The China experience convinced us that we should introduce Graduate Students from Rice University and the University of Houston Fine Arts Photography programs to the Meeting Place portfolios review process. The feed back that we have received indicates that this is a very useful education process and we plan to expand the program in 2010. A number of the students said that it was difficult to get an idea about the business practices necessary to learn for a career in photography or learn how to organize ones ideas in the 20 minute time frame in an academic setting. One student described the Meeting Place as a place that "provides a crash course in the realities of selling yourself and your work."

The Unofficial Meeting Place

Ann Tucker is one of the most sought after reviewers ate the Meeting Place. She is not only a highly respected curator but buys hundreds of photographs from artists at the Meeting Place. Here she is exchanging cards with LI Lang one of the most successful artists of the 2008 FotoFest. Carola Herrin, a FotoFest Board member and collector, is also having a look. The unofficial Meeting Place has become a very popular place for collectors to make purchases directly from the artists who do a lot of business here. This activity takes place directly outside of the room where the portfolios are taking place so this is one stop shopping for many collectors. FotoFest makes no attempt to control or profit from this informal marketplace. It's a lot of fun for everybody concerned and adds to the popularity of the Meeting Place and the reason that it sells out so quickly when it is announced in June the previous year.

Artist LU Nan with GAO Lei showing his work to Nion McEvoy of Chronicle Books.

Photographs taken with a Leica Digilux 2

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