My portfolio review experience

by Nathalie Brouard

Nathalie Brouard

I participated to the past two portfolio reviews (2009, 2010) and it has been a fantastic experience. But, more importantly it helped me to improve my photography.

During the monthly print critique, we receive advice and opinions on our individual images. The portfolio review brings you to a whole new level — thinking about a whole body of work.

It started for me with reflection — why do I take pictures?

Therefore, my first portfolio (2009) was a travel through time and the traces it leaves behind (Suntales of the passing time). From this first experience I learned how to focus my message and create a coherent body of work.

My second portfolio (2010) was more of a self-portrait relating my discovery of my new home (Texas Impressions). They were printed using the cyanotype process. The critiques and comments were very encouraging and I am now working on so many other projects that I’m not sure which one will make the next review.

In summary, participating to the portfolio review is wonderful way to bring your photography from individual nice pictures to the next level and develop your artistic message.

Portfolio Pieces
Click on Thumbnail to view full-size

Artist Statement

Texas Impressions (from 2010)

I was born in a country town in the heart of Normandy, France.

My studies and career took me around the world from Paris, France to Melbourne, Australia, and for the last four years, Houston, Texas.

The photographs presented here are some of my first impressions of my new home.

First came the fascination for the local fauna, and the unique landscapes. Then came the cowboys.

Moving beyond the clichés of Cowboys and Indians from movies in my childhood memories, I increasingly became aware of the hard work behind the Western wear.

February 2011 print competition slideshow

February’s print competition took place Tuesday, February 22, 2011 and was judged by photographer Hugh Hargrave. The slideshow from this meeting is courtesy of HPS member Leslie Stessel. The special assignment theme for the month was “Small Town USA.”

This month’s print competition winners’ photos will be posted in the near future once all photos have been received.

February 2011 print competition

When? Tuesday, February 22, 2011 : 7-9 p.m.
Where? Tracy Gee Community Center
What? Join us for our monthly print competition. HPS members may bring up to two total prints in their respective group (bronze, silver or gold – new members begin in the bronze group). All members may enter the monthly Special Assignment but keep in mind that doing so still counts towards your two total prints.

This month’s Special Assignment theme is “Small Town USA.”

Afterwards, feel free to join us for the meeting after the meeting as many of us will drive a very short distance to La Madeleine French Country Cafe (10001 Westheimer Rd) for some social interaction and late night snack.

Pinhole outing 2011 was a blur

Photos from the outing
Click on thumbnail to view full image.

More than a dozen HPS members made their way to George Ranch, just east of Sugar Land, Texas, this past Saturday, Feb. 12 to participate in a pinhole photography outing.

Organized by HPS activities coordinator Nathalie Brouard, this popular outing followed a successful program meeting about pinhole photography the previous Tuesday evening.

Individuals tested their new “pinhole lens” at George Ranch, which comprised of a drilled out camera body cap with clear plastic for the lens and a pinhole-sized hole fashioned from aluminum tape.

The clear plastic lens was then painted black to keep light from bouncing within the camera body.

On April 26, the special assignment category is “Pinhole Photography” for the April monthly print competition.

This coincides with Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD). HPS is a selected event for WPPD.

Video put together by Nathalie Brouard from the outing.

To learn more about pinhole photography, visit the Wikipedia site.

Portfolio Review: online series

Artist Statement

Made with Love and Yummy for the Tummy

Taking pictures of foods I have eaten helps memories return again and again. These images are of foods my aunt prepared for Passovers over the years. She is a great cook and family is always the main course. This portfolio honors Aunt Lil.

About the Photographer

Leslie Stessel

My interest in photography began at the age of 13 years old when I received my first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye, which I still own. About 10 years ago, I decided to attend Houston Community College and finesse my photography skills. Today, I am a semi-professional part-time photographer for weddings, events, etc.

~Leslie Stessel

One of the more valuable features that membership with the Houston Photographic Society provides is what’s known as the annual Portfolio Review that takes place every second Tuesday and Thursday in October.

It is similar to what FotoFest offers. However, HPS features it yearly and it is inclusive of the yearly membership dues.

Every year, members are encouraged to put forth a portfolio of photos comprised of a cohesive body of work and exhibit them as if they would be shown at a gallery or museum.

It is wise to think in advance about such a portfolio prior to starting it instead of simply collecting bodies of work that are lying around. It can take several months to photograph and prepare for proper presentation.

The porfolio must have a common theme with a continuity of printing and presentation including an artist statement.

If you would like to know how to better prepare your own portfolio, please refer to our Portfolio Review section of the website or speak with HPS Portfolio Review Chairman Jim Fife, as he is always happy to share his wisdom in this area.

We will be featuring previous year portfolios online now from our membership who wish to share. The goal is to feature one or two per month to give members and prospective members a taste of what to expect and possibly how to prepare.

This first one in this new series features Leslie Stessel.

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