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Thread: Can you guys critique my website/portfolio of my large format photography work?

  1. #141
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Can you guys critique my website/portfolio of my large format photography work?

    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    I absolutely agree with this. However, when I toured and looked at the final photography MFA thesis projects coming out of UCLA, I was just stunned by how 'plain' they were, both on the surface and conceptually. Since UCLA is the school where Catherine Opie reigns, it seems like, despite the I-don't-conform-to-anything attitude (which was definitely present), the MFA photography students were nonetheless compelled into making second rate Catherine Opie-type work, or rather try to one-up Opie's own work, which of course failed.
    That may be because they went to UCLA because of Catherine Opie and wanted to emulate her. Doing that just makes for watered-down derivative work because it is not coming from their own vision and sense of creativity. Also, sometimes professors encourage a student to go down a path that might not really be suited for them. It takes some backbone to resist that pressure and do one's own work.

  2. #142

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    Re: Can you guys critique my website/portfolio of my large format photography work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pieter View Post
    That may be because they went to UCLA because of Catherine Opie and wanted to emulate her. Doing that just makes for watered-down derivative work because it is not coming from their own vision and sense of creativity. Also, sometimes professors encourage a student to go down a path that might not really be suited for them. It takes some backbone to resist that pressure and do one's own work.
    True. Although the MFA route is still a mystery to me, I'm sure that some of the students who went to Yale went there to, at least partially, emulate Gregory Crewdson. Like you've said, the same is probably true with UCLA and Catherine Opie. I bet the students at these schools would vehemently deny this, but what I saw at the UCLA photography MFA theses a few years ago were either second-rate Catherine Opie or just bizzare variations of her work. I guess I better start shooting some hardcore gay/lesbian/trans portraiture if I hope to attend UCLA. For Yale, I'll have to fly back to my hometown in Connecticut and photograph nearby somber towns with downtrodden people in semi-depressing scenes at sundown like scenes from a movie. I guess that's where my NYU film school BFA might come in handy...

  3. #143
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Can you guys critique my website/portfolio of my large format photography work?

    Quote Originally Posted by manfrominternet View Post
    True. Although the MFA route is still a mystery to me, I'm sure that some of the students who went to Yale went there to, at least partially, emulate Gregory Crewdson. Like you've said, the same is probably true with UCLA and Catherine Opie. I bet the students at these schools would vehemently deny this, but what I saw at the UCLA photography MFA theses a few years ago were either second-rate Catherine Opie or just bizzare variations of her work. I guess I better start shooting some hardcore gay/lesbian/trans portraiture if I hope to attend UCLA. For Yale, I'll have to fly back to my hometown in Connecticut and photograph nearby somber towns with downtrodden people in semi-depressing scenes at sundown like scenes from a movie. I guess that's where my NYU film school BFA might come in handy...
    Make sure it looks totally depressing and unnatural. And the people need to be stiff and staring off into the distance. Don't forget big production values! And a fog machine.

  4. #144
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    Re: Can you guys critique my website/portfolio of my large format photography work?

    I’m a retired professional photographer. It was a second career for me. But I did pretty good with it and I enjoyed every moment of my business.

    The best thing that happened to me, helping me get going rather quickly, was finding a gentleman who became my coach and mentor. He really helped me.

    For me, the best potential for income, is making photographs of people.

    My recommendation is to find someone who is successful who would be willing to serve as your coach and mentor.

    I’d skip the MFA program.

    Dean Collins once said, “beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder.”

    If you have one, keep your day job until you get going with photography. Or is it a hobby for you?

  5. #145
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Can you guys critique my website/portfolio of my large format photography work?

    Quote Originally Posted by wclark5179 View Post
    I’m a retired professional photographer. It was a second career for me. But I did pretty good with it and I enjoyed every moment of my business.

    The best thing that happened to me, helping me get going rather quickly, was finding a gentleman who became my coach and mentor. He really helped me.

    For me, the best potential for income, is making photographs of people.

    My recommendation is to find someone who is successful who would be willing to serve as your coach and mentor.

    I’d skip the MFA program.

    Dean Collins once said, “beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder.”

    If you have one, keep your day job until you get going with photography. Or is it a hobby for you?
    I believe the OP is interested in being a fine art photographer. Statistically he will not be making tons of money, he may barely be able to pay rent. But if that is his passion, being in an MFA program is probably the best and easiest way to being mentored--it is almost the definition of such a program in the arts. I wish him the best, that he be able to follow his heart and not sell out to some commercial photography business. I know many successful commercial photographers, the number of them that are able to do fine art work (that I am impressed with) is quite small. It is difficult for the fine art side not to be contaminated by the commercial side. He would be better off working a totally different job to pay for his fine art photography.

  6. #146

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    Re: Can you guys critique my website/portfolio of my large format photography work?

    I got my MFA a few years ago and it's been a struggle to get into teaching college. I've only been able to get adjunct positions over the years and have had to take full time jobs outside of the field to live on. I taught at this one college for a dude who was taking sabbatical, and a full time job opened up at another school in the city I was living in. I asked the acting chair of the department while he was away for a reference because they sat in on a couple of my classes. She was pretty unresponsive and I had to call them one day and left a voicemail. I got an email reply shortly after the call saying they couldn't give me a reference because they didn't know me or my work, even though they sat in on my classes. When dude came back from sabbatical I wasn't asked back as an adjunct, and never heard anything from that school again. After that experience I gave up on the whole teaching thing and needed stability so I got a job outside of the field I hated. I dabbled in photo for a few years just shooting random crap, still keeping it close by. Then an opportunity arose to teach at a college part time (I had a good job and the schedule to do so), so I took it. After 8 years I'm finally teaching full time (3 classes), but getting paid per credit hour as an adjunct. Next semester I've got 3 classes lined up, but it's looking like one isn't going to make it due to enrollment. So I have to compensate on my other job to make up for that loss of income. Luckily I have really good health insurance and won't have to worry about that. During those years I wasn't really doing photography I started a business and was making good money, buying a lot of cool stuff, finally felt like I wasn't struggling financially. But at the end of the day I felt this emptiness inside, this desire to create. And I just had to realize that I'm a creative person and need to use that part of my brain on a weekly basis for the rest of my life. Do I regret getting my MFA? Yes and no. I had two good teachers that actually helped me during my MFA program, and some crap teachers too, just like any school. I went to school with people who came from wealthy families and never had a job during school, or have had a job post school. Now we're at a point where people are retiring and it's time for my generation of people to step up and get those jobs we've wanted for years. But just keep in mind, the MFA won't pay off immediately. It's going to be a struggle for a long time, and it may or may not pay off in the end. You have to ask yourself why you want to pursue this degree, and make a financial plan for yourself post school.

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