Picture Editor, Jason Houston, at Center’s Review LA

The snow plow had just taken out our mailbox and it was raining ice when I left Great Barrington – all the more reason it felt right to be headed to Southern California in mid-January. I was headed to Center’s Review LA, the first of a handful of portfolio reviews I’ll be attending this year. Center is a great organization with a mission to “honor, support and provide opportunity for gifted and committed photographers” and “bring exposure to worthy photographic projects and series, and create fellowship among photographers and influential members of the photographic community.” To learn more about them click here.

Portfolio reviews have become an increasingly important tool in the ever-evolving art research process at Orion. Through them we get the opportunity to see a ton of great work from committed up-and-coming photographers, as well as those who are more established, and most of what we see is more personal projects that are typically long-term, well-developed, and, most importantly, projects the artists are deeply committed to. It’s also a great opportunity to spend time with other professionals in the photo world, exploring future collaborations and sharing resources towards a common goal of raising the standards of the visual art we’re all publishing. To see the impressive list of reviewers click here.

But most important, we find a lot of great work. In the last few years since I began actively participating as a reviewer, we’ve published many artists I’ve met at these events, including recently Jon Edward’s Weeder portfolio, Benj Drummond and Sara Steele’s Uncertain Future picture essay, Jason B. Smith’s Under the Fence picture essay, Christof Kalt’s Scales portfolio (see Sep/Oct 2008), and a dozen more who we’ve used to accompany features and illustrate various columns and departments.

Upcoming portfolio reviews where I will be reviewing work include PhotoAlliance’s ‘Our World’ in San Francisco, CA March 13-15, Photolucida’s Annual Portfolio Review in Portland, OR April 23-26, and Center’s Review Santa Fe in Santa Fe, NM June 4-6.