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Photo Folio Review


Aurore Valade, photographer, only 30 years old, from the Bordeaux school of Beaux-Arts and the Ecole Nationale de la Photographie d’Arles. The young photographer, from the South of France, is participating for the first time in the Photo Folio Review, organized by the Festival Rencontres d’Arles; we asked her about the portfolio reviews that sometimes create some debate with regards to the applicable tarifs in order to participate.

The access to portfolio reviews is 290 Euros to meet 10 experts. It’s expensive, what made you decide to participate in this, rather then the numerous lectures organized for free in parallel to the meetings? It’s the first time I’ve done portfolio reviews. I’m not Parisian, I’m provincial and constantly in movement on my photographic projects. I don’t really have my feet on the ground, I move regularly. So for me it’s difficult to have any follow-up from the professional sector. In France, so much happens in Paris. To be known, you have to be present regularly. And for me, it’s a handicap. If I have to go to Paris for professional meetings, it costs me a lot of money, and moreover it takes up a lot of my time! To be able to concentrate on my work, I decided to work on my communication over the short term and stop doing doing this all throughout the year, to save time. This is why I signed up for the Photo Folio Review. Therefore I pay just one train ticket, and I meet professionals who come from all over the world, and who have come especially to meet photographers: they’re available and they listen.

You set up meetings with 20 experts. Why see so many reviewers?
It’s interesting to be able to meet a maximum of people, of different backgrounds, in a short time frame – the meetings last 20 minutes. It is both sufficient and yet sometimes a bit frustrating depending on the person in front of you. I wanted to understand globally where I could situate myself from a professional and commercial standpoint. They’re not there to judge. This allows me to know who I should contact in order to develop my professional network and to develop my work. I can therefore figure out where I fit in in the photography market. Today, I don’t send out cold mails, to people I don’t know, so this is the opportunity to have attention and on top of that, to be confronted with their reactions.

Is the choice of the experts, initially selectioned during the registration process, well respected?
I had the chance of meeting all of the reviewers that I had selectioned for the first session, because I signed up very early, on the first day. I met not only galerists, exhibition curators, collectors… But the meeting I was most looking forward to was with Erik Kessels. That was a superb experience, a beautiful exchange!

What assessment would you give regarding your participation to the Photo Folio Review?
I’m really happy. It is a timesaver, and an investment well worth it. On top of it all, it’s a good period to prepare the contacts: after Arles, it’s vacation time, which allows me to have some distance and prepare getting back to people in September. What I find unfortunate is that the sessions are 10 meetings, which comes to 29 euros, not expensive, but times 10, it becomes a significant amount. They should do individual reviews, or by 5, it would be more affordable.

Do you think the free lectures are of lesser quality?
The free lectures are interesting, but you have to arrive very early and wait a long time. We waste time. And also, I prefer to be certain that I’ll be able to meet the expert of my choice.

Ericka Weidmann

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