The Black & White portfolio

Workshop with Don Messec

The Black & White Portfolio

June 19-23, 2016

Limit 6
Welcome support of Hahnemuehle USA

“What does your portfolio need to look like?” “What’s in, what’s out?” It is a little like framing an image before opening the shutter. While a portfolio is not everything, it is you. It is personal. Is needs to be complete within itself. If this were music it would be the creative process of going from a significant theme, why you took certain pictures, to a full arrangement, even movements. Done right it can reveal to you facets of your work you may not have completely understood. We begin the workshop with a full throated discussion of various criteria and how I go about selecting images in a non-tortuous way.

This workshop is about the entire process of making a portfolio of Black and White prints with an eye toward a cohesive portfolio, not just a parade of hits. The editorial process of what belongs in a portfolio and the tougher call – what does not plays a big role throughout the workshop. Each attendee will select 10 to 20 images from a much larger collection of your work to include in their portfolio. This is invaluable practice and process. Ideally, you will print a copy of your portfolio here, however once you’ve selected enough portfolio images than the task of final processes and proofing for the portfolio takes over. And don’t be surprised if you cut and add images before you are done. This is where patience needs to exceed skill and skills need to grow to your vision, including evaluating your digital workflow. You may be surprised at obtaining a new found dedication to an excellence you didn’t even know was possible. Achieving excellence often take time.

Even though you ultimate portfolio may be in a different medium, say platinum or photopolymer gravure as examples, everyone will be able to make prints using any number of Piezography ink sets and on any of several choices of paper. If you already are certain of your paper preference, we will make certain to have it. Once you have your printing worked out this workshop is small enough that each person will get their own printer with their choice of Piezography inks so that you will be able to concentrate and work at your own pace. At some point in the workshop I will pick someone’s image to demo platinum possibly another to demo gravure. On Friday we will review each person’s progress and take on issues of finish.

You should leave here with a clear idea of where your portfolio is going and why whether your intention is approaching galleries, preparing for reviews like Photolucida, exhibition or simply articulating better online gallery choices.

What’s Included

To provide you with a range of choices that influence the final presentation and image interpretation the studio comes setup with all of the basic Piezography ink sets preloaded in printers: Neutral, Warm Neutral, Carbon, Selenium, Special Edition. There will be plenty of Cone Edition Type 2 and 5 papers at 8 1/2x11” and 13x19” paper plus an assortment of other papers for which there are Piezography profiles, including some Canson Infinity papers and Hahnemuhle. Special request for a paper you are highly likely to use and paper size, 8 1/2x11” or 13x19,” for your portfolio should be made at the time of registration.

There will be sufficient Epson printers in the studio (currently 16) to set each participant up with their own printer + ink set once final portfolio printing begins. You will be given paper, sufficient to make one or 2 proof prints of each image and your portfolio print.

What to Bring

  • Digital image files including original captures – this is important!
  • Laptop with Photoshop. I can if necessary accommodate one or two who do not have laptops. 
  • Portable media such as a multi-GB flash drive or external hard drive.
  • A sense of purpose, focus and patience – best work takes at least all three.
  • Fully processed digital image files as many as you can.
  • Something to pack your prints in.
  • Camera, for lots of reasons.
  • A good lens for shooting documentation of portfolio prints – optional.

That’s it! Any questions about supplies, please feel free to contact us.

Workshop Itinerary

  • Monday morning begins with students arriving at the studio between 9:30-10 AM.
  • Daily instruction is 10 AM to 4 PM with the studio open to students between 9:30 AM and 7 PM. Exception is Friday when the workshop ends at 4 PM.
  • Bring a lunch everyday except Tuesday when we go out Dutch for a late lunch
  • Thursday night we host a dinner in our courtyard. Companion welcome.
  • If opportunity and conditions collide we may get to add a photo excursion.