The Black & White portfolio

Workshop with Don Messec

The Black & White Portfolio

Fall – October 9-13, 2017

Welcome support of Hahnemuehle USA
Limit 8

“What is a portfolio, what’s it look like?” “What’s in, what’s out?” It is a little like framing an image before opening the shutter. Sometimes it happens very quickly and sometimes it is far more of a thoughtful journey. While a portfolio is not everything you prize, it is you; it is personal. It needs to be complete within itself. To take your aesthetic expressions and build a synergy among the included images. Done right it may even reveal to you facets of your work you had yet to 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. By the end of Monday you will have sorted your images to begin the task of proof printing and perfecting.

There will be numerous printers and ink sets networked for you to access. Last meeting of this workshop we had 10 printers on the network. With this much printing power exploration of your desires is beyond anything you may have previously experienced. This workshop is about the entire process of making a portfolio of Black and White prints with an eye toward a cohesive portfolio that exists in tangible fabulous prints. The editorial process of what belongs in a portfolio and the tougher call – what does not plays a role throughout the workshop. Each attendee will select 10 to 20 images from that much larger collection of your work. 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 processing and proofing for the portfolio takes over. Don’t be surprised if you remove and add images before you are done. This is where patience needs to exceed skill and skills need to grow to your vision. You may just develop a new idea of excellence you didn’t even know was possible. Achieving excellence take time, but we are on a mission!

Ultimate you may chose to execute your portfolio in a different medium, say platinum or photopolymer gravure as examples, in which case this workshop will provide extremely useful highest quality proofing. With a large network of printers 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. On Friday we will review each person’s progress and take on issues of finish.

You should leave here, if not with a portfolio, at least with a clear idea of where your portfolio is going and why. Whether your intention is approaching galleries, preparing for review, exhibition or simply articulating better online gallery choices I believe you will find this workshop a terrific value.

Registration is open.

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.