Portfolio for College Admissions

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by pjm1289, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. pjm1289

    pjm1289 Member

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    Hello! I'm not sure if my topic applies to this category, but it seemed most fitting.

    I am in the midst of organizing my photography portfolio for college admissions, meaning I am one of the younger APUG-ers, and also a devout film user at that (film is still alive among the the young!). But that's just a side comment. I have 23 final prints that I want to include in my book. All my work that I'm including is my most recent, dating back to January of 2007.

    I often work in themes, executing photo shoots based around an idea. I shoot my photographs as narratives in an editorial context, as if they were going to be published in a magazine. So in one theme, for example I have a theme simply titled Love, I have three different editorial-style narratives represented in that set. I'm not 100% sure if these mini-sets are visually telling, so basically I'm not sure if anyone will be able to differentiate between the three sets I have within my portfolio. I don't want the photos to be viewed as one entire set, but as three seperate sets or essays.

    Is it okay to place a brief statement at the beginning of each theme, giving a title and a synopsis of the work?

    Thanks for your help in advance!

    --Paolo
     
  2. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    One suggestion, if there is a particular school you are considering, see if they have an admissions agreement with a 2 year college or community college. Most of the admissions agreements do away with the portfolio review (as well as cost about 1/3 per hour of the 4 year colleges)

    erie
     
  3. pjm1289

    pjm1289 Member

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    Hi Erie. Yes, I've looked at the admissions requirements of the schools I'm considering. Some of them suggest working in themes (as I am doing) as others are vague and simply say submit 15-20 of your "best" images.

    But in any case, I'm definitely going to a 4-year college to get a BFA. I want the full college experience.

    --Paolo
     
  4. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    Which schools in particular are you applying to? And also it seems odd nowadays to be sending actual prints to schools rather than slides or a cd. In any case I would strictly adhere to what the instructions say and don't inlcude writing if they don't ask for it.
    -Grant
     
  5. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    The school here (MCAD) suggested very highly that my portfolio contain shots that were all in the current aesthetic being pushed at the school.

    On the other hand, the other schools I talked to were varied as to what they wanted.

    So my advice would be to treat your portfolio like a resume and tailor it to each application.
     
  6. mmcclellan

    mmcclellan Subscriber

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    Paolo,

    FWIW, you might want to put your stuff up in the Portfolio section of APUG and ask people here to comment on ur pics and "vote" on them (or on the themes, as the case may be). The comments you get from the many knowledgeable people here may be helpful in deciding what to include. I'm sure if you did the portfolio and then started a new thread explaining what you're doing and why you need everyone's help, you'll get a ton of useful comments.

    Hopefully, that may help you decide. Good luck with your application!
     
  7. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I was accepted into a colleges fine arts program (no photography in the course) with an entrance portfolio consisting only of 4x5 B&W contact prints. Follow your heart, more than your head...if you've 'got it', they'll recognize it.

    Maybe you could put each sequence of prints into three different folio's, and place those within whatever container your sending them in. If you put the Roman numerals I, II and III on the folio's they'll figure it out. Also, if they don't ask for written material they probably won't read it.

    Intimidating and exciting times for you!!!

    Murray

    P.S. If you don't get in because your work wasn't "...all in the current aesthetic being pushed at the school", would you really have wanted to go there anyway?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2007
  8. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    A school with a POV like that is one to be avoided.
     
  9. pjm1289

    pjm1289 Member

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    Wow, okay thanks for the suggestions everyone!

    I'm looking at NYU-Tisch, School of Visual Arts, Parsons, Art Institute of Boston, and SUNY Purchase.

    I live in Manhattan so I figured that I would do interviews as opposed to just sending in slides. According to my college advisor, I'd be a more effective candidate in an interview setting. But I like prints better than slides anyway.

    Also, I like the roman numeral idea. One of my good friends told me to put a cover sheet or an inventory at the beginning of the portfolio, giving the title, year completed, and size. Would it work to put I.I, I.II, I.III etc for folio 1 and then II.I, II.II, II.III for folio 2 and so on? (I think that makes sense...)

    Again, thanks to everyone for your help! I really appreciate it!

    --Paolo

    PS - I'm not an APUG subscriber so I can't create a portfolio. And I am credit card-less so I can subscribe... but you can have a look-sy at my work at www.paolomorales.com. The work generally follows themes of teenage life as I am 17... just a note about the work. Those aren't all the pieces but all the ones I like. I'm only including the first three sections and excluding the Portraits section -- that part is just up there for my friends.
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Paolo,

    Nice stuff. In fact I could be cynical and say too nice in some cases -- too many people seem to be enjoying themselves, and the colors are all appropriate instead of generic-art-student-cyan-or-cross-processed.

    One thought. When I was your age -- well, a little older -- I had a choice of art school (BA Fine Art in photography, Coventry College of Art and Design) or law school (University of Birmingham).

    I chose law because it's a degree in bullshit, which is an AWFUL lot of what you need to earn a living in photography: you can pick up the technical skills quite quickly (which I did as an assistant in a London advertising studio).

    All right, times have changed almost 40 years on, but there are still photographers who will take on assistants who haven't been to art school. Have a little think about it.

    Remember, too, that a portfolio critique is a two-way thing. You might care to look at http://www.rogerandfrances.com/photoschool/ps critique.html for a view from the other side of the critic's table. It's not written with your situation in mind (applying to a college) but you might still pick up a couple of ideas.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  11. laverdure

    laverdure Member

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    Hey Paolo, that looks like pretty decent stuff and good luck. But I gotta add that for my sensitive eyes, that little bright flash you have your pictures do kept me from looking at as many as I would have.
     
  12. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Paolo, what do you intend to do with your photography long term? What is the ultimate purpose of your photography/college education?
     
  13. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    Paolo,

    I go to Parsons currently, I'm going to be a junior this coming semester. One quick comment I have about your website is that the "flashing" is really bothersome. Other than that, I like how your work is layed out and think you have some nice work there. I also think for college portfolio purposes you could easily combine photos from different series in order to form a cohesive body of work. They all deal with similar themes, like you said "your life as a 17 year old." Unless the application guidelines say you can include writing, summaries, synopses, etc. I wouldn't include them because aside from the chance of them not even reading them there might be the chance that they won't even consider you since you weren't following their instructions. I would follow the rules just to take out any variables as for why you shouldn't be admitted.

    And from that list of schools, each one seems to be notable for specific aspects of "art." So you might choose accordingly. Parsons is a design school, therefore you will be required to take not only some art history but also design history. You will talk about how work functions and practicality. And also a fair amount of writing and talking about critical theories, etc. SVA is more so a commercial aesthetic type school. They seem to have more emphasis on how your photos look rather than what they might be "of." AIB and SUNY Purchase both seem to want everyone to be a well-rounded student and start you off with classes in a bunch of styles of photography (portraiture, studio, documentary, color, b&w, etc. are all required courses). And NYU I'm not sure what I would say their "type" is, but I do know that they have nice looking facilities with couches and wallpaper on the darkroom floor. With all these generalizations being made, I'm not saying that if you go to a school that you will be forced to make their type of work; I'm saying that is what these schools are best known for (generally speaking, ha). Good luck.

    -Grant
     
  14. pjm1289

    pjm1289 Member

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    Hello there everyone!

    Roger, I love your (?) site that you linked! I have printed it out and posted it to be bulletin board for future reference. I'm sure it will come in handy soon.

    And Laverdure, I agree with everyone now about the flashes... I'm going to get rid of it. I mainly work with strobes to light my scenes so its meant to emulate that. But now that I take a better look at it, its more annoying than anything else.

    Hey there, Early Riser. I'm not 100% what I want to do with my photography. I do know I like to take pictures. I look at a lot of commerical work and collect photography books by Mark Seliger, Annie Leibovitz, Rineke Dystrka (spelling?), Sally Mann, Mario Testino. So from that list, you could infer that I would like to be a commerical photographer. But that would be a lie because I'm not soley interested in shooting for magazines. I love the intellectual side of photography and the intimate as well--referencing themes of childhood, nostalgia, play dates, and so on. I would like to do both. Shoot for magazines and do my own work, the work that means the most.

    Grant, you go to Parsons? Cool! My dad really wants me to go SVA because of the commerical aspects. As I said before, I'm not only into the commerical side but also the personal side of photography. So I'm not 100% if SVA is the right place if they really just focus on the image. And I really want to learn other things too--art history, culture, politics, science. I don't just want to learn about photography but to take liberal arts classes too, mostly English and History courses though.

    I'm still not 100% the work speaks for itself so to meld everything together into one cohesive body of work worries me a bit. I know that when I look at other photographers work, there are many times that I simply meld everything into one and I don't want others to do that for my work. I want the work to be viewed as seperate sets.

    Thanks for the help/advice, everyone!

    --Paolo
     
  15. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Paolo,

    Given your interest in also studying History and English (boy, does that bring me back, I started in English - finished with a B.A. in History...) I think you would regret SVA. It is much more a vocational school than the others on your list. Parsons will enable you to take liberal arts classes at the New School. And obviously NYU-Tisch gives you full access to all of the University's undergrad departments.

    Both are likely to be competitive, so SUNY/Purchase is probably a wise "safe choice". I don't know anything about it, but the Art School in Beantown will give you "georgraphic space" from your family - if that is something you desire. And at times the entire city up there seems like one big college campus - whether that's good or not is up to you.
     
  16. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    Paolo,

    I send a lot of student portfolios to school every year (teacher in a private school - Boston) I think that there is one important point you may be missing. Who actually looks at the work? In the case of the schools you mention, it may be somebody in the photography department, but don't count on it. Chances are that the admission office will review the work and then pass on only an admit or deny letter. So keep it simple. Most admission departments want fewer than 20 examples of your work. I tell my students to send 12 to 18 without a lot of reading except in an essay that might accompany them. Don't make viewing the images hard work for anyone. They will get lost in the shuffle. The number of admissions portfolios that these school have to read in any one year is staggeringly high. They get image fatigue and readers cramps.

    Your work is good and I think the theme thing isn't a bad idea, but keep the entire portfolio to one sheet of slides. ( I haven't found the admission offices of any of the school we regularly target to be up to speed with DVD or CD portfolios, but that will change in a rush when it changes, and this may be the year)

    Send your best, send just your best and let quality speak for itself.