You're right Bob, however my choice is people I respect who've usually exhibited widely, and most importantly don't produce work remotely similar.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Back in the 1980's when I had my first solo exhibition I did work with a close friend who also often joined me when I was shooting, and yes that was a mistake, it did his own photograph no good, while he's still a close friend and supportive I have never got him involved again.
So yes your advice is sound, and in reality I did as you are in fact suggesting, even the wining & dining
I guess like you I've some advantages because I curated a number of exhibitions for an Arts Centre in the late 80's & through the 90's, and was involved with various funded arts groups.
It's a big learning curve but as you progress it becomes easier over the years. Also the circle of people you can ask for help grows wider.