A Day’s Portfolio Reviewing at Ballarat Biennale

As well as looking at Australia’s premier photography exhibition, my other reason for attending the 2015 Ballarat International Foto Biennale was to participate as a reviewer at the 2015 Portfolio Reviews.  I was in very good company, with a talented group of reviewers carrying many skills connected to photography.  This gave the applicants a great choice to match their strengths and weaknesses to solid critical opinion.


Kerry Pryor; © Ian Poole, Ballarat, 2015.

As well as seeking a review of their photographic portfolio, the Guy Vinciguerra Fellowship was to be given to the strongest portfolio.  This Fellowship awarded a return airfare, accommodation and meals allowance, and registration for a four day review session at the world’s oldest and biggest Portfolio Review, ‘The Meeting Place’, at FotoFest Houston in March 2016.

The 2015 Guy Vinciguerra Fellowship winner is Kerry Pryor from Melbourne.

I had the pleasure to review Kerry’s portfolio of documentary images taken in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake.  Since graduating from RMIT in 2008, Kerry has worked as a commercial photographer whilst steadily building a CV of exhibitions and awards.

The portfolio review process does not have a strong history in Australia (although Ballarat is working hard to change that!), but the concept has a strong place in Europe and America.   The famous Rencontres d’Arles photography festival has facilitated portfolio reviews since 2006.

The Houston FotoFest will provide over 160 reviewers – a big jump from the 14 on offer at Ballarat.

Whilst I did not get to meet the almost 40 applicants, it was a delight to meet and chat to quite a number.  It is a privilege to be given the opportunity not only to view photographers’ work but to chat to them about their dreams, plans and aspirations.


Morganna Magee; © Ian Poole, Ballarat, 2015.


Ben Liew; © Ian Poole, Ballarat, 2015


Neil Cash; © Ian Poole, Ballarat, 2015.


Sandra Chen Weinstein; © Ian Poole, Ballarat, 2015


Nigel Kenny; © Ian Poole, Ballarat, 2015.


Doc Ross Haka; © Ian Poole, Ballarat, 2015.

…..and of course amongst the talented group of reviewers, it was a joy to meet up with my old friend Doc Ross from Christchurch, New Zealand; seen here giving his own personal rendition of the Kiwi haka.

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