The Ten List: Your Portfolio and You (Redux for FotoFest 2012)

by Clint Willour March 16, 2012

In honor of the FotoFest 2012 Biennial, we’re republishing this 2008 classic from the inimitable Clint Willour…

Tip #9: Keep that Speedo on buddy. . . (Image from, the website for all of your revealing swimwear needs.)

Just in in time for FotoFest‘s Meeting Place, veteran portfolio reviewer, curator and collector Clint Willour has:

Some Advice on Portfolio Management

  1. Do your homework and know who I am and why I’m doing this.
  2. Don’t show me fifteen images in fifteen minutes and then tell me you have three more bodies of work when they announce that we have five minutes left in the review session.
  3. If you talk for the entire session, it doesn’t leave much time for my comments, does it? And listen to what I say. Just because I don’t respond to one picture doesn’t mean I hate your work.
  4. Don’t hand me a pair of white gloves and tell me how to handle your prints. There’s a reason they asked me to review portfolios.
  5. Always have some materials with at least one image to leave with me if I ask for it.
  6. Always ask if I would like to have the packet of materials that you are about to give me. Sometimes I won’t. And please don’t add me to your e-mail blast list without asking me.
  7. Don’t apologize for being disorganized. Get your shit together and you won’t have to.
  8. Don’t show me work that I’ve seen before. I have an image memory that would scare the pants off of you.
  9. And speaking of that, don’t show me a photo of your naked crotch and ask me what I think of it. (Believe me, this happens way more often than you would think.)
  10. At the end of our session, don’t ask me what I can do for you. I just did it.

And just so you’ll know, I’ve only made three people cry and torn up one photograph in the twenty-two years I’ve been doing this and I’ve made hundreds of life-long friends in the process.


Clint Willour, curator of the Galveston Arts Center, has been an art professional for 35 years. He is active on boards of numerous arts organizations in Texas and has served as a juror for over sixty competitions in his career. Willour curates 24 exhibitions per year in Galveston and serves regularly as a guest curator for institutions throughout the state of Texas and beyond. A Meeting Place reviewer at every FotoFest, Willour has reviewed portfolios from Houston, Texas to Beijing, China.


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Brenda Lindfors March 17, 2012 - 11:25

I heard Clint give this presentation at Fotofest 2008. It was a great presentation with great advice. I’m so glad to see this Top 10 List. It was helpful in 2008 and it’s valuable today. Thanks Clint for sharing your perspective and experience.

bubba March 19, 2012 - 11:55

I really wish Clint would rewrite this so it didn’t sound so snarky. “…know who I am and why I’m doing this…. listen to what I say…. I have an image memory that would scare the pants off of you…. don’t ask me what I can do for you. I just did it.” The good points kind of get lost in all the self-aggrandizement. And there are some good points. But c’mon, Clint. Don’t make me dislike you before I’ve even met with you.

Kelly Klaasmeyer March 19, 2012 - 16:50

Clint has a very dry sense of humor but is an amazingly kind person. You’ve got to be pretty matter-of-fact in the context of FotoFest’s Meeting Place, which is jam-packed and pretty much insane. I covered it for the Houston Press a few years back. Reviewers sit there all day long looking at a portfolio every twenty minutes. It’s a very international crowd, in terms of artists and reviewers. They get some very impressive reviewers and an incredibly eclectic mix of artists – everyone from super-talented contemporary artists to hobbyists with large collections of camera lenses to that certain stripe of aggressive, delusional and talentless person most commonly seen on American Idol. From reading the reviewers’ descriptions of what work they won’t look at, you can tell people have been burned before. Some of them specifically said “no” to “inane nudity and self-indulgent excess,” “nude self- portraits” and “graphic depictions of surgery.” Some people will sign up for reviewers and have no idea who they are, showing tattoo parlor pictures to a gallerist that deals in landscape photography…it can wear on the reviewers. But overall, it’s a great opportunity for artists as well as for curators, collectors, photo editors, gallerists and the like to see interesting new work.

Michelle "Rusty" Cate March 21, 2012 - 09:59

This made me chuckle, since I know just enough about Clint, to know he’s very approachable as well as extremely knowledgeable and just plain in LOVE with good photography.

Number 75 March 23, 2012 - 16:18

Clint, where did you say I could send that crotch photo?


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