Yesterday I attended the Advisory Committee Meeting at Loyalist College Photojournalism program in Belleville, Ontario. Incidentally this is the same program I graduated from in 1989, in the second graduating class in the program.
As always it was great to meet with some old friends - fellow advisors and college staff - and it's a great opportunity to meet and speak with the current crop of enthusiastic (and scared stiff) students. While a portion of the day is spent behind closed doors dealing with the business of running the program, its development, and its place in the changing landscape, the bulk of our time is spent meeting with the students, listening to their concerns, and providing them with feedback and critique on their portfolios. As always it was a long day, but worth the time, and the long drive in the fog.
There is plenty of good work being done by the students at Loyalist College. (some published work in PDF format is available for viewing here.)
I don't think any of us were able to get to review every portfolio, but I'm certain that each student who showed enough interest to ask for critique went away with many helpful suggestions, encouragement, or motivation. While the level of ability demonstrated by the portfolios varies quite a bit a few general themes seem to arise from the bulk of the portfolios - the ones that I saw at least.
Many budding photojournalists are terrified to ask professionals to critique their portfolios. This is something you have to get over. Showing your work, and accepting critique will only assist in your development.
Here are a few thoughts for students when building their portfolios.