Conscientious Portfolio Competition 2015

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Emine Gozde Sevim

I’m excited to announce this year’s incarnation of the Conscientious Portfolio Competition. The winners will have their work featured on this site, in the form of an extended conversation.

The Conscientious Portfolio Competition (CPC) is free to enter. It always has been, it always will be. There are no costs involved for you other than the time it takes to decide about and send in your work.

CPC is aimed at emerging photographers. Photographers not represented by a gallery will get preferential treatment. Needless to say, the quality of the work itself plays the most important role.

There are two guest judges joining me this year to determine the winners, Melissa Catanese and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa:

Melissa Catanese lives in Pittsburgh and is founder of Spaces Corners, an artist-run photobook shop and project space. She most recently exhibited in Secondhand at Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco. In 2014, Catanese programmed The Sandbox: At Play With The Photobook at the Carnegie Museum of Art and exhibited in The Photographer’s Playspace at the Aperture Foundation in New York. She has been editing from a vast collection of over 20,000 photographs belonging to collector Peter J. Cohen for some years, and in 2012 she authored the celebrated photobook Dive Dark Dream Slow.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa is a photographer, writer and editor of the The Great Leap Sideways. He has contributed essays to monographs and catalogues raisonnés by Vanessa Winship, George Georgiou and Paul Graham. His photographic work is concerned with questions of patriarchy, race, history, violence and identity, and his research is focused on contemporary photography, in particular on forms of realism, the role of the archive and its relationship to memory.

CPC happens in two stages. The first stage – where we are now – is the submission stage. Photographers are asked to send in their application via email in the following form:
email address
website URL (a proper website; no blogs, no Flickr/Tumblr/Instagram accounts)
name of the portfolio/body of work (please do not forget this part – surprisingly often, photographers forget to mention which project they’re submitting)
Send your email to review at (you’ll have to replace the “at” with @ and remove the spaces for this to work, of course), subject line “CPC 2015”. One submission per photographer. Please do not submit images or pdfs directly by appending them to the email.

The deadline in 31 October 2015, 11:59pm ET.

If you need a statement for your work, it should be on the website. Your website should have a bio/CV, of course. If you don’t have a website, you will not be able to enter the competition. This might strike you as unfair, but every serious photographer should have her/his own dedicated website.

From the pool of submissions, 25 candidates will be picked for the second round. The photographers in this pool will receive an email, and they will have to send in ten jpeg images, in a uniform format (size etc.).

This is where Melissa and Stanley will come in. They will each pick their personal favourite from the pool of 25. I will pick one, too. Here’s the twist: There will be three or two winners, or maybe just one, if a photographer is picked more than once.

Having a second round is based on the idea of making everything as equal as possible. With uniform file sizes, fancy websites won’t be able to beat out simple ones. With a special naming convention for the jpegs (which will hide the full names), the winner(s) will be solely chosen based on the quality of the work.

The winners of the competition will have their work featured on this website, in the form of an extended conversation.

Good luck!