How to Get us to Look at your Work

Dear Photographer,

I receive approximately 1,000 unsolicited requests a year to look at photographersí work. Out of all those requests, I might only actually look at 30 or so. I sincerely wish I could look at more, but my time is extremely limited trying to earn a living dealing with the people I already represent. Some of these 1,000 requests come in the mail, and I have stacks of large envelopes, some dating back a year or two. But most requests are from people wanting me to peruse their websites.

Now, this situation is frustrating to me because (1) I have always wanted to help photographers out by reviewing their work, regardless of who they are, and (2) a lot of folks don't think too kindly of me because I have never responded to them. I have been considering this situation for some time and have concluded that I can indeed offer some kind of service to photographers, but it will need to come with monetary compensation. You see, in the past, looking at work had become a financial burden because of the time it took away from other activities, and I just couldnít afford it (and thus wouldnít do it). But now with some compensation, I am able to provide a service to people.

Here is how it works. I will check out part of your website (I canít look at everything) or emailed images or however you direct me, and for $50.00 I will rate your work as to its uniqueness, its marketability, and how advanced your vision is. These are the three main areas of problems I run into. Either the photographer makes images that look like everyone elseís and Iíve seen the same thing hundreds of times. Or the work is simply not marketable, at least for my gallery/website; this is often caused by its being too personal or the subject matter is inherently uninteresting to most people. Or last, the photographer simply hasnít been practicing his art long enough to be in a major gallery. This is often easy to tell by the kinds of images and approaches to those images and by the lack of any overall style. (There is a fourth situation to mention; a photographer may be superb, but I already represent people who produce similar work.) Showing oneís work to a dealer is definitely advantageous; he is someone who is around many hundreds of photographs every day year after year, which is very helpful in making the kinds of judgments called for above.

(If you feel you are already an established photographer and really don't want any critique from me, send me an email stating you have read this page and include a brief resume. I will look at your website or attached images and will send a non-personal form response only. At this time, there is no charge for this. If it's work I want to show, you will indeed hear more from me.)

After looking at some of your images, I will rate the above considerations on a one-to-ten scale and also give you a few sentences of commentary. I think this is about as good as I am able to do for people. Now, if anyone goes to the time and expense of coming here in person, they wonít be charged. (Unlike, say, New York, Dallas is off the artistic beaten path so visits donít occur very often.) Please do not mail work whether it be small prints, web published books, CDs, DVDs or whatever; all of that is just too time consuming to deal with. I will make exceptions to all the above from time to time; for example, someone may not have a website and must use the mail. Or a nationally known photographer may inquire with me who I know obviously qualifies to show here; I wonít charge him.

At any rate, if you want me to look at your work, go to to our order form and give me your website in the comments section or send a few images attached to an email. I will answer in a few days and hope I can do you some good. Please be realistic; very few inquiring photographers get accepted into our stable here. I only take on one or two people every couple of years. But, who knows, oneís work may be strong and unique enough and fill a niche in my inventory. Whatever happens, the exercise should be beneficial for you, and in the meantime, enjoy your photography; itís a wonderful and fulfilling pursuit!

Ben Breard
Afterimage Gallery

Sample Response:

(scale of 1 to 10, 10 being extremely unique, marketable and mature)

Uniqueness of work: 6
Marketability of work: 7
Maturity of work: 4

I enjoyed in particular the first four images on your website, and they would be quite salable. However, your work is not ready for gallery exhibition; at this point your vision is not unique enough, and you havenít yet developed a style. Many of your photographs are so different I canít tell they are by the same person. Basically you just need more years, something you have in common with a whole lot of people!