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Photojournalism major Evan Ortiz participated in the second annual New York Portfolio Review, held April 5 and 6 at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. More than two thousand applications were received from fine art photographers to photojournalists. Picture editors from The New York Times screened applicants and 150 people were selected to attend the two-day event. Seventy-five of the leading picture editors, museum curators, book publishers and gallery owners in the industry took part in the reviews. Those chosen to participate were paired with several professionals for 20-minute critique sessions.

“The experience was energizing and everyone was excited to see and review great work,” says Ortiz. “There was a lot of talent and passion from the photographers. There were really big names from the photography industry that were willing to give their time just to focus on the work people had there. It was bit nerve wracking to be around so many big names in photography, and it was a humbling experience for myself to have encouraging reviews.”

Ortiz received several formal and informal reviews with professionals, including: Ruth Fremson, an award-winning staff photographer with The New York Times; Liza Faktor, a transmedia producer, curator and co-founder of Screen; renowned photojournalist Donna Ferrato; Jonathan Blaustein, a fine art photographer, educator and contributor to aphotoeditor.com; and Maura Foley, picture editor with The New York Times.

“Each review was 20 minutes, and that’s good to show one or two major projects,” says Ortiz. “I found that it’s best to just say a little and let the reviewers do the talking – follow their lead. I had great review sessions and each of them had a unique point to bring to the work that I showed them.”

Back on campus, Ortiz is excited about the future. “I’m ready to work even harder,” he says. “I feel I have made a good impression and I’m excited to continue developing these relationships and working on the projects.” Energized from the review experience, Ortiz encourages everyone to apply for the New York Portfolio Review and other similar opportunities. “Everyone should apply next year because the potential to connect with these amazing people for a review does not happen very often,” he says. “It has helped me see my own view point in a much stronger and motivating way.”