O L I V I A   S T R E T T L E

Portfolio Review: Emily Ryalls via Zoom
Tuesday 15th March 2022

Last week on Friday 11th March 2022, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to have a portfolio review with Emily Ryalls. After her talk with my photography course a few weeks ago (click here to view blog post), I was deeply inspired by her professional practice and the personal aspect to her projects. As a young photographer a few months away from graduating, I am extremely grateful for the time Emily gave me to speak about my work, ideas and concepts as well as building my confidence in talking about my practice.

A few days before the call, I reached out to her via the contact section on her website and asked for some brief advice and professional feedback from someone who is working in the industry. A few messages later, a zoom call was scheduled for later on that week.

I began curating a portfolio of around 15-20 images, prior to the call, using images from the current project I'm working on for my final major project at university. I chose images that I felt represented the work best, whether that's the soft, delicate lighting or the dimly lit room conveying a quiet, yet familiar place. I also considered the sequencing in order for the images to complement each other. My intentions for the call with Emily Ryalls was to gain advice on the final outcome in terms of my photobook layout and design concept.

Emily was eager to give me positive comments and praise for the work I am creating, as well as some next step ideas and ways of presenting the final work. It was extremely beneficial to me as my work was being viewed by new eyes - someone who hadn't been following the entire process from initial ideas to the current stage. It made me realise how clear or ambiguous the project may be, to me I know it is about my grandads life with ageing yet to someone who hasn't saw every-step this may not be as clear.

I found a particular comment by Emily really interesting to hear as she explained that documentary photography can often be very exploitive, yet my work clearly portrays the complete opposite. It is intimate, considerate and a different way of using the medium - not the generic way of documenting an observation. She continued to give me feedback by suggesting the more I challenge and expand on the concept of the relationship between the subject and the photographer, the work will become even stronger. She concluded by saying that my grandad isn't being observed in this project, he is being celebrated.

I am really glad I took the opportunity to speak with Emily as it broadened my ideas within the current work I am producing as well as gaining confidence in speaking about my own work. It also gave me confidence in the imagery and the direction I plan to take it. 


Visit Emily Ryall’s website here - https://www.emilyryalls.com