This past August I had the good fortune to spend a little time with William Clift while we where in Santa Fe. If I remember what he said correctly, it went something like this..."Don't let anyone tell you how to do your work."
So, if that's the advice I get from one of the country's great photographers, why should I spend my time and money going to portfolio reviews? Do I really care if my work is seen by countless millions? Won't that take time and attention away from doing the work?
I know Alan Coleman would make the argument that work done in a vacumn is really worthless, but then I think he's thinking in terms of the work having some positive social impact. I agree, if that's what you're trying to do, have a social impact, then he's right.
I'm not trying to do any such thing. I'm simply trying to make pictures that I find a challenge to make and that I enjoy looking at when they're finished. Did I mention, pictures that I've never seen before.
It would be easy enough to argue that every photographer has made a similar self portrait and that's true enough. At the time I thought it was original and unique largely because of where it was taken. Perhaps, if that the standard, there is a world full of unique pictures waiting to be made. Maybe that's the origin of the thought that no one can make your pictures any better than you can.