Success Stories

Filter Photo is now in its 8th year and we are continually amazed and excited by the success stories that have emerged from the Festival. It is our goal to bring photographers together with curators, gallery owners, book publishers and other photo professionals. We are thrilled to say we have had many attendees walk away with publications, exhibitions, sales, as well as connections and renewed inspiration for their projects.

We are waiting for more of your stories! If you were able to arrange an exhibition, publication, or purchase of your work as a result of your participation in the Filter Photo Festival, please send your success stories to so we can celebrate your successes here.



© Noah Addis

Noah Addis  |

Pictura Gallery | February 2016 | Bloomington, IN

When I attended the Filter Photo Festival, it was my first time attending a photo festival. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a great experience and I definitely plan to attend again in the future. Each of the portfolio reviewers I met with provided me with thoughtful advice and opinions about my work. I met with Lisa Berry, curator at Pictura Gallery, which resulted in a two-person show at the gallery in 2016.

I also met with David Bram of Fraction Magazine, who included my work in issue 68 of the online publication in November 2014. I have sold 14 prints so far through the magazine’s online shop. Finally, I met with Natasha Egan at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. She encouraged me to apply for the Midwest Photographers Project, and I was later invited to join the project in 2015. Along with the tangible results, the Festival was a great opportunity to meet wonderful people and to gain valuable insights into my work.


Plant Life_Basil_27

© Joan Fitzsimmons

Joan Fitzsimmons |

Griffin Museum of Photography| June 2015 | Boston, MA

After attending the 2013 Filter Festival where I met the curator Paula Tognarelli, I will have, in June 2015, a solo exhibit of selections from my series, “Plant Life” at The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA.  I also met, at Filter, Daniel Miller, of Duncan Miller Gallery, who suggested that I submit to their online site There, I had a piece selected, also by Paula Tognarelli, for the exhibit “Sky”, which later became a hardcopy exhibit in Boston.

The most gratifying aspect of Filter was the intimate scale of the project and friendly warmth of all involved. Many thanks.



© Nelson Armour and Ted Glasoe

Nelson Armour & Ted Glasoe |  

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | January 2017 | Chicago, IL

I came to the 2014 Portfolio Reviews with a clear focus. Ted Glasoe and I collaborated of an exhibition proposal called Surface Tension: Fragility and Beauty in Lake Michigan dealing with pollution of our water systems.  We prepared an exhibition proposal book that I sought feedback for and, hopefully interest in, from my selected reviewers. Each reviewer had good suggestions about the exhibition proposal.  In particular, Mary Virginia Swanson had clear, sound and helpful ideas about improving the layout and design of our book as well as great thoughts about marketing our proposal. Our revised proposal has been presented to numerous venues this year and we have been fortunate to have been invited to mount the exhibit at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Winter of 2017. We’d like to thank Filter, Mary Virginia Swanson and the other reviewers for their insights into our proposal.


© Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley

© Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley

Antone Dolezal & Lara Shipley |

DCCP| New Directions

Our experience at the 2014 Filter Portfolio Review was very rewarding. We met with a number of photography professionals who gave us quality feedback and expressed future interest in showing our work. After meeting with Kyohei Abe we have had our collaborative project Devil’s Promenade featured at the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography’s online gallery New Directions. The staff and other photographers who participated create a professional and fun atmosphere. It is truly a great event.


© Anastasia Samoylova

© Anastasia Samoylova

Anastasia Samoylova |

Griffin Museum of Photography| February 2015 | Boston, MA

3433 Gallery | February 2014 | Chicago, IL

Loews O’Hare | Summer 2014 | Chicago, IL

Filter Photo 2013 was an amazing experience for me. The connections that Filter Festival provided have been invaluable to my professional development and career overall. After I met with Nicole White in 2013 she invited me to exhibit my work in a two-person show at 3433 Gallery in February 2014 as well as in a solo exhibition at Loews Chicago O’Hare in summer of 2014. Conversations with Alison Grant and Karen Irvine from MOCP were particularly helpful in making me think about the work I am making. A review with Kyohei Abe from Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography made a big impression on me and affected the direction of my work. Kyohei also included my work in his New Directions online gallery. In 2015 I have exhibited work in a group show at the Griffin Museum of Photography as a direct result of Portfolio Walkthrough where I met Paula Tognarelli.



© Jonathan Lurie

Jonathan Lurie |

Alibi Fine Art | February 2015 | Chicago, IL

My first experience with the Filter Photo Festival was in 2012 when I first attended a few lecture events. This experience inspired me to participate in the annual portfolio reviews. In 2013, during the Filter photo walk, I had the good fortune to meet Matthew David Crowther a Chicago-based art photographer and fellow Filter member/participant.  Early in 2014, Matt accepted the challenge of starting the Chicago Chapter of Crusade for Art and, along with Barbara Diener, Garrett Baumer and Joseph Wilcox, I was invited to become a member. During 2014, Crusade for Art Chicago held a print sale at CHI-PRC, which resulted in the sale of more than 50 prints. In 2015, the owner of Alibi Fine Art, Lisa Janes asked Crusade for Art Chicago to participate in a group show entitled, “All that is Solid,” which is open February 7 through March 21, 2014.



© Robert Shults

Robert Shults |

Rangefinder Gallery | September 2015 | Chicago, IL

The relationships I forged during Filter Photo Festival have been invaluable. As a direct result of my attendance in 2014, my book is now stocked at the venerable Tamarkin Camera and I have booked a future solo exhibition at Rangefinder Gallery. These opportunities certainly would not have presented themselves without the expert facilitation of Filter’s staff and programmers.


© Shawn Bush

© Shawn Bush

Shawn Bush  |

Fraction Magazine | Issue 71 | February 2015

For the past few years since finishing up school I have been confidently making work but was always a bit too self conscious to ever show what I was putting my efforts into until I pushed myself to go to Filter 2014.  I saved up some money and took a trip to Chicago to see what was going to happen, good or bad.  What I found upon arriving at Filter is that the community was extremely welcoming and helpful.  As a result of attending the portfolio reviews I have sold some works and was lucky enough to connect with David Bram at Fraction Magazine which has resulted in a spotlight in the latest issue no.71.  My sincerest thanks goes out to Filter and everyone that works so hard to make such a great few days of photography happen.  It has been a real eye opener that shows how important sharing work and staying connected in the photo community really is.  I am now even more excited and motivated to make new and better work!



Sea of Clouds

© Clyde Heppner, Sea of Clouds

Clyde Heppner  |

Griffin Museum of Photography | March 2014 | Winchester, MA

Filter Photo provided a supportive atmosphere where photographers could interact with industry professionals easily and openly.  I was impressed by the quality of the portfolio reviews as well as the energy and traffic during the Portfolio Walk.  I had the privilege to have my work reviewed by Paula Tognarelli and Meg Birnbaum from the Griffin Museum of Photography and they offered me an opportunity to exhibit.  How exciting!




© Bill Vaccaro, Maybe

Bill Vaccaro  |

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

Collect.give | January 2013 Edition Print

The 2012 Filter Photo portfolio reviews were a great success. I not only got very positive responses for my new series, The Things She Left Behind, but one of my images from the series was chosen by Kevin J. Miyazaki to be the January 2013 offering on In addition, my series was featured early this year in People’s Photography as a result of my meeting with Yan Li, founder of the Lishui Photo Festival, and Huo Wei, editor of People’s Photography in Beijing, China.






© S. Gayle Stevens and Judy Sherrod

S. Gayle Stevens   |

Schneider Gallery | Spring 2014 | Chicago, IL

Lenscratch Blogzine | Friday, December 23, 2011

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

This will be the third year in a row that I will participate in the Filter Photo Festival because the contacts I have made there have been very helpful to my career. My first review at Filter, I met with Aline Smithson, who was extremely helpful and has featured my personal and collaborative work on Lenscratch. Last year, at the reviews, I met with Yan Li and Huo Wei and was honored to have my work published in the People’s Photography newspaper. Again, both my personal and collaborative work were published. In the lounge area, I reconnected with Bill Schwab, who published my North Light Press book, Calligraphy. My review with Martha Schneider has been particularly rewarding. She is a very warm and giving person and both she and Nicole have been very supportive of my work. I will be showing new work at Schneider Gallery in the spring of 2014. I realize that everyone who attends reviews wishes to be published and to have a gallery show, but I attend reviews for the insight I get from quality reviewers. Besides the aforementioned, I have had insightful critiques from Catherine Edelman, Russell Joslin, and Kyohei Abe and many others. I hope to see many new faces at the reviews this year, as new people means new friends. It’s not only the reviewers, but the reviewees who make Filter Photo Festival a must attend event.



© Yvette Meltzer

© Yvette Meltzer

Yvette Meltzer   |

Lenscratch Blogzine | February 17, 2012

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

Wallspace Gallery | Group Exhibition March 2013 | Santa Barbara, CA

Thanks to Filter Photo ’12 I have had a string of success throughout this fall and into winter ’13.  I view Filter as the gift that keeps on giving.  To date, the direct results of the portfolio reviews at Filter Photo are having my photos featured on Lenscratch and in the Chinese publication, People’s Photography, inclusion in a 3-person exhibition at Wall Space gallery in Santa Barbara, CA and 2 exhibition leads at 2 other local galleries.  In addition, I have met and formed rewarding relationships with other photographers with whom I share ideas and continue to stretch.  Filter knows no bounds!



© Jessica Tampas

Jessica Tampas   |

Edelman Gallery | Group Exhibition July 2013 | Chicago, IL

Lenscratch Blogzine | November 29, 2012

I attended my first Filter Photo Festival in 2011 where I had the privilege of taking a workshop with Jane Fulton Alt and having my work reviewed by Catherine Edelman. Catherine told me that she would be open to seeing future work and to keep in touch.  The following January, I joined Jane’s critique group which helped me to embark on a new body of work which I have been working on for the past year.  I showed the new work at Filter Photo in 2012 where I received a lot of support and interest in the work. This past January I showed the new body of work to Catherine Edelman and she accepted it into her online gallery called “The Chicago Project.”  I will show a 60 x80 print in The Chicago Project V group exhibition, July 2013 in the Edelman Gallery.  In addition to this show, the work has also been included in three other group shows in and around Chicago. Attending Filter Photo Festival has helped me bring my work to a new level and I am eternally grateful to the Filter team for creating such a wonderful  photography Festival in Chicago.  I have watched it grow over the past two years and I know that the 2013 Festival will be the best one yet!



© Ciurej and Lochman, Galium Odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) impression with Mary Ann, foliage and flowers. 2012. From the series Natural History, cyanotype over archival pigment print.

Barbara Ciurej + Lindsay Lochman   |

Schneider Gallery | Group Exhibition May 2012 | Chicago, IL

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

Positive things keep flowing from our 2011 and 2012 Filter Photo experiences. Most valued are the connections made and great friends who continue to support and inspire us.  In 2011, Martha Schneider of Schneider Gallery, Chicago, invited us  to show our work. Aline Smithson, a tireless advocate, featured our work on her Lenscratch blogzine and recommended we contact Blue Mitchell, who included our work in ed. IV of Diffusion magazine. After meeting Yan Li and Huo Wei at the 2012 reviews, our work was featured in People’s Photography in China and will be included in a book launching at the Pingyao Photo Festival in September, 2013. Lauren Henkin has become a generous adviser for our new artists book project. Thanks, Filter Photo team, for creating an atmosphere infused with good will and opportunity for photographers!


"It's All Love"

© Susan Barnett

Susan Barnett   |

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

Filter Photo is unique in its karma. There is such a spirit of excitement and camaraderie it rubs off on you and you take the feeling home with you. It is not what I call a “transactional” review, but one where you meet or see again the professionals who can help you shape your project and bring it to fruition. Yan Li brought her colleague Huo Wei to the reviews and he had a unique way of looking at the work. As a result of their visit they began a project where our portfolios were published in the People’s Photography newspaper in China and there are now plans for a book. I felt like I got an overview of the vibrant photographic scene in Chicago orchestrated by the energetic Filter team. They did everything to make us more than comfortable. The programming and lectures, especially by Aline Smithson are worth the trip and not to be missed. In this day of sky-high review prices it is good value for your money. This year Filter has added new reviewers to the list including the renowned Wally Mason. To have the chance to meet with the movers and shakers of the Midwest is an opportunity not to be missed. They are all unique in their viewpoints and are the best of the best in the gallery and museum world. I made some friends there that now I speak to often. What a exceptional time you can have where it is all set up for you and you just have to come ready to participate and learn something.




© Doug Ness

Doug Ness   |

Lenscratch Blogzine | March 31, 2012

InterContinental O’Hare Hotel | Solo Exhibition

I feel very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people during the Portfolio Reviews at the Filter Photo Festival. Two success stories, in particular, came as a result of my reviews and the people I met there. First, Martha Schneider, of Schneider Gallery, asked me to display a series of my images at a hotel in Chicago, where she is responsible for the art selection. That was just the beginning of our relationship as she has represented me ever since. Shortly after that, amazing photographer and educator Aline Smithson featured my work in her widely read Lenscratch blogzine. I’m quite certain that neither of these would ever have happened were it not for the Portfolio Reviews at the Filter Photo Festival.






© Ursula Sokolowska, 18th Street Basement Chicago

Ursula Sokolowska   |

Lenscratch Blogzine | November 26, 2012

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

Filter Photo Festival is a wonderful opportunity to present work to a distinguished group of reviewers. After attending Filter in 2012 I was asked to contribute to Lenscratch, the blogzine run by Aline Smithson that explores contemporary photography. I also had the good fortune to have my work published in China People’s Photography newspaper. After being well received in China, Yan Li and Huo Wei have decided to include my work in a book project to be released at the Pingyao Photography Festival.






© Sheri Lynn Behr

Sheri Lynn Behr   |

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

A. Smith Gallery | Group Exhibition February 2013 | Johnson City, Texas

I was so pleased to be one of several Filter photographers to have my project published in China, thanks to reviewers Yan Li and Huo Wei. Our portfolios appeared in individual features in the weekly newspaper People’s Photography, as well as on the newspaper’s website. Next fall, the work be published in the book that is part of People’s Photography’s 30th anniversary. One of the great things about Filter is that it’s not just the reviewers that can make things happen. One of the other photographers at the reviews, Susan Barnett, mentioned she was going to be jurying a show in Texas and suggested I submit work. So I entered, and a photo from my portfolio NoSafeDistance was included in Smile last winter at the A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, and also appears in the exhibition catalogue for the show.






© Diana Sanchez, Untitled 05

Diana Sanchez   |

F-Stop Magazine | June 2013

I loved attending the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago last fall! The portfolio walk had an impressive amount of attendees. I had the opportunity to engage with both photo colleagues and people who were there to specifically look at work. During portfolio reviews, conversation exchange with the reviewers was superb. But the best part was seeing what flourished. After having a portfolio review with Christy Karpinski, founder and editor of F-stop magazine, my work was featured in the June issue.




Alyssa Miserendino_Fuck You Norman Rockwell_China_People's Photography_WEB(1)

© Alyssa Miserendino, courtesy of People’s Photography

Alyssa Miserendino   |

People’s Photography | Beijing, China

I’ve been to a handful of portfolio reviews, and as a result, talk with colleagues from around the world. I often tout Filter Fest’s name as a hidden jewel. My first year, I simply attended the festivities and panel talks, and the second year participated in reviews. Both years I received help in creating and publicizing work. Most recently a full page publication in China’s national newspaper, inclusion with 18 other US colleagues for a 30th anniversary book of China’s People’s Photography, and an opportunity for a solo show in Beijing. Hands down, no other photo festival has produced this amount of professional help to date in my career. Thank you Filter!








© Bruce Morton

Bruce Morton   |

Lenscratch Blogzine | August 22, 2012

The Filter Photo Festival of 2012 was my very first portfolio review event. I wasn’t sure what to expect in Chicago, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  All of my reviews were very positive and friendships were initiated. Aline Smithson and I talked more than just the review time period and have continued communicating to this day.  This spring I published my first book titled Forgottonia.  There were 50 limited edition books which were signed and numbered and Aline was so gracious to write the forward for it.  Within the first two weeks of my receiving the books, all 50 were either sold or spoken for by galleries and other professionals. I have saved a few to bring to this years Filter Photo Festival, but a second printing is tentatively planned for late fall of 2013.  I feel indebted to all of the staff from Filter Photo Festival for putting on such an enjoyable event.  I look forward to meeting and making new friends at this years Festival.