We have a small office and studio, with some 50,000 images in our library. As library manager for Mary Ellen Mark, when I have to locate a file quickly, Extensis Portfolio 8 is invaluable. It's great being able to do a search with keywords and find exactly what I'm looking for.
Mary Ellen agrees with my assessment of this program: "I have been using Portfolio since it was first released," she says. "It's an integral part of how my studio operates, whether I'm using it to edit a selection for a new book or exhibition or showing outtakes to clients. On any given day, we might be adding photos from a shoot that week or looking back at photos I took in the ‘60s. Portfolio makes it simple for anyone in my studio to work with the archive."
GETTING USED TO 8
We're currently switching from version 7 to 8. I've been using it as a local copy, and we're in the midst of making it our network copy. You can make subset galleries of whatever you're working with. For example, The New York Times was doing an article on an exhibition Mary Ellen had in Chelsea and requested six to eight images. I picked out the images I wanted to send and put them aside in a subset gallery. The Portfolio scratchpad gallery allows me to do something without having to save it when shutting down, which you had to do in version 7. I've also been using the slideshow a regularly. If we're working on a book, for example, the designer may come over to work with Mary Ellen and say, "O.K., let's see what you've picked out so far." I'm so used to looking at thumbnails on the screen, so it's not a problem, but for someone unfamiliar with the images, it's nice to show them big on the screen.
Mary Ellen has photographed all kinds of things. With Extensis Portfolio I can locate any files with a quick search. Not only do I use it for organizing images to send to clients, but also for books and exhibitions. We recently did all our editing for Mary Ellen's exhibition at Lincoln Center for the New York Film Festival hat exhibition in Portfolio, as opposed to looking at contact sheets or old prints and having to photocopy them or scan them on the spot.
I can also email images in Portfolio. When we were working with Lincoln Center, I was able to either email them the low-res scans we use within the program, or make a PDF to send to them, which is really handy. Plus, Portfolio is PC- and Mac-compatible, which is another advantage of this program.
Mary Ellen just came out with a huge retrospective book, Exposure (Phaidon, 2005). Portfolio enabled us to pull up each of her previously published books, pick images, and drag them into the new gallery.
"Being able to have everything organized and easily accessible saved me so much time," says Mary Ellen. In fact, I'm not sure how I would have edited this book without Portfolio. I was able to search the entire library in seconds and organize the photos by date, theme, etc., using the galleries. That's why I'm especially excited about the scratchpad galleries in Portfolio 8. It will make an already great tool even better."
I get a lot of research requests as library manager. The New Yorker, for example, might call and say they're looking for a picture of a little boy and a horse for a fiction story they're trying to illustrate. I'll just pop into Portfolio, look up "boy" and "horse," and email the magazine to see which images they'd like to use.
We've been using Portfolio forever. I've been working here for seven years, and they were using it before I arrived. Newer programs are out there, but I would stick with something that's proven itself year after year. Portfolio works for us. I can't imagine switching.
For more information on Extensis Portfolio 8, visit www.extensis.com
For Mary Ellen Mark's images, visit www.maryellenmark.com