What makes NYPF seem as if it exists in a suspended little bubble? Why is it so unconnected to the photography scene in New York? Is it because it's in DUMBO? I don't think so. I think the problem is in the insular way it is put together, from the curators to the choices of work. As one respected photographer said to me: "It could as easily have been in Kansas City." Is this really the best New York can offer?
This photo festival seems too tied to the academic art world in a way that cocoons the work and the experience. There is no pop, no wow! I was so ready to be inspired, to be challenged, to be moved. What I got instead was a listless compilation of unconnected work, and the feeling as I wandered around the area that I was just going through the motions.
It would have been great if, to reflect where things are at in New York, there had been a space given over to show the work of a wide variety of local photographers who can't find a place for their work to be seen. What if you opened the festival up to these photographers--say charge $5 to be a part of the show, and pick the first 100 photographers who apply with one print each in any format? You could sell each print for $50, take 10% and still make bank.
Why not be inclusive, not exclusive?