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Friday, May 14, 2010

New York Photo Festival-Day 2 Over and Out

I've spent two full days at NYPF. I've seen all the exhibits, heard several speakers, done a small amount of socializing, and I can sum up the entire experience with one word: "underwhelming."

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?

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Anonymous Douglas Ljungkvist said...

I agree with your observations, Stella, especially as it relates to being exclusive and tied to academics.

I left the Aperture lecture yesterday when I heard the three photographers were all MFA holders. There are still emerging photographers (or at least photographic artists) who don't (need to) go the MFA route. How about mixing it up a bit, huh?

May 14, 2010  
Anonymous Tim said...

It seems that your observations are, in my opinion, reflective of today's photography industry in general.

Again, just my opinion.

May 15, 2010  

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