I’ve been to photo festivals all over the place in the past
few years, and they all have different value. Some are mostly portfolio reviews, some add exhibits and
talks to their roster, and some, like the one in New York seem to have no value
at all. So what makes a
successful festival, and more importantly, should you go?
Having just returned from Boston and the FlashForward festival, I think I can answer that.
Just four hours away by train, the FlashForward festival offers great
value to photographers. Not only
is there interesting work exhibited (juried selections geared towards emerging
photographers in the US, Canada and the UK), but a fantastic line-up of
speakers and panels.
I should say here that I was invited to be an emcee for the
festival, and was taken wonderful care of by both the Magenta Foundation who
produces the festival, and the fantastic hotel that hosts the festival (the
Fairmont Battery Wharf).
I may have been the emcee for various speakers, but I was
also excited to hear from John Knight of the iPad photojournalism magazine,
ONCE, Tina Ahrens, the founder of crowdfunding site Emphas.is, Alan Taylor who
produces The Atlantic photography blog, In Focus, Alan Murabayashi of
PhotoShelter, and Maurus Fraser of Winkreative, just to name a few.
These festivals are a chance to see and be seen. FlashForward offers a stunning line-up
where you not only learn about possible venues for your work, but you get to
ask questions, meet and begin relationships with important photo world people. And that’s what it’s about—cultivating
relationships to get information and a chance to make a personal connection
with someone who might further your career.
So the question remains: Why weren’t there more
photographers from New York at this festival? If you weren’t going to LOOK3, why didn’t you go to
Boston? If your own city doesn’t
have anything worthwhile to attend, why not hop the train and hear some
fantastic speakers, see interesting work, and hang out with other
It’s important to put a lot of effort into growing and
sustaining a career, and smart photographers will take any opportunity they can
to learn, to pick up tips, to meet others and to ask questions of those in the
know. FlashForward was a great
opportunity to do all those things.
For those of us who love photography it was a wonderful four days.
I will be blogging more about the talks and panels I
attended at FlashForward, and since they were streamed, as soon as I know
they’ve been archived on the Magenta Foundation site, I’ll post about that.
Labels: boston, Emphas.is, FlashForward, In Focus, iPad magazine, Magenta Foundation, Once magazine, photography, photography festival, photoshelter, stella kramer, stellazine, Winkreative