Photoville – June 23rd, 2012

We’ve had a lot of hot, steamy weather in New York this summer already, and Saturday, June 23rd was no exception. This was the day I decided to venture out to Brooklyn and check out Photoville and although it was really hot that afternoon and a bit of a blooming trek, it was well worth the effort!

Welcome to Photoville!


I say trek, because no matter where you were approaching the location from, it entailed either a long walk, or a cab fare. Most people walked from Dumbo due west through the Brooklyn Bridge park and then down towards the piers where the photo festival was located. I thought I’d be clever so I took the train that appeared to be the closest stop to the festival location. However, what I had forgotten was that when you walk down the hill towards the water, you end up on the Promenade which is high above the street level where you need to be, and there’s no way down, except at either end.

Skyline view from the Promenade
Photoville view from the Promenade
“Becoming Visible: Portraits of Homeless Transgender Teens” Artist: Josh Lehrer

I had two choices – walk all the way back to Dumbo (not likely!) or walk to the other end of the Promenade and then down to the road and back along to the festival. And that’s what I did. But having said that, my mistake did give me the opportunity to get some cool images looking out over the river and down onto the festival site from above – and you know not everyone got those shots!

“Becoming Visible: Portraits of Homeless Transgender Teens” Artist: Josh Lehrer

Before they even opened, I got the feeling from their promotions and website that it was more of a “New York” community festival than some of the others around town and it really did have a very inclusive vibe. I mean if it’s a New York photo festival, then you want to see some New York photographers, right? And you did – both local and overseas but with a healthy dose of “local.”

Shipping Container Galleries

Now with the problem of “space” being a citywide challenge for festivals and art shows, someone came up with the brilliant idea to house the assorted exhibitions inside freight packing containers. The ones that had both ends open felt good, because there was a nice through draft, but the ones that had at least three sides closed were pretty hot inside!

©Luis Alvarez
Andre Feliciano’s Greenhouse

But perhaps my favorite installation was not inside of a container, but a single small greenhouse in which there was a lovely display of brightly-colored plastic flowers – but then, as you moved in for a closer look, you realized that every single flower, every single blossom was made from miniature plastic cameras – brilliant!

Andre Feliciano’s Greenhouse
Andre Feliciano’s Greenhouse

After a couple of hours walking around the containers and chatting with a couple of my buddies that I ran into, I decided it was time to head back towards the train, this time along the designated path through the park. And this way I was able to view the other great idea from the festival organizers which was “The Fence” along which a whole myriad of really cool photographers had series of images posted on a plastic fabric background, so they were weather-proof – which was just as well, since we had a whole bunch of storms during the festival’s run.

The Fence featuring Alejandro Chaskielberg
The Fence featuring Barry Rosenthal

I really dug the fence, and even funnier, while I was walking along and enjoying the various series, I took some photos of the work I liked or photographers I knew, one of which was Landon Nordeman, whom I both know and whose work I love! And so there I am admiring his work on the fence, I look up and I see this guy looking at me and low and behold it was Landon himself, along with his beautiful wife Shannon and their adorable new baby Arthur! Too funny! So of course I took a photo of the happy family, the three of them together in front of the fence, which Landon subsequently said he very much appreciated as it was usually him taking the photos!

The Fence featuring Landon Nordeman
Landon with his wife Shannon and baby Arthur

Louisa J. Curtis – July 15th, 2012

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