New York Photo Festival ’09

i had the opportunity to be part of nyph’09 this year as a volunteer. last year we were in japan and cambodia so we,mary and i, missed it, oh well. it’s always so great to see other peoples work and because how the festival is set up you get to hear how they work and what they were thinking, well sort of, because the festival has events where the photographers get to talk and show slide shows of their exhibited pieces.

my first assignment was to count heads, gave me a clicker, at St Ann’s Warehouse where a theater with large screen was set up for the presentations. no i didn’t see everyone and there were some people i really wanted to see but life had different requirements for me.

my first new photographer i saw was Edith Maybin who does some very personal work with her child. hearing her story really framed her pictures in context. they are different, i think one has to know some of the backstory to see the beauty of these pictures. they really are about three generations of women. are women the only ones exploring these type of sensitive visuals?

The next presenter was Anoush Abrar who works in a totally different field and way, he works in Los Angeles shooting portraits of mostly young actresses seeking fame and fortune in a very cruel environment. the world of bought beauty silicone, latex and collagen injections. catching a slice of life we don’t really get to see except maybe fleetingly.

Los Angeles is just a hop skip and a jump to San Ferandado valley porn industry. well we all have our 15 seconds of fame. there is nothing wrong in performing sex for money, we all perform something for money or less.

The next photog was Chris Boot talking about his Gay Men Play exhibit. I saw the the exhibit the next day and i was struck by how it was presented. it was printed on canvas by Gotham Imaging and tacked to the wall with thumb tacks through the edges of the border. it looked so temporary to me almost as if the subjects were temporary. from the few older gay men i’ve known the lifestyle as one ages doesn’t seem so Gay to me. i sometimes think the term Gay is a misnomer. but what do i know?

there were so many people i wanted to hear i am not sure i want to volunteer again next year. i missed so much but i did finally get to wander around talked to a few people. that to me is a wonderful part of attending these affairs, the people.

i had some images in the group show ‘We are all photographers now’ which showed at Powerhouse books. they were hosted from Luzerne Switzerland and sent to brooklyn. i would get email notices of when they were shown but the link to see which image was shown when was bad. i did manage to talk to one of the people involved and let them know of the problem. i also sent feedback to the site. oh well

we went over to see the exhibits on sunday afternoon me again, mary for the first time. There were three photog’s who’s work blew me away one of whom we saw present his work at St Ann’s Warehouse, Louie Palu who’s portraits of the marines he was embedded with really showed the effects of war. the other two are Tim Hetheington who’s video installation about US soldiers in Iraq really touched me. the other photog Bruno Stevens shot Palestine refuges and the effects of war on them.we are so lucky not to have bombs drop out of the sky on us, killing is a horrible thing.

i did want to see more of Carlos Ranc work but life had other plans. i did see his prints which i really liked but i’ve learned i can’t be in two places at once.finding information on him is like trying to find out who B. Traven was.

i did have a chance to attend the Eastman Kodak event where i again talked to a wonderful gentleman whom i first met at APID 09 this year, Grant Romer who works at the Center for the legacy of photography about ink longevity, photography process, digital inkjet printing and a few related things. he really is a charming man and a pleasure to talk with.

there was so much to see at these affairs and how so many people do these shows i wonder why they bother at all? they walk in move around the room then back out the door on towards the next gallery. almost the same thing happens at TOAST unless you somehow grab them . this being new york one has to be careful how you grab somebody. they aren’t there to buy but maybe some thing will stop them in their tracks and make an impression. that’s all we can hope for.

a small moment in time to connect with, it’s called the present moment.



One Response to “New York Photo Festival ’09”

  1. Mary Wehrhahn Says:

    It was well worth the effort of trekking over from NJ to DUMBO’s NYPF’09. Next year I’d also like to see listen to more of the photographers. On Sunday, we seemed to catch most presentations mid-stream.

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