Notes on NYPH 11



New York Photo Festival
May 11- 15, 2011
DUMBO, NYC


Down Under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Overpasses is where the annual New York Photo Festival is held, and my first visit to this part of NYC overwhelmingly confirmed the significance of the letters DUMBO in naming this neighborhood. You can't go anywhere in DUMBO without being fully aware of the massive and beautiful bridges looming overhead. Even the Manhattan skyline pales in the presence of these overhead structures. Loved the old converted warehouse spaces, easy parking, Brooklyn Bridge Park, lot's of great looking restaurants in the neighborhood, and a four day photography festival all within an area of about six square city blocks! 

Enjoyed meeting Larissa Leclair of the Indie Photobook Library, and Andy Adams of Flak Photo. Andy gave one of four lectures I attended throughout the day. Martine Fougeron spoke about her Tete-a-Tete series and presented a 30 minute film Teen Tribe based on the complete series documenting her adolescent sons in New York and France. Andy Adams presented his lecture Photo 2.0, discussing the present and future issues surrounding digital media and photography. Penelope Umbrico spoke about her ongoing projects such as Sunsets From Flickr in context to the release of her new Aperture monograph. And the final lecture I attended was a panel discussion led by James Estrin, an editor of the New York Times' Lens Blog, leading a discussion of current trends in photography blogs and online magazines. Other panelists included Kira Pollack, of the newly minted Lightbox blog from Time Magazine, Holly Hughes of  Photo District News,  Photographer David Walter Banks of Luceo Images,  and Adriana Teresa of Foto Visura.


And obviously lots and lots of photography. Too much to absorb in one day, and yet strangely, seemingly not enough. Beyond the traditional indoor gallery exhibits, there was only one open air venue,  the Tobacco Warehouse, which housed several exhibits, including Dreams, Hopes and Hard Times. I would have liked to see this festival attract a few (or even many) independent artists setting up temporary sidewalk tables and displays. I like to see not just what is officially included in an art festival, but also what is on the fringes. There were no fringes whatsoever at NYPH 11 and that was disappointing

Dreams, Hopes & Hard Times
Tobacco Warehouse. NYPH 11




Here is a quick run through of things that caught my eye throughout the day. As always, clicking an image will enlarge it to full screen for a better view...

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, photographs from the 54 story apartment building in Johannesburg, South Africa called Ponte City. Every time I look at this image I think the girl is suspended in the air... it is mesmerizing.

Mikhael Subotzky. Ponte City


Clemence de Limburg, photographs from the series Dwarf World Games, started in Chicago in 1993 and held every four years, Limburg's square format images are gorgeous. I wish there had been more exhibited.


Clemence de Limburg.  Dwarf World Games



A Yin, photographs documenting the transformation of rural Mongolian culture to one of urban influence. The series of images shows a pair of photographs, one black and white image of an individual or family in traditional Mongolian setting and clothing paired with a color image of the same person or family shown in modern urban context. Very thought provoking, and I had a hard time being convinced in some cases that the same people were in both images, that is how dramatic the transformation reveals itself to be.


A Yin. Mongolia Transformed



Ethan Levitas, photographs from the series In Advance of a Broken Arm. A series of post 9/11 images taken in public settings such as subway stations, all cleverly shot with a police officer or security guard looming mysteriously behind a wall or obstruction. This series, along with it's ominous title was fascinating and disturbing at the same time.


Ethan Levitas. In Advance of a Broken Arm


Lisa M Robinson, the first exhibit of her new series Oceana at Klompching Gallery.  I was very interested to see this work because I love the series Snowbound (2008).  Oceana has the meditative qualities of Snowbound, with the additional wild chaotic nature of the sea captured in every image.


Lisa M. Robinson.  Oceana

And it was nice to see the work of Marta Gonzalez on the walls of the Pratt Graduate Show. Gonzalez is a fellow participant in ONWARD 11, and the image Torso (below left) is currently on exhibit at Ring Cube Gallery in Tokyo, Japan with all of the other images chosen by juror Larry Fink for ONWARD 11 from Project Basho in Philadelphia.


Marta Gonzalez. Pratt Graduate Show

Last but certainly not least, Martine Fougeron, images from the series Tete-a-Tete, intimate portraits of the photographer's adolescent sons and their friends from the ages 13 to 18 in New York and France. As I mentioned above, Fougeron presented a lecture on this work and showed the premiere of a 30 minute film based on this work titled Teen Tribe.  I find the work beautiful, but I was disturbed by the film on multiple levels.


Martine Fougeron. Tete-a-Tete


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