Last Sunday marked the conclusion of the sixth annual Medium Festival of Photography. This time (in contrast to the brief visit last year) I decided to participate in all four days of activities (October 26-29), and I am very pleased I did. This way I am also able to report on the range of activities that are offered, and would encourage you to participate next year. It gives me pleasure to note that we, the SoCal Photo Exchange, are a media sponsor of the Medium Festival of Photography.
The first two days were spent doing portfolio reviews. This process allows the participating photographers to show their work to leaders in the art world, be they artists, collectors, publishers, or museum staff. The feedback one can obtain is priceless, and the process teaches you to be concise and focused in editing, describing, and presenting your photographs. You are also able to make contacts this way and have the experts remember your work if there are future opportunities where your work may be exhibited and/or published. I got at least seven or eight excellent suggestions for presenting my work more effectively and for creating new series. You also get a sense of the range of preferences for various purposes. There was also a “portfolio walk” on Thursday night, where the public and fellow artists can view your work. I found the interactions refreshing, and the talks were just as straight-forward and personal as the reviews.
Friday night and Saturday were devoted to lecture/presentations. The keynote lecture by John Gossage was inspiring, as he discussed his long career and publishing history in detail, and is a great model for finding opportunities and using everyday subjects to generate profound contemplation via narrative landscape/photographic fiction. The presentation of 3D images and films by Claudia Kunin was also impressive, as she has a way to make the animated stills stir one’s memories and emotions. The lectures by Justyna Badach (selected from last year’s portfolio review participants) and Christina Seely were interesting to me as well, since they dealt with political and environmental issues that should be a concern for all of us.
Sunday a group of us went on one of the Medium Festival bus tours to visit major museums and galleries. This too was a fabulous experience. In a very compact amount of time we were able to visit a number of venues as well as to talk with a number of artists that had specifically come to the venues to make themselves available for discussion. Without having to drive, we could appreciate the Museum of Photographic Art, the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Central Library Gallery, and the San Diego State University Downtown Gallery in a very compact amount of time. The images below give you some glimpses and further descriptions of what I saw. I hope it will encourage you to make use of these resources and this festival in the future.
My special thanks to Scott B. Davis, Sarah Koenig Wagner, and all the other workers of magic for creating this wonderful experience!
Photographers shared their work and exchanged ideas throughout the two days of portfolio reviews at the Lafayette Hotel in San Diego.
The Executive Director of the Medium Festival of Photography, Scott B. Davis. The interpersonal skills and dedicated energy of Scott, Sarah, and the rest of the team were huge factors contributing to the festival’s success, already in its sixth year.
Prep time between reviews. Here photographers J.K. Lavin, Wendi Schneider, Lori Pond, and Gerhard Clausing are sorting their images.
An open slot! Off to be reviewed, facilitated by Sarah Koenig Wagner, Program Manager.
The keynote speaker, John Gossage, who talked about his impressive career creating several dozen books.
At the Dual Graphics table, Craig Evans and author Douglas Stockdale (who introduced his very useful Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book, soon to be reviewed here) are conversing with artist and reviewer Andrew Burgess (second from left) and photographer Todd Bradley (right).
Maggie Downing, Manager of Collections and Exhibitions, explains the installation behind her and is about to start a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park.
A viewer’s approach to the exhibit “Play,” featuring the work of Brenda Biondo (former portfolio review participant) at The San Diego Museum of Art.
Philipp Scholz Rittermann explains his work, part of the San Diego Central Library Gallery exhibit “Dream of the Nineties.”
Members of our group at the exhibit “We are here/Estamos aquí.” We had a chance to discuss work with photographers Tom Kiefer, Ingrid Hernández, and Stefan Falke. It was fascinating to see and hear about the artists’ personal involvement and to hear about the difficulties experienced around the US/Mexico border.
The Mexican photographer Ingrid Hernández at the exhibit “We are here/Estamos aquí” at SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Stefan Falke and Chantel Paul, Director of the SDSU Downtown Gallery, discussing Stefan’s work photographing artists in Mexico.
Image #3 © Douglas Stockdale; all others © Gerhard Clausing