Photographers Exchange and other photo organizations beginning to meet in-person again

Photographers Exchange meeting, November 2021, photograph copyright Douglas Stockdale 2021 –

Last night I had the pleasure to actually attend a local photographic critique in-person, which is a slow trend back to in-person meetings, while keeping everyone safe wearing masks regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status. This print critique was hosted by the non-profit Photographers Exchange at the Irvine Fine Arts Center in Irvine, California. Prior to the pandemic, this group would meet in-person monthly and during the pandemic, like many organizations, shifted to Zoom meetings. This was the first occasion for an in-person print review (group looking at the artwork of Rudy Vega) since the pandemic shut-down of the Irvine Fine Arts Center in March of 2020.

The critique process for the Photographers Exchange is pretty straight forward; each person who wants to have their work evaluated by the group brings 5 prints to show. When its their turn, they display the prints under the lights, provide a brief over-view of the artwork, the group is allowed a slow walk-by to examine the photographs and then a general discussion about the photographs follow.

Last weekend was the big getting-back-to-normal for Paris Photo in France, in which a bunch of SoCal photographic artists were able to attend in-person. Likewise, last month Filter Festival in Chicago was an in-person portfolio review event. And PhotoNOLA, held annually in New Orleans and hosted by the New Orleans Photo Alliance, will be an in-person event early next month (wish I could make that, but not this year). Similarly, many art and photographic galleries are allowing in-person attendance to their exhibitions.

Nevertheless, there are still some photographic organization events that are still being held virtually, such as the Los Angeles Center of Photography’s Exposure Weekend, that I recently discussed. And there are still a ton of workshops that have found a safe harbor in being held virtually. Most photographic organizations have found that having events such as a virtual workshop can reduce costs for everyone involved while extending their audience reach. My recent virtual book workshop with SouthEast Center of Photography (SEC4P) was an Zoom event hosted by this group in South Carolina, while I was leading this from Southern California and their was not anyone who attended that actually were in South Carolina, one as far away as Israel. Cool!

This is a slow transition towards normalcy and there will probably continue to be ups and downs for in-person events until we can really decimate COVID-19 with vaccines, as we did smallpox and other dangerous virus. So do your part, get your shot. I did (and the booster too)

by Douglas Stockdale

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