Experiencing Photolucida

The inner sanctum of Photolucida, where reviews happen one on one. ©Mike Davis/2011

Photolucida just wrapped up five days of photographic excellence last night with a party at Blue Sky Gallery here in Portland.

What an experience Photolucida offers. At the heart of the experience are reviews of photographers’ work. Each of the 160 or so photographers gets to spend 20 minutes with nearly 20 of the 60 or so reviewers who are curators, gallery owners, critics and collectors.

There’s also an outer layer of reviewers, called roving reviewers, who meet with photographers and respond to their work in a much less formal structure. I was a roving reviewer for two days and was amazed at the range and quality of work.

Hundreds came to the Portland Art Museum to look at the work of photographers who participated in Photolucida. ©MikeDavis/2011

Reviews are the heart but there’s so much more. It is a festival of photography. There are talks each noon, an evening talk by Charles Hartman and Julia Dolan about collecting photography, a portfolio walk at the Portland Art Museum where each photographers shows work to the community, a talk by Todd Hido one evening and many of Portland’s best galleries host photographic works for the month, including a special gallery walk during Photolucida.

That's Larry Fong, University of Oregon, talking to a photographer in the roving reviewer room. ©Mike Davis/2011All kinds of surprises happened during Photolucida. Here, Julie Blackmon shows prints to Holly Andres, Portland, left, Bob Delevante, Memphis, and Toni Greaves, Portland, right.

I guess most of the work shown would be labelled art. But that’s like calling something a car and thinking it means only one type of car. One quality that all of the work shared was precision of thought and execution. The bodies of work people showed held together for many varied reasons and utilize a huge range of the photographic medium. Some told stories, some were collections of thoughts, others were ideas, impressions, connections.

Charles Froelick introduces Susan Seubert during her talk at his gallery. Ron van Dongen also talked at the Froelick Gallery that morning. ©Mike Davis/2011

I had the pleasure of moderating a talk with Randy Olson and Melissa Farlow at iwitness gallery for their show of work titled Duality, Saturday afternoon. ©Mike Davis/2011

Inevitably, each of the bodies of work reflected the essence of the person who created it. What a joy it was to meet the people and get to know them through their work. 

The next Photolucida is in April of 2013 with registration beginning in the fall of 2012. If your work is good and focused and artful, I’d encourage you to try it.

Remember Chris Hondros

Great talk in Seattle