Wednesday, June 8, 2011

LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph 2011

I was delighted to run into Linda O on the pedestrian mall shortly after having checked in at the hotel here in Charlottesville, Virginia. She and I had originally connected on David Alan Harvey's blog, Road Trips, and then had met in person during the 6-day workshop he and Jim Nachtwey co-taught at Look3 in 2009. She is now taking Chris Anderson's workshop while I am simply here for the festival. I took this photo as she was preparing to show me the start of a beautiful essay on her mother who has suffered a stroke.

The theme for LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph 2011 is "home" and it feels like coming home to be here again. Over these next four days I anticipate seeing old friends and making new ones, having my artistic sensibilities stretched and deepened, and strengthening my already passionate commitment to photography.

During my first 8-hour day of driving on Monday I asked myself what I saw as a benchmark of success in my life as a photographer. The answer was clear: passion! Not recognition, awards, exhibitions, books or anything that comes from the outside, but only what wells up within me as I pursue this work. And as I thought about the past four months of working on the project, Young Musicians, all I could see was passion. Of course I want my photos to be good but that is not the most important thing to me. I want to tell the story as effectively as I can. The story is what interests me not my photos. That is a shift in my thinking.

Linda O was saying that she has come to a place in her life as a photographer where all she cares about is the quality of her photos. Not the story, not her feelings about the work. She wants to know which of her photos is excellent, and is ready to get rid of the rest.

Isn't it wonderful how each of us finds our own way in life?

So today I will scoot around to different galleries and see the exhibits connected with LOOK3. That will include the work of Nan Goldin, Christopher Anderson, Massimo Vitale, Antonin Kratochvil, LaToya Ruby Frazier, BD Hope for a Healthy World, World Press Photo Awards, and Pictures of the Year. I have already seen the work of Ashley Gilbertson and George Steinmetz because their images are outside in the mall. I came a day early specifically to be able to do this. It is so rare that I am able to see prints of this caliber that I want to take my time and savor them rather than rushing through and/or being in such crowded conditions that I can barely move (as will be true at the openings this weekend).

It is supposed to reach 97 degrees Farenheit (36 Celsius) today so Charlottesville will be HOT in more ways than one!


Anonymous david alan harvey said...

hi patricia...i so look forward to your work from chris' class..and jumping in the car now..i know burn is far far from your mind, but yesterday we did pick up another award..check it out when you get a chance because this one really really does belong to ALL of us...big hugs, keep shooting, love, david

June 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM  

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