Monday, March 17, 2008

Fotofest Meeting Place: Day 1

I made it through my first day of Fotofest here in Houston. Unfortunately I was so exhausted after I wasn't able to check out any shows around town. I had the pleasure of meeting with several reviewers who offered insightful feedback. It was both encouraging and discouraging on some levels. Based on the first day events I'm considering reediting the current selection of images in my Repository series. I've brought along two series. Most reviewers are drawn to the medical work although a few have been more taken with my Sorority Rush series.

Reviewers questioned the themes running through my Repository series and ways to strengthen those ideas. One reviewer from Canada mentioned the possibility of separating the project in to two parts of one body while another reviewer suggested separating out the images of the photographs of me in the morgue sink from the rest of the hospital/gynecologist pieces. Nothing was a complete surprise however it gets me thinking–maybe the series isn't as strong as I originally thought. Maybe it is. Maybe it just needs refining. I have been wanting to continue with the self-portraits as well as continue shooting for the series but not sure which ideas to focus on and which themes need to be fleshed out more.

In between the intense timed reviews I was able to see the work of fellow Fotofest participants. I ran across two photographers whose images I was already familiar with. I spotted Carlo Van de Roer's Untitled (Astoria Park, Queens, New York). I recognized his image which had been shown at Jen Beckman's gallery and through her photo venture 20x200 offering very reasonably priced prints to the general public. Unfortunately this photo is already sold out in all sizes. It was wonderful being able to see the entire series and meet Carlo. Jen Beckman is attending the conference as a reviewer. I'm hoping to meet her and show her both my series and see where that leads. I'd love to be part of her gallery or at the very least sell an image through her 20x200. I also recognized the work of Rachel Papo and her series of Israeli female soldiers. Her and I were both published in the same issue of PDN edu a few years ago. Having only seen the images in a magazine or online it was fantastic to see them beautifully printed 20x24 as well as see Rachel's new series on ballet dancers in Russia.

I overheard one photographer say that while nothing transpired from his meetings with reviewers two years ago during his first Fotofest conference he walked away inspired. During the last two years he has produced two bodies of work and a book. I hope if nothing else I can walk away with a list of new contacts and the same positive outlook on my own work and future projects.