Books, festivals and the nature of shared photography

The mailbox for a PHSNE president gets filled up with lots of notices, some far more interesting than others. Two notices of events that have come in lately have caught my eye. The first, locally located, looks to be a great chance to see the art and craft of photography as it is practiced by those who would live, and ply their trade, in the northeast corners of MA.

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LOWELL PHOTOGRAPHY WEEKEND

May 17 and 18, 2014 Lowell, Massachusetts

Lowell Photography Weekend is a multi­venue photography event taking place in Lowell Massachusetts on May 17 and 18, 2014. Thirteen Lowell galleries, museums and businesses will be hosting photographic exhibitions.


The second, which is from far-away Vienna, is about books of the stuff; those collected works, essays about the collected works and diverse collections of images strung together and put into cloth covers, to be neatly stored on shelves.

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VIENNAPHOTOBOOKFESTIVAL 2014

Date: Saturday, June 14, 2014, 10 am – 8 pm with party afterwards and Sunday, June 15, 2014, 10 am – 6 pm

Location: AnzenbergerGallery and OstLicht. Galerie für Fotografie Absberggasse 27, 1100 Vienna, Austria (Brotfabrik Wien)

This appears to be a very different beast, perhaps because of the scale of the undertaking, perhaps because of it’s international flavor and emphasis on big names and presumably high price tags, perhaps due to the nature of the objects themselves–collections, packaged goods. I do not mean to denigrate the photo book; as an art form it has much to recommend it as it gives us an artist a sort of long-form option, like an entire gallery full of themed work all within one manageable, portable device. (A website filled with art may be much the same  in content and intent, but it’s not the same thing, really, is it?)  All books are, to my mind, wonderful things, and a book of photographs has the possibility to be twice as fine.  A festival celebrating such things must be very fine indeed. The Viennese do know how to throw a party, and the email blast for PhotoBookfestival says “this year will also feature a framework programme  with DJ lineup, Bars and plenty of food.”  

If PHSNE had a large slush fund for travel and publicity, the President could attend each of these events, schmoozing and drinking with all the notables while spreading the word of our quiet provincial gatherings here in New England. As it is, I may make the Lowell weekend, even if PHSNE isn’t footing the bill. It somehow seems more fitting than the possibility of me embarrassing PHSNE and myself trying to dance to European Tech music and drinking fluorescent cocktails.

Still…

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