Of course it doesn’t help that there are book displays dotted throughout. Yes I understand the commercial aspect this is the powerHouse HQ after all and they are book publishers and hey isn’t it always nice to have a photo book near by in case one needs a safety blanket in the wake of an awkward social interaction but it does inhibit spacial movement although maybe making room to pack another couple of hundred people in wouldn’t be such a good thing either. But what about all the spoilage after a bit of spillage ? I guess a number of casualties is acceptable especially as the free flowing alcohol was seen to dampen many a page as the evening wore on. Look out for marked down victims on a sale table.

We were anxious though to get to the Tim Barber curatorial opening at 7.00pm. Expecting a zoo we left one for the other. Running behind schedule I was worried that the line would be down the street but turns out it was not as jammed as we had predicted, maybe the lack of alcohol or indeed any beverage service had something to do with the relatively sober atmosphere. Was expecting at least a kegger or some Pabst Blue Ribbon to lubricate the hip young crowd.

Unfortunately I found the show to be a little underwhelming too although we will give it a better look over the coming days. I have always liked Tim’s installations for his Tiny Vices shows and have felt that the format contributed somewhat to their success. In this case all the prints are the same size (8.5 x 11 me thinks) and are all presented in identical frames. I was surprised to see this direction taken; perhaps it was all about presenting everyone in equal fashion, a level playing field so to speak or even a break with tradition and expectation. But to be honest with so much work on the walls it was hard to differentiate and mutterings were heard that it was almost as if it the same photographer had taken the shots not the 160 or so different contributors. Maybe it was just me and a second go around will change everything but hey its all about first impressions right.

I didn’t last long here to be honest and ventured back to the arena for further refreshment. Only now it was all beginning to expire; the beer ran dry although the rum was still running freely and the food was being picked through by the ravenous hordes who’s make up had changed as VIP only made way for ticket festival holders après 8.00pm. Still a good buzz though and I have to say there was a genuine sense of excitement about festival happenings to come in the chilly night time air.

Needless to say the joints were hopping with an A-list on hand throughout the evening, spotted among the masses were: curators Martin Parr, Kathy Ryan and Lesley M. Martin, Michel Mallard: curator Festival International de Mode et De Photographie Hyeres fresh off the plane, Eric Kessels: photo book publisher and creative director KesselKramer Amsterdam, Darrin Ching creative director PDN and co-owner Dumbo gallery ClompChing with his wife and partner Debra Clomp, photographers Antonin Kratochvil, George Pitts, Stefan Ruiz, Caroll Taveras, Katherine Wolkoff, Mark Asnin, Jeff Jacobson, Gillian Laub, Susan Meiselas, Robert Wright, Ron Haviv, Jeff Mermelstein, Chip Simons, Martina Hoogland Ivanov, Michael Lavine, Hannah Whitaker, Jessica Dimmock, Joel Barhamand, Ashley Macknica, Jeremy Liebman, Victoria Hely-Hutchinson, Amy Elkins, Amy Stein, Cara Phillips, Patrick Romero, Jeff Mermelstein, Sylvia Plachy, Thatcher Keats, Christian Patterson, Katina Houvouras, Andrea Wyner, Joseph Michael Lopez, Andy Kropa, Shane Lavalette, Joe Fornabaio, Anthony Georgis, and Jon Feinstein photographer and curatorial director Humble Arts Foundation, gallerist Jen Bekman of the Jen Bekman gallery and 20×200 fame, Bill Hunt of Hasted Hunt, photo reps Marcel Saba: Redux Pictures, Bill Stockland: Stockland Martel, Nancy Iacoi and Christina Cahill: Orchard Represents, photo editors David Carthas: New York Times magazine, Monica Bradley: photo director Mens Fitness, Megan Ziegler-Haynes: director of photography Photoshelter, Eric Miles: director rare books and auctions Photo-Eye, Holly Hughes: editor PDN, Kellie Mclaughlin: Aperture, Kate Constans: creative director Trace magazine,  Laurie Henzel creative director/publisher Bust magazine, Casey Kelbaugh: founder/director Slideluck Potshow, Evan Nisselson: chairman and founder Digital Railroad and Grayson Dantzic: archivist.

The festival kicks off proper today. I myself will be a part of Portraiture an exhibit by Getty Images, opening reception tonight 6.00pm – 8.00pm 81 Front street, be sure to pop by and say hi.

Andrew Hetherington is a freelance editorial and commercial photographer. He is the author of the popular photo blog ‘Whats the jackanory ? ’.