Foto8 at the New York Photo Festival
Last year Foto8 covered the first New York Photo Festival extensively here on the website. It was a rambling, ambitious behemoth of an event, and in the end, pretty satisfying. We enjoyed hearing what photographers, curators, and attendees had to say because a festival after all is a place where people get together.
We have a different role at NYPH09 this year. Foto8 founder/director Jon Levy and Foto8 have been invited to curate one of the four main exhibitions at NYPH09. Home For Good will be on display at the Dumbo Arts Center in Brooklyn at the festival from 13 – 17 May. This exhibit is Jon and the Foto8 team’s effort to translate Foto8’s sensibility from the familiar forms of 8 magazine , Foto8.com and HOST Gallery in London to a festival venue.
Home For Good explores the ways in which photography enters our homes, through newspapers and magazines, and also through scrapbooks, yearbooks, postage stamps. We wanted to be able to put photography in a gallery without erasing all the vital paths through which photographs move in our everyday lives. Galleries can often decontextualize photographs, especially photojournalism and documentary photography; we wanted to bring you into a space that acknowledges this but at the same time turns that relationship on its head, making the photography look less like “art” and making the gallery look more like “home”. Visitors to the gallery, we hope, will come not to revere the powerful and thoughtful images on display, but to reconsider how images travel and how their meanings change as they move through the parts of our lives.
The work on show is art by its best definitions, and the photographers have been chosen both for the subjects that they take on and their ability to address their inquiries through strong photography. The work in Home For Good examines the tensions between being “at home”- your homeland, your new home, or in your own skin, and what it means to be far away from home, a migrant, a soldier, when home becomes a distant object. How is “home” imagined? War destablizes the idea of home, putting it to contest, making it abstract, putting it at risk.
The show features Tim Hetherington’s portraits of sleeping US soldiers in Afghanistan, as both prints and as a special projection; Simon Roberts’ photographs from his We English project; Louie Palu’s pictures of young US Marines and Adam Nadel’s portraits of American steelworkers, both sets complex; David Gray’s Vampire work from Romania presented as a magazine layout and new postage stamps featuring Chris Killip’s work from the Isle of Man; Venetia Dearden’s beautiful and romantic study of Somerset and Seba Kurtis’ unconventional layered and cold-burning pictures about immigration; Lorraine Grupe’s scrapbooks of pictures sent to and from servicemen in the Second World War and Bruno Stevens’ hard stare at Gaza.
So if you can make it to New York next week please come and say hello and let us know what you think of Home For Good. Our team will be there: Jon Levy, Lauren Heinz, Harry Hardie, Max Houghton and myself. We’ll be running a special New York edition of our portfolio review, Meet the Editors for which there are still spaces available. Venetia Dearden will be speaking on Thursday morning, Seba Kurtis and Tim Hetherington on Saturday, and Louie Palu on Sunday, and Jon is scheduled to speak on both Saturday and Sunday. And there will be many other thoughtful and provocative presentations and exhibitions over these five days.
Foto8 began in Brooklyn in 1998, so it is a sort of homecoming even though our home is now London, wherever the magazine finds you, on the internet, everywhere you are.
– Leo Hsu
May 13 – 17, 2009