|Written by Andrew Hetherington|
|11 May 2008|
I have never been to any of the big photo festivals like Recontres d’Arles, Visa Pour L’Image Perpignan, Contact Toronto or Photo Espana. Actually I have never been to a photo festival but as luck would have it I now have one in my own back yard; so no excuses with the inaugural New York Photo Festival aka NYPH 08 coming to town this week. New York has long been at the epicenter of the photography scene so isn’t it about time it gave back and hosted an internationally recognized event of its own.
Quickly on the way to becoming a photo and art mecca in its own right the Dumbo area of Brooklyn looks to be the perfect neighborhood for such a gathering. With powerHouse and the VII Photo Agency among the marquee tenants; momentum has been building in these parts with galleries, studios and creative opportunity attracting a vibrant functioning autonomous community. Just far enough away from the Chelsea scene it would appear that this is the ideal spot for a new festival like this obviously determined to make a statement.
On the outset it looks like it may have a little something for everyone and the organizers appear to have made an effort to appease all the genres. The inclusion of Tim Barber of Tiny Vices amongst the illustrious group of curators is a smart move at bringing a young cool crowd to the party while giving the festivals mantra ‘The Future of Contemporary Photography’ some added relevance. One hopes the festival will be user friendly and easily accessible to the common man and won’t be a mutual love fest limited to an elite who’s who.
Of course its not entirely free of charge; it’s a pay to play, $ 45.00 looks like it should get you into just about everything but there are some freebies and a little good weather thrown into the mix should help spread the festive cheer to the streets. Me thinks this maybe where a lot of the meeting and mingling will take place especially with a crowd of some 100,000 anticipated over the five days and with capacity limited at the venues keep a close eye on the schedule and plan accordingly.
As a working editorial / commercial photographer I am curious to see what this festival has to offer me. It’s the first time out so that in its self allows for a lot of expectation, excitement and even a little trepidation. On the surface it looks like the eclectic mix of curators, photographers and events should make for interesting times and I am excited to partake in as many of the offerings that tickle my fancy as I can. Of course one has to be a little selfish and is thinking about the networking opportunities. Here’s hoping a broad cross section of industry types will be in attendance and that a relaxed convivial atmosphere will lead to some fruitful and unexpected exchanges and connections.
As well as looking out for numero uno I am thrilled to announce that I will be a part of the Foto 8 team blogging the event. Look out for a daily report taking in the scene and as many of the extra curricular activities on offer as one can manage. Hopefully I can bring you a little personal insight from my side of the fence along with the regular fluff. Either way this looks like it is going to be some shindig so go on treat yourself.
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Andrew Hetherington is a freelance editorial and commercial photographer. Originally from Dublin, Ireland he has lived in New York City for the past 13 years. A Photo District News emerging photographer to watch in 2003 he has also won awards for his work from American Photography, Communication Arts and American Photo. A contributing photographer to Wired and ESPN the Magazine he also works for GQ, Details, Esquire, Conde Nast Portfolio, Mens Health and Fortune. He is the author of the popular photo blog ‘Whats the jackanory ? ’.