Virginia Town Celebrates the Photograph
The tree-lined streets of downtown Charlottesville, Va., were transformed into a live gallery space over the weekend. The town hosted the second annual Look3: Festival of the Photograph — a three-day arts festival celebrating photography as a medium and the photographic community.
The event drew internationally renowned photojournalists and art photographers to the historic town center for full days of lectures, exhibitions and outdoor projections.
The festival was founded by Charlottesville residents Jessica Nagle and veteran photographer Nick Nichols, who also serves as editor-at-large at National Geographic magazine. Nichols had hosted backyard slideshows for his peers for years, and says he was inspired by the success of those evenings to bring photography to a wider audience.
The festival was conceived as a noncompetitive and noncommercial event, providing both established professionals and emerging artists an opportunity to share their work. In addition to lectures by prominent photographers, including Time magazine's resident conflict photographer, James Nachtwey, the festival organizers encouraged local residents to have their work printed and displayed in a public gallery called YourSpace.
The impact of digital technology and declining sales in print journalism was evident at the festival. Some photographers chose to show their work as multimedia presentations, incorporating film and sound elements. Others chose to showcase work in a more traditional gallery setting.
As Nagle and Nichols had intended, there were no juries or awards. Maggie Steber, an award-winning photojournalist, said the festival provided an opportunity to "come together in a safe space and be excited about what we do, which you don't find in a business that's normally so competitive."
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