November 17, 2012 10:43 am

Tomorrow is the final day to experience all ten photography exhibits at FotoWeekCentral – I know, we’re sad, too! Even though the festival is coming to a close, photography will continue to be celebrated throughout the year thanks to the efforts of FotoDC, it’s FotoPartners, and all of the FotoFans in the area, including you!

There is still a lot to see and do, so check out the calendar to plan a photography-filled weekend.  Tonight’s closing party is sure to be a blast and there are still 26 hours to Shoot the Festival for a chance to win some big prizes.

See you there!

Street Photography in Washington, D.C.

November 15, 2012 9:50 am

Life is funny and people do interesting things just going about their daily business.  Mix in a few photographers who watch and snap, and the genre of street photography was born. 

This isn’t a new concept -  a small handful of photographers, including Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson, captured moments on the streets of Paris over a hundred years ago, pioneering the style.  This type of “life reportage” involved individualized techniques, personal preference, and an eye for the decisive moment to hit the shutter.  Viewed out of context, images like these can invoke a lot of questions, be confusing, uncomfortable, or hilarious, or simply offer an unfiltered look at humanity.  An example is Cartier-Bresson’s iconic Rue Mouffetard, Paris of a small boy carrying two giant bottles of wine on a Paris street, one of my personal favs.

Locally, street photography has been categorized by a group of photographers, each with an individualized approach and style.  Recently, a few banded together to create STRATA Collective with the aim to strengthen their work and increase exposure to the artform.  This collective includes Aziz Yazdani, whose split-view look at two generations was a winner in the 2010 FotoWeekDC festival, so I asked him about STRATA Collective and their exhibit up now.

H St, DC, 2012, Photograph by AzizYazdani

>>  How did STRATA Collective get its start?

Aziz:  The idea of creating a street photography collective has actually been floating around in our minds for a couple of years. Over this past summer I finally decided to make something happen and shot an email out to a group of DC based street photographers whose work I deeply admired: Bill Bramble, Matt Dunn, Steve Goldenberg, Mike Hicks, and Chris Suspect. The creation of the group was essentially two fold: 1) to strengthen our photographic skill set by offering valuable and intellectual critique and 2) to expose the community to Street Photography, a genre of photography that is not represented or respected enough in my opinion.

>>  Where can we see STRATA Collective’s work?

Aziz:  Since our creation just a few months ago we’ve made quite a bit of progress. We have been fortunate enough to be part of two exhibitions. We are currently exhibiting 22 prints at Submerge, located at 7 th and H St. NE. through November 18, 2012. We will also be having a one night exhibition/party in collaboration with another DC-based photography collective, FotoPartner InstantDC [whose involvement with FotoWeek spans several years] on November 15th. We also just found out that three of our members were chosen to be exhibited at the Miami Street Photography Festival during the second week in December. Out of 78 prints that will be exhibited, 11 are from STRATA. Not too shabby.

Ocean City, MD, 2012, Photograph by Mike Hicks
Ocean City, MD, 2012, Photograph by Mike Hicks

>>  What can we expect from STRATA in the future?

Aziz:  Things are looking pretty good for us so far. I can’t express how exited I am for the future of our group and how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing photographers. We constantly strive to improve our images and push (>cough< encourage) each other to step up our game. For the time being we are going to stick to the six of us and work out all of the kinks of what it takes to run a successful Collective.  Hopefully by next summer we will be looking to expand as a group.

San Francisco, CA, 2012, Photograph by Chris Suspect

The work of STRATA Collective photographers may be seen at Instant DC’s 3rd Annual 2012 Soul of the City Photography Exhibition exhibit at the Josephine Butler Parks Center tonight, Thursday, November 14, from 6 to 10 p.m.  Tickets are $10.

Exciting Opening Weekend

November 11, 2012 10:48 pm

Today, I spent over three hours at FotoWeekCentral exploring the exhibits and attending some of the lectures in the FotoWeekDC Lecture Series. I learned about photographers’ rights from an expert, squee’d over baby penguins courtesy of Gaston Lacombe, and visualized invisible forest within the barren land of Antarctica, thanks to the brilliantly-colored installations by Andrea Juan.

On my way out, I ran into FotoWeek founder Theo Adamstein, who told me that in just the first day, over 2,000 visitors passed through the doors of FotoWeekCentral. We hope this momentum continues throughout the week!

The festival is just getting started and there’s so much more photography to see and experience. In an earlier post, I left out one very important feature of the events schedulea clickable calendar!

We hope to see you there!

We saw ALL the photography last night

11:20 am


Good morning! Last night’s Benefit Launch Party was a great success – and, a lot of fun! Here’s a look back at the party and all the photography (on exhibit and happening all around us).

We’re heading down to FotoWeekCentral for a day full of lectures and will be back tonight to tell you all about them.

The Antarctica Project – part of the FotoWeekDC Free Lecture Series

11:00 am

One of the places on Earth where I’ve always wanted to go is Antarctica.  I’ve never been anywhere that cold, that windy, or that full of penguins.  Sure, I could take an Antarctic cruise, but that’s barely going to get me off the boat.  Alas, the entire continent is protected, thanks to the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959, so it’s not like I can find a flight – there aren’t any.

Now, I could take some advice from photographer Gaston Lacombe and apply for an Antarctic residency.  He traveled to, Esperanza, the Argentine scientific base in Antarctica, from January to March 2012 as an Artist-in-Residence.  When I saw that he, along with Argentine artist Andrea Juan, were showing work created during their stay in The Antarctica Project, Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts (CDIA)’s FotoWeekDC exhibit, I immediately got in touch with him to talk about his photographic adventure to the Antarctic peninsula.  And, about all the penguins.

Antarctica is a protected nature reserve so everything brought onto the continent must be inspected and no rocks or animals may be disturbed.  Leaving the base is extremely dangerous due to the tendency of the weather to change very quickly, and the perimeter is marked with chains and signs to help keep anyone from travelling too far.  Their closest neighbors are Adélie penguins.  About 250,000 of them, including babies. “It was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen in the world”, Lacombe described.  #squee

An Adélie penguin glides in freshly fallen snow, at the Esperanza Base, in Antarctica, Photograph by Gaston Lacombe


The Adélie penguins are small, standing only about 2-feet tall, and differ from Emperor penguins in that they are only black and white.  You can’t hug them – I asked.  They return to their breeding grounds in the summer, which runs from November through March, to lay eggs and raise their ridiculously cute babies, and then return to the sea ice. While on land, the penguins follow specific roads to and from the water, and they are color-coded:  pink from the colony to the sea and brown from the sea back to the colony. The brown color is dirt and mud, but the pink?  That’s penguin poop.  From eating all the shrimp.  And, it can be seen from space.

Lacombe shot over 20,000 photographs of the penguins and other Antarctic life such as birds, seals, sea lions, and algae.  He approached this exhibit searching for life and color in an otherwise stark, barren landscape in a harsh white climate.  Along with the penguin roads, the ice may be colored red or green by algae blooms.  Juan, an installation artists, brightened the landscape with brilliantly-colored fabrics that appear superimposed on the white background.  Her photographs of these installations offer a philosophical look at how the continent might change as a result of climate change, bringing new organisms and resculpting the terrain.

Obviously, the trip had its share of obstacles along the way.  The gargantuan task of editing 20,000 photos was made even more difficult by a broken computer, damaged during the week of travel to the Esperanza Base.  Lacombe and Juan could only take what they could carry, and that included photographic equipment, computers, and Juan’s installation materials, along with their regular travel items like clothing and other sundries.  When asked if he’d always wanted to visit Antarctica, Lacombe responded with, “I’ve always wanted to go everywhere.”  And, that includes returning to Antarctica at some point.

On Sunday, November 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Lacome and Juan will discuss The Antarctica Project and their work on the base as part of the FotoWeekDC Lecture Series at FotoWeekCentral.  Following the lecture, CDIA hosts an opening reception for the exhibit from 6 to 9 p.m.

These free lectures cover a wide range of topics with presenters who know their stuff.  Take a look through the entire schedule and plan to attend!  But, I can only guarantee that this one will include pictures of penguins.

Navigating the Events (There are so many!)

November 9, 2012 10:00 am

It’s finally here!  The 2012 edition of the FotoWeekDC festival opens TODAY!  Finding your way around all the events, parties, openings, receptions, exhibits, seminars, portfolio reviews, and workshops can be a little overwhelming, so finding your way around the FotoWeekDC website is important so nothing gets missed.  And, we’re here to help show you around and be your guide.

Visitors returning to the FotoWeekDC website for the first time since last year’s festival will be seeing a pretty big design overhaul.  The extensive website redesign and addition of new modules like FotoPage and FotoGalleries were made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Philip L. Graham Fund awarded earlier this year.

In addition to the new modules, the Festival Events listing was completely retooled to make finding all the events faster than ever.  Search by venue, such as FotoWeekCentral or one of the 66 FotoPartners, or category for exhibitions, lectures, workshops, opening receptions, or special events.  For the logistical type, plan festival outings based on location using the events map for the most efficient plan of attack.  Interested in specific photographic subjects?  Find them based on genre, including aerial, documentary, fine art, landscape, social documentary, photo journalism – pretty much every subject matter possible.  Or, for those whose budget is running a little tight right now but still want to experience FotoWeekDC without skipping a beat, search by events that are free.

In addition to the events listing, browse the individual FotoPartner pages for information on the the gallery, embassy, museum, collective, non-profit, school, or photography association that catches your attention.  Each participating FotoPartner will have their events listed right there in one place just for you.

Take a few minutes to explore the new website features and then get out there!






FotoWeek by Night

November 8, 2012 10:00 am

This FotoWeekDC is shaping up to be quite the exciting week. But, did you know FotoWeekDC doesn’t stop after the Central location closes?

FotoWeek by Night involves a series of great events held at the brand new Malmaison lounge.  Named after château de Malmaison, the country home of Napoléon Bonaparte and his first wife Joséphine, Malmaison occupies a former warehouse on Water Street in the Georgetown Waterfront, and looks to be the place to be for some of the coolest events at FotoWeekDC.  Earlier this spring, The Water Street Project, an 11-day pop-up art space, happened in this same location, which promises to continue to promote the arts in its newest form, beginning with FotoWeek by Night.

On Monday, November 11, Slideluck Potshow brings their popular art and food-sharing event back to D.C. for their third FotoWeekDC festival.  Slideluck DC VIII offers an evening of delicious homemade food and a spectacular slideshow showcasing the work of local and international photographers.  The evening starts with a potluck dinner and mingling with fellow photographers and photography fans – don’t forget to bring a dish to share.  Once the food is nommed, settle in for more than 20 photographic slideshows highlighting the work local photographers plus a selection of international work.  7 p.m. to 12 a.m., tickets are $10.

Next, spend A Special Evening with Uncover/Discover Photographers on Thursday, November 15.   Back in July, 10 local photographers were chosen by curators Elizabeth Krist, Jayme McLellan, and Ken Ashton for their stunning portfolios submitted to the Uncover/Discover, a regional call for portfolios using the newly-launched FotoPage website feature. Come join them for a grand evening as they each present their selected body of work through a slideshow. Cocktails to follow! $10 entrance fee is required. 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., tickets are $10.

Lastly, Open Show DC presents Arab Spring & Aftermath on November 16.  In Open Show’s signature conversation-style format, 5 curated presenters, ranging from students to professionals, have 10 minutes each to share their story – either through a 20 image story or a 4-7 minute multimedia/film project.  The focus of this evening will be photography from Arab Spring in Syria and a chance to see compelling work and interact directly with those who created it.  8 to 11 p.m., tickets are $10.

We hope to see you there!

- Sarah Robertson