Big thanks to Mark, our creative director, who represented Blurb at Photolucida in Portland, Oregon last week. Read on for his report and consider attending this event next time around in 2013. It’s a great one. And now to Mark:
Portland rain did nothing to dampen Photolucida. This is the event where photographers get the chance to have their work reviewed by industry experts. Each photographer was guaranteed between 18 to 20 scheduled reviews. Many also picked up extra interviews from the roaming reviewers.
One reviewer, Quinton Gordon of Lúz Gallery in British Columbia, mentioned that what impressed him the most about the event this year was the range of talent, from emerging artists seeking critiques to improve their work to seasoned, well-established photographers looking to make connections.
Portland artist Heidi Kirkpatrick said she was thrilled with the event. “It’s intense. I’m exhausted. I’m starving. I’m dehydrated. But it’s worth it,” she said. “I came here four years ago, but I wasn’t ready. This time I was ready. I’m four years wiser with four years more work. In addition to the connections I’ve made here, I’ve actually sold eight pieces – I’ve made money.” I’d seen Heidi’s work before in her Blurb book, Lost and Found, and it was a pleasure to see her mixed media photographic objects live.
I was also blown away by the work of Louie Palu, who’s currently putting a book together using Blurb. The book is a visual narrative that speaks to the cyclical nature of post-9/11 war. Louie has rare photographs of areas of Guantanamo where very few other photographers have managed to gain access. The images are as stunning on an artistic level as they are powerful from a journalistic perspective. The book will be available as a limited edition. We’ll be featuring it on the Blurberati blog when it becomes available – definitely worth checking out.
One of the highlights for me wasn’t on the event agenda. I was fortunate to have dinner with Elisabeth Sunday, who’s in the process of writing her memoir, “Chasing Light.” Elisabeth has a substantial body of work spanning 25 years focusing primarily on Africa. She’s traveled to some of the country’s most inaccessible areas, toting her large format camera and a crated mirror along.
Elisabeth spent three months living with a remote pygmy tribe whose members taught her how to survive in the deep jungle. The title of her book is taken directly from her challenge of finding shafts of light that penetrate the forest canopy, usually for a gap of less than seven minutes, and quickly setting up her mirror and equipment, composing and photographing her subjects in 4×5 format in that brief window of time. The use of the mirror elongates the subjects and makes for arresting images. Elisabeth will be showing her work at Gallery 291 in San Francisco May 12 – July 4.
The photo book was a recurring theme that ran through the event. Lauren Henkin, a Portland-based photographer, gave a great lunchtime talk entitled “Turning Toward Books: Shifting the Focus.” In her talk, Lauren told the story of creating two books. “You learn so much about your work when you put it in book format,” said Lauren. “You look at your images in a different way and the possibility for storytelling is expanded.”
Kudos to Laura Moya, the executive director of Photolucida, who did a fantastic job running the event. If you’d like to see the full roster of participating artists check out the Photolucida Participant Index 2011. Hope to see you at Photolucida in 2013.
Thanks, Mark. For more information on where the Blurberati will be next, check out our Events Page.