The annual New York Photo Festival took place this past weekend at venues across the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. Now in its fourth incarnation, the 2011 edition of the festival sprawled, incorporating an adventurous program of lectures and the "New York Photo Awards," as well as wide-ranging exhibitions of photo-based art at spaces like powerHouse Arena, St. Ann's Warehouse, and Smack Mellon Gallery. It was a wild and woolly experience, drawing in masses of photo enthusiasts, and putting them in contact with a dizzying breadth of new talent.[content:shareblock]
In the spirit of sorting through it all, ARTINFO highlights five figures we discovered during the weekend, whom we think are worth watching in the future. Check them out![link:view-slideshow]
One centerpiece of the New York Photo Festival was "Photography Now: Engaged, Personal, and Vital," with sections curated by Enrico Bossan and Elisabeth Biondi at the Front Street Storefront. A fascinating highlight of this show came from A Yin, an unknown to me beforehand, though he has been featured on the New York Times's "Lens" blog. His before-and-after diptychs capture the transforming lives of Mongolian families, moving from black-and-white to color, a formal gimmick that mirrors the process by which the traditional fabrics that characterized Mongolian life are replaced with gaudy Nike swooshes of the present. It's a simple device that manages nevertheless to suggest the sweep of history.
Ethan Levitas www.elprojects.com
Also shown in "Photography Now," Levitas's "In Advance of a Broken Arm" features guerrilla-style shots of cops who, apparently, aren't too fond of strangers with cameras. (The title is a riff on the name of a Marcel Duchamp readymade, as well as a reference to the daredevilry involved here.) The images come affixed with captions like "Photograph Of Officer Who Will Soon Stop Me For Questioning Because Of This Photograph," adding up to bright and heady explorations of post-9/11 surveillance and security landscape in New York. (Levitas's other work, featuring everything from geishas to the exteriors of subway cars, is also worth a look as well.)
Katheryn Love www.katherynlove.com
Love's striking 2011 photo, "Summit," was included in the Capricious Gallery-curated exhibition at Smack Mellon, "New York Did It To Me," featuring 33 emerging photographers. It depicts two girls nude in the woods, one of them in the midst of ecstatic mid-urination. Love's personal Web site portfolio features less watersports, though plenty more enigmatic-figures-in-landscapes; her online photo blog is a free-associative ramble that jumps from vaginal birthday cakes to octopus garter belts.
Kate Greene www.kategreenephotography.com
Featured as part of the exhibition at 55 Front Street of recipients of the 2011 Tierney Fellowship, which honors promising photo talent, Greene showcased a series that depicted mysterious domestic interiors, each one pregnant with an undercurrent of danger. Her online portfolio is quite a bit different, but just as interesting — especially "Nature Fictions," elaborate still-life compositions that mix organic and man-made materials, along with the occasional owl or catfish.
Sarah Palmer www.sarahpalmerphotography.com
Palmer's dreamy photograph of a small plane isolated against the background of an orange-red sky of clouds, titled "The N of All Equations" (2009), was included in the already-mentioned "New York Did It To Me" exhibition. The artist's online portfolio suggests that she's a fan of both Anne Collier and Leslie Hewitt, especially with her smartly humorous series "As a Real House," with its photos-of-photos and eye for understated, quirky compositions.