Home Interior Design Photoville returns to New York with over 80 exhibits, many of which are displayed in the event’s iconic shipping containers

Photoville returns to New York with over 80 exhibits, many of which are displayed in the event’s iconic shipping containers

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phototownNew York’s annual outdoor photography exhibition, returns to the city for its 12e straight edition this weekend. On view until June 18, the free event offers more than 80 exhibitions in the five boroughs. The works of hundreds of photographers, some of the next generation, other award-winning artists and professionals will be exhibited.

More than 50 of the exhibits will take place inside a series of shipping containers – the kind you see stacked like Legos on cargo ships – which will be set up in Brooklyn Bridge Park for the first time since the 2019 edition. of the event. (COVID precautions prevented them from being used for the previous three years.) It seems fair to get them back; the steel structures became a symbol of the rambling event and its goals.

Which doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Many are cramped and reverberating; some are dark and dilapidated from years of use. In other words, they look nothing like the sterile white cubes in which we are used to seeing art photography.

This is a good thing. For Photoville organizers, accessibility, not institutional polish, has always been the goal. They want to bring as many photos to the public as possible, and shipping containers – weather-ready, open 24/7 – offer a simple solution.

“It’s about stories,” said Laura Roumanos, one of Photoville’s three co-founders, ahead of this year’s event. “We could spend all this money on white walls and nice multi-million dollar fixtures or whatever. But that doesn’t matter.

“It’s about photography,” she continued. “It’s about the story. This is what is important.

Roumanos, a seasoned event producer, said she had tears in her eyes when the first storage containers were laid in 2012, for the first edition of Photoville. “It meant so much to us,” she recalls. “We fought so hard to make people realize that this was a really great place to show the work.”

At the time, the show was modest. Roumanos and fellow founders – Sam Barzilay and Dave Shelley – had, somewhat miraculously, lent themselves 80,000 square feet in Brooklyn Bridge Park for their fledgling event, but the rest needed work. So they launched a Kickstarter campaign and secured corporate sponsorships to raise the roughly $250,000 needed to start the festival. It opened with around 20 shows in a handful of containers.

But over the next 12 years, Photoville has grown steadily: more artists, more exhibitions, more containers, more visitors. More boroughs, too: In 2020, the Brooklyn-centric show flew to the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. (The previous year, Photoville organizers held an edition of the event in Los Angeles, but the pandemic halted the expansion almost as soon as it began.)

A photo of storage containers at Photoville 2018. Photo: Jessica Bal. Courtesy of Photoville.

This month’s show represents how far Photoville has come. On display are a record number of exhibitions featuring the work of a record number of artists. The budget for the event exceeds $500,000 and the number of visitors is expected to exceed last year’s record of 1 million.

Basically, the organizers didn’t cut moral corners in the name of growth. Photoville remunerates its collaborators (there are no volunteers) and pays fees to the exhibiting artists. This year, it will finance “65 to 70%” of the shows, according to Roumanos. The rest will be covered by sponsors – a group that includes the New York Timesthe Bronx Documentary Center and Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others.

Stephanie Mei-Ling, Portrait of Ronisha and her sons entwined,, from his “Overpolicing Parents” series. Courtesy of the artist.

Inclusiveness remains a top programming priority, even if the topic may alienate some. Many of the projects presented this year tackle big topics: gun control, gender identity, sex work, the environmental crisis.

A series of photographs by artist Stephanie Mei-Ling documents the impact of child protective services investigations on families, while a artwork by Mackenzie Calle explores the historic exclusion of gay astronauts from the US space program. by Jen White-Johnsonautistic joyaims to give visibility to children of color in neurodiverse communities. “Guns, Love, Children, America” by Mel D. Cole depicts children at an NRA convention wielding guns as toys.

“We don’t just show beautiful sculptures or paintings,” Roumanos said. “These are conversations.”

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