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Atlanta Celebrates Photography: 16th edition


For the last 16 years, the Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) festival has shaped the photography community of the city and helped Atlanta earn a reputation as a photography center. This year again, the ACP staff and its army of volunteers have lined up an impressive series of more than 100 events, lectures and exhibitions for the month of October in 92 different venues. We sat down with ACP Executive Director Amy Miller to talk about the 2014 edition.

What are the highlights of this year’s edition?

Amy Miler: Latin America will be the theme for 2014 and the occasion for our third international Special Exhibition program. Through October 19, we will showcase 60 contemporary photographs from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. We have been working with the respective consulates of these countries as well as with Festival of Light [an international consortium of more than 20 photography festivals around the word:] to put this exhibition together. There are a number of festivals in Mexico [Fotoseptiembre], Argentina [Encuentros Abiertos] and Brazil [Fest Foto] that are of very high quality, with exceptional curatorial staff, so we asked those people to help us curate the exhibition. We will also have Graciela Iturbide from Mexico speaking in Atlanta on October 23rd. That happens independently but it will be a great lecture for sure. Our official kick-off event for this year will feature an exhibition of portraits and writing created by inpatient teens at Scottish Rite and Egleston hospitals. It is our only year-round program and always one that is very special to us. And of course, we are presenting The Fence to the Atlanta public. It is such a great piece.

Every year, ACP festival showcases a major public art installation. Is public art important to the festival’s programming?

A.M: We have been doing public art since 2004. It is expensive, so we can typically do only one project every year. It has a lot of moving parts logistically speaking, and all projects are completely different. One year we had photo placemats all around the city and that was a really great project. Another year, we did a video installation inside a water tower in the Old Fourth Ward district. The great thing all across the board is that people are encountering art when they are not expecting it. That is what makes it so powerful. So this is something we have been doing all along and that we will continue to do.

You define the festival with both photography and lens-based media? Why lens-based media?

A.M: Using the term lens-based media helps people not think immediately about black and white, gelatin-silver prints; using a different term helps expand the possibilities (film, videos, mix media and anything like that.) Even when painting involves photography directly, it will fit in. The direction of the festival has changed some [since its inception]. Sixteen years ago, it was very fine-art oriented, and it  still is, but we have been embracing other areas of photography, like photojournalism. This year, we have the head of assignments for the Reportage division of Getty Images coming to the festival and talking about what they do. We try also to have commercial photography represented, and Dan Winters is coming this year to discuss his work.

There is a constant discussion among our board members [about what to include.] GoPro is always in the conversation, lens-media… we want to embrace it all. We started looking at the festival for next year with themed weeks, community engagements with photography, art appreciation and programs shaped around collecting, galleries tours; and of course, innovation and technology.

Atlanta Celebrates Photography
Through November 1st 2014
Instagram: @atlantacelebratesphotography

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