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Fotofest : Session 1 – Day 3


Over its 30-year history, FotoFest’s Portfolio Review has been a launching pad for the careers of hundreds of photographic artists. Many artists have been discovered by this program and many reviewers have found new talent to exhibit, publish, collect, and represent. In 2016, FotoFest brings 165 international, professional reviewers to meet one-on-one with registered artists. They include museum curators, editors, publishers, gallerists, collectors, and photo agency representatives to review the work of 450 registered artists.

I was honored to be one of the reviewers for the 1st of 4 sessions for FotoFest’s Meeting Place Portfolio Review. This is a daily record of the 15 or so photographers work I viewed. Whether they were looking for practical results for a completed body of work, or feedback on work in progress, the Meeting Place Reviews offered the opportunity to present their portfolio to a wide range of photography professionals who could assist in their future career development.

Rania Matars’ “Unspoken Conversations – Mothers & Daughters” is a work in progress after her great success with her 2016 book, “L’Enfant-Femme” and the 2012, “A Girl and her Room.” Akira Seo originally from Tokyo, received his Masters in Photographic Science from California’s Brooks Institute of Photography. His earlier work is a series on Surfing. Shelley Calton caused a stir with her second book, Concealed, She’s Got A Gun, released last spring 2015. Many awards and featured articles followed. Kris Sanford‘s Through the Lens of Desire “creates implied narratives using snapshots from the 1920s- 1950s. By purposefully selecting images that picture men together and women together I am creating an imaginary queer past.” Vanessa Powell is an “emotional illustrator of the self and of the soulful. Her work cultivates gesture and connection to ones surroundings through moments of realization and self discovery.” James Stoicheff art explores light, shadow, and texture in nature, typically using natural light. His process often includes digitally deconstructing and reconstituting his photographs. Finished pieces can be representational, abstract, or both. Keron Psillas’ series of images created from her unsettling experience of visiting Bergen-Belsen. Her book awarded ‘Best of Show’ at the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2005. “Putting the camera to my eye provided a thin protective layer between what I was seeing and what I was feeling. It allowed me to photograph.” David Haltom is a native of Mississippi and a resident of Texas, previously living in both Scotland and the United Arab Emirates. Talya Arbisse, based in Houston, is a documentary photographer. Her specialties are working with and photographing children with special disabilities with an emphasis on blindness, sports photography. Additionally, her photographs of her aging grandparents she is sole caretaker for, are a must-see. Kirk Crippens & Gretchen LeMaistre series “Live Burls” reminds us about the vulnerability of the thousand year old Redwoods in our National Parks. Molly Block’s focus is on photographing vintage signs. She appreciates each sign’s uniqueness and the craftsmanship involved in making them. “Each sign truly is a work of Art.” Mao Li, “Preserving the Memoirs,“ this group of photographic work has an interesting historical background. “折and 迁” are two ordinary looking Chinese characters, but in the recent decade they have become the most sensitive characters to Chinese. Farah Al Qasimi travels between Dubai, UAE and New Haven, CT, currently pursuing an MFA in Photography at Yale. Vadim Gushchin, born in Novosibirsk, lives and works in Moscow. He graduated at the Moscow Energy Institute in 1986. His very sophisticated photographs were meticulously created.


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