“It’s half way between Arles and Perpignan.” Of course that description is meant figuratively not literally, but that is the way Nick Nichols, the photographer who originated the event that became Look3, described the Festival to me Wednesday evening. For twenty years Nick hosted a “hotshots slide show” party where photographers could show their work and spend an evening with friends in his backyard. When 500 people started showing up to camp and spend the weekend it outgrew even his backyard. Luckily for him and those of us who love photography Nick lived on a farm just outside Charlottesville, Virginia. A small college town with a ten block long, wide-open mall lined with book stores, restaurants, and galleries, a beautifully restored 1930 movie theatre/stage, in the middle, and a 3000 seat open-air pavilion at one end it could not have been designed better for a photo festival. It has now become a week long workshop, exhibition, networking, projection viewing, partying extravaganza that draws people from all over the world to Charlottesville in June.
Over the years the Festival has been curated by Nick, David Allan Harvey, Mary Anne Golon, and others. This year the curators are Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography New York Times Magazine, and Scott Thode, Editor of VII Magazine, and the overall theme they have chosen is Home. This theme is to be expanded on by the Insight Artists they have chosen who are Antonin Kratochvil, Massimo Vitali, and Nan Goldin.
Robert McNeely is the former official photographer of Bill Clinton in the White House.