Search for content, post, videos

Look3, Charlottesville Virginia


On Friday two photographers, Chris Anderson and Ashley Gilbertson, who have seen the worst of human kind’s ability inflict pain and suffering on their fellow inhabitants of this small planet presented a very moving and emotional presentation at the Paramount Theatre. The work that both of them brought to Look3 was not pictures of war, famine, or displacement, but of the affect on them, their families and in Ashley’s case on the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chris Anderson’s show, entitled Son, referring both to his young son and his role as a son to an ill father, was in a small gallery just off the pedestrian mall. In his talk he showed pictures from his career and was very eloquent when describing a moment on a sinking Haitian refugee boat on the open ocean, when the Haitian man who his story was built around pointed out that he had better begin taking pictures since they were all going to drown very shortly. At that moment when it seemed that any pictures he took would be lost with him he knew he wanted to photograph no matter what. And then he helpfully pointed out that before they sank the Coast Guard showed up and rescued them so he could be with us to tell the story.

In Ashley Gilbertson’s case the story is more complex. His work in Iraq was widely published and won many awards, but his caring and compassion for the soldiers that served there and that he photographed there, both the living and the dead, motivate him more. His present project, of which he brought some images to Look3, is “Bedrooms of the Fallen”. These are photos of the bedrooms in the homes of soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In most cases, other than cleaning, the rooms have not been touched since the soldier left home. The pictures were printed approximately six feet by ten feet and hung outside by the Pavilion. In his talk he spoke of his experiences in Iraq and of the problems facing returning men and women soldiers from there and Afghanistan. In his talk, his anger over the lack of proper mental health care to treat PTSD and other related stress disorders boiled over several times, and he made an impassioned plea to the audience to contact anyone, Congressman, Senator, or whomever, to try to correct this unforgiveable situation. By the time he finished it was not hard to see that Ashley himself was suffering from the affect of his extended time photographing combat.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Although I skipped the beer for breakfast Johnny Cash knows about Sunday mornings after a long weekend. In this case a weekend that started last Wednesday evening viewing a wonderful body of work by George Steinmetz that he has shot around the world, primarily for National Geographic.

Then Thursday morning I spent a delightful hour sitting in on David Allen Harvey’s lighting workshop “High mind/Low light”. Thursday afternoon was the opening of the World Press exhibit and the head of the judging of this years contest, David Burnett was there to welcome everyone to the exhibit. In the same building with World Press was an exhibit by LaToya Ruby Frazier, “Notion of Family”. Frazier also did a wonderful talk in the Paramount on Saturday on the history of her family and how her work comes from her family and its life in Braddock, Pennsylvania.

On Friday morning there was a show by the Prime Collective accompanied by a free pancake breakfast at Random Row Bookstore. The combination was irresistible to a large number of the Festival attendees. Also Friday, Mary Ellen Mark and her husband, film-maker Martin Bell presented their film “Prom”. It is a very entertaining and educational look at teenagers and their lives. Friday evening was the first evening of projections at the Pavilion and work from 25 photographers was shown. Two that stayed with me were Kendall Messick’s 6 year project of documenting his next door neighbor’s life-long project of building a movie theatre in his tiny basement, and Jessica Hilltout’s “Photographs that shine a light on the love of soccer in Africa far removed from the glitz of last summer’s World Cup”.

Saturday was time for another breakfast, this time sponsored by the medical technology company BD, who along with Canon and National Geographic are the major sponsors of the festival. Their event was in the gallery that was showing “Hope for a Healthy World”, an exhibit of work they have sponsored. The breakfast was followed by a discussion of how photographers can further issues of a healthy world lead by Mary Ann Golon.

At the Paramount on Saturday Tony Bannon, Director of Eastman House, skillfully lead Steve McCurry through the story of shooting the last roll of Kodachrome.

To wrap it all up Saturday evening was another projection in the Pavilion. There were many interesting projects represented but Yuri Kozyrev’s work on “The Arab Spring” and Damon Winter’s pictures of Haiti after the earthquake were particularly strong. After all this there was nothing left to do but to go for a glass of wine and look forward to next year when David Griffin and Vince Musi, who does an amazing job of keeping the major programs running and introducing the photographers, will be the Curators.

Robert McNeely

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android