NEW YORK.- Following up on its successful debut in May 2008, the New York Photo Festival is pleased to announce the exhibition dates for 2009 and its Festival Curators.
The inaugural event in May 2008 was a surprise hit, and it delivered on the promise of presenting the “future of contemporary photography” through the efforts of world-class curators and the selected artists. The NYPH’08 Festival Curators—Kathy Ryan, Martin Parr, Lesley A. Martin, and Tim Barber—created four stunning exhibitions focusing on the ubiquity of images in digital and daily life, sculptural tendencies in contemporary photography, ground-breaking paths in formal photographic documentation and representation, and a formal yet whimsical approach to the democratic presentation of artistic representation. The New York Photo Festival’s debut run in 2008 answered critics’ lament that the world’s capital of photography could never compile a festival of its own. It also affirmatively resolved the quandary of whether contemporary photography could ever stand on its own, apart and distinct from its historical antecedents of greatest hits and exotic depiction.
As part of its commitment to pushing the boundaries of contemporary photography, festival organizers and co-founders Daniel Power and Frank Evers have selected the following curators for NYPH’09: William A. Ewing, Chris Boot, Jody Quon, and Jon Levy.
These world-renowned curators all bring their personal visions of the most provocative and intriguing developments in contemporary photography to the main pavilions of the 2009 edition of The New York Photo Festival. “The NYPH’09 Festival Curators were selected for their decisive and innovative approaches to curating, editing, sequencing, and showcasing the varied work of the medium in ways that continually surprise and inspire those of us in the photography industry and the creative cultural public at large,” say Power and Evers.
William A. Ewing is the director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland. Ewing has curated exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Hayward Gallery, London; the International Center of Photography, New York; Culturgest, Lisbon; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; and many other institutions. His most recent publications through the Musée de l’Elysée include: Ray K. Metzker: Light Lines (2008); Worldview: Leonard Freed (2007); Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography (2007); and Edward Steichen: In High Fashion: The Condé Nast Years, 1923–1937 (2008). Ewing founded Optica Center for Contemporary Art in Montreal in 1972. He was Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York, between 1977 and 1984.
His exhibition All over the place! features the work of historical figures Ernst Haas, Jacob Holdt, Edward Steichen, and contemporary photographers Manolis Baboussis, Matthieu Gafsou, Oliver Godow, Tiina Itkonen, Anna Lehmann-Brauns, Juraj Lipscher, Virginie Otth, Philipp Schaerer, Joni Sternbach, Robert Walker, and Patrick Weidmann. What could possibly unite Edward Steichen’s seminal, if controversial exhibition, The Family of Man, with Jacob Holdt’s unblinking, unsparing view of American life a decade or two later? What are the lessons to be learned from unearthing early Ernst Haas color imagery? What do Haas, Holdt, and Steichen have to do with younger talents on our roster?
The more experience William A. Ewing accumulates as a curator, the more he is astonished to see the narrowness of our shared focus. So much fine work slips through our fingers; so much of the past remains unexplored; so much of what is banal today absorbs our attention. Yet here and there discoveries are made, surprising work from the past is uncovered, new visions emerge, simplistic ideas overturned. All over the place! has, therefore, two meanings: it aims to celebrate photography’s unruly nature, its rich diversity, and its refusal to fit into neat categories; it is also intended to remind people of the fact that fabulous work can come out of the Arctic as easily as it can come out of metropolitan chaos. Furthermore, the title applies to the dimension of time; “new discoveries” aren’t always of contemporary work.
Chris Boot is an editor and photobook publisher based in London, whose titles include two ICP Infinity Award winners – Lodz Ghetto Album (2004) and Things as They Are: Photojournalism in Context Since 1955 (2005). He has worked in photography for 25 years, including as Director of Magnum Photos in London and New York, and Editorial Director at Phaidon Press. He started publishing books independently in 2003, and his most recent titles include The World from My Front Porch by Larry Towell, Parrworld by Martin Parr and Beaufort West by Mikhael Subotzky. He is also the author of Magnum Stories (Phaidon, 2004).
In his exhibition and a series of related panel discussions, Boot explores the theme Gay Men Play — the contemporary photographic representation of gay sex and gay recreational sexual identities. In an article to be published in the forthcoming summer 2009 issue of Aperture magazine, Boot argues, “The use of photography by gay men early in the 20th century is among the most interesting aspects of the phenomenon of photography now,” and his exhibition mixes the work of established photographers and artists with that of non-professional photographers. The main exhibition feature is a series of portraits by Stefan Ruiz of gay men geared up for play, shot during gay party weekends, in a mobile studio on the streets of San Francisco and Berlin. The exhibition also features an installation of photographs collected from gay networking websites by Christopher Clary, with projects by another 10 photographers shown on digital screens.
Jody Quon is Photography Director at New York magazine. Prior to that she was Deputy Photo Editor at The New York Times Magazine.
In her exhibition I am not sure I know what kind of girl I am, Jody Quon has assembled a gallery of portraits that expose, depict, and assemble the essence, features, and virtues of women as subjects. The show will feature the work of Edith Maybin, Valérie Belin, Rene & Radka, Grant Worth, Mondongo, Hank Willis Thomas, Katy Grannan, Sam Samore, Carlos Ranc, and David Sherry.
Jon Levy is the Director of Foto8, the London-based photography publishing company responsible for 8 Magazine and Foto8.com. The founder of HOST Gallery, Levy has forged alliances with photographers and editors and engaged an ever-growing audience for photojournalism. The work of Foto8 online, in print, and on display, has brought about its own forum of discussion that explores the realms of photography that exist at the intersection of art and journalism. 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of Foto8.
Home For Good, the exhibition curated by Jon Levy and Foto8, celebrates photography’s ability to communicate, describe, and explain, while also remaining open to interpretation. The show features the work of Lorraine Gruppe, Tim Hetherington, Simon Roberts, Chris Killip, Venetia Dearden, Seba Kurtis, Louie Palu, and David Gray. The basic premise for Home For Good is, as the title suggests, home, the place we receive and experience much of our everyday photography. Newspapers, magazines, slideshows, and scrapbooks; these are the points of reference for the works we have chosen to exhibit. The title Home For Good also suggests its inverse, the world outside—presented here as work concerning international conflict. The exhibition explores the ways that photographs have been, and continue to be, used to connect people with issues, emotions, and events. The photographers chosen to represent this theme and the formats they have employed—from keepsakes in a family photo album to a modern, multimedia short film—embody the wide range of tools and ideas photography uses in its dual purpose of communicating public fact and personal feeling.