There is much going on in Los Angeles these days. On the heels of the highly successful downtown LA Art Book Fair put on by Printed Matter last weekend, Angelenos are turning their steering wheels to the west side where the amazing Annenberg Space for Photography is celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary with two major events. The first event is PhotovilleLA taking place in and around the Annenberg campus. Created and produced by United Photo Industries, it will run two consecutive long-weekends: April 26-28 & May 2-5, 2019. Needless to say, the Los Angeles photography community is beyond excited! Having had the privilege of serving on the PhotovilleLA Advisory Committee, I have witnessed first hand what a spectacular celebration of photography this will be…and what smart and dedicated people are behind the event.
Photoville is the brainchild of United Photo Industries(UPI), co-founded by Sam Barzilay, Dave Shelley, and Laura Roumanos in Brooklyn, where the Photoville festival has hosted thousands of photographers and photography fans for nine days every fall for the last eight years. Photoville LA will feature groundbreaking photography by more than 200 visual artists, with 55 exhibitions of local and international photographers in repurposed shipping containers, photo cubes, and light boxes transformed into interactive galleries for Angelenos to explore. The festival will include nighttime projections, talks, workshops, family-friendly activities, and Photoville’s famous community beer garden. The distinctive festival provides a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse audience, and creates a veritable cross-section of the world’s photographic community.
Photoville LA’s exhibits will focus on the power of visual storytelling, showcasing images from across California, the country, and around the world. The festival gives photographers and photographic organizations the unparalleled opportunity for thousands of people – from the general public to industry professionals – to discover their work. It will also give Southern Californians a spectacular place to see, listen, and learn about photography. The festival also offers plenty of opportunities to eat and drink in the beautiful backyard of the Annenberg Space for Photography – where visitors will find Photoville LA’s famous community beer garden. Smorgasburg LA, known for its craft and unique style, will bring over 20 local food vendors to Century Park for the very first time on Saturday, April 27, and will feature a limited number of vendors on other days.
Working with more than 60 programming partners, Annenberg Space for Photography Presents Photoville LA will feature groundbreaking work by more than 200 visual artists – including a retrospective of the work of internationally-renowned war photojournalist Lynsey Addario, acclaimed Mexican-American photographer Estevan Oriol’s lowriders, and for the first time in Los Angeles, East Side Stories, by photographer/social commentator Joseph Rodriguez.
Additional exhibits include California Sunday Magazine’s At Home: In the American West; the Los Angeles Times’ Photography Department’s California Calamities; For Freedoms artists David O. Alekhuogie, Muna Malik, Fumi Ishino, and Cassils, Las Fotos Project, Los Angeles Center for Photography, and the premiere of Brian L. Franks’ Forced Displacement Across California. In addition, the festival will offer exhibits featuring The New York Times, United Nations OCHA, Two Bit Circus, and nighttime programs featuring National Geographic, ESPN, the Los Angeles Times, among others. There will also be demonstrations and workshops by Leica Camera and Adobe Creative, plus an education day for hundreds of Los Angeles middle- and high-school students, panel discussions and talks, family-friendly photo activities, and curated tours.
“I’m thrilled to kick off the Annenberg Space for Photography’s 10th anniversary with Photoville LA,” said Annenberg Foundation Chairman, President, and CEO Wallis Annenberg. “When we opened our doors in Century City a decade ago, it was my hope that this would become the premier venue for photography in Los Angeles. And so it has. This is the place where world-class photographers and photography fans alike can gather and share their love for what is my own favorite art form. And now Photoville LA is the perfect expression of our goal: bringing people together to celebrate this art that is for everyone.”
In fact, immersion and interactivity are at the heart of Photoville’s success and popularity, and have made it the largest annual photographic event in New York City and among the most-attended photographic events nationwide. Photoville NY welcomes more than 90,000 visitors over the course of its run each year, providing participating photographers with an unparalleled opportunity to have their work seen. No other museum, gallery, or festival presents work by such a wide range of photographic artists and photojournalists to so many people in so little time – for free.
“United Photo Industries is proud to bring the wondrous photo spirit and the extraordinary partners we have cultivated over the last eight years to the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles,” said Laura Roumanos, co-founder of UPI. “We are excited to celebrate their 10th anniversary, to celebrate the photo community of Los Angeles, and to be able to introduce talented artists from around the globe. This is a unique opportunity for us to discover a whole new group of local photographers, while also making these powerful visual stories from a diverse group of artists and organizations accessible to all Angelenos.”
The second event, opening Friday, April 26th, is a new exhibition, CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop. The exhibition celebrates legendary artists who shaped the Medium and runs through August 18th, 2019. Curated by Vikki Tobak, based on the bestselling book of the same name, and with creative direction by Fab 5 Freddy, the photographic exhibition includes nearly 140 works from 60 photographers. Guests will also see over 75 original and unedited contact sheets—from Barron Claiborne’s iconic Notorious B.I.G. portraits and early images of Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West as they first took to the scene, to Janette Beckman’s defining photos of Salt-N-Pepa, and Jamel Shabazz and Gordon Parks documenting hip-hop culture—CONTACT HIGH allows visitors to look directly through the photographer’s lens and observe all of the pictures taken during these legendary photo shoots.
The exhibit also includes an exclusive new, documentary short film – produced by the Annenberg Foundation and Radical Media – featuring a selection of CONTACT HIGH’s photographers at work and in conversation, including Barron Claiborne, Brian “B+” Cross, Eric Coleman, Estevan Oriol, Jorge Peniche, Jamel Shabazz, Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, Jack McKain, Dana Scruggs, and Danny Clinch.
Rare videos, memorabilia, and music are included to complement the photographs, demonstrating how the documentation of a cultural phenomenon impacts politics, culture, and social movements around the world.
CONTACT HIGH was created in partnership with United Photo Industries.
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