Every other year, my adopted hometown — Houston, Texas — hosts “Fotofest,” one of the biggest photography gatherings in the world. This was my first time to participate. I was part of the Meeting Place portfolio reviews – eight days of meeting photographers, photography gallery owners and museum curators, magazine and blog editors, collectors, and more — carrying a stack of my prints to show and discuss.
This is a crowd where the folks who operate cameras are called “artists” — not merely “photographers.” A crowd where I was asked (repeated) what the “message” was of my work. Uh…. pretty pictures? A typical review of my work: “Jeff, you’ve got some really stunning visual images here; you’ve got a great eye. But so what?” Hmmmm.
It’s hard to know what you’ve learned at an event like this. There’s surely a lot of eye-of-the-beholdering: it was not uncommon for one reviewer to pick a particular image as a prime favorite, then have the very next person identify the exact same image as one I should edit out of my portfolio entirely. Or vice versa.
The experience certainly got me out of my comfort zone, out of my element, and in some sense maybe out of my league. The goals of the contemporary art crowd are very different from mine. I’ve been knee-deep in camera equipment for nearly three years now. So far, my goals have been mostly to make interesting photographs of the very interesting things I’ve been able to go see and take part in so that I can share at least a part of that experience. Fotofest 2014 can now go on my list of interesting experiences.
The images I showed at Fotofest were taken from those at THIS LINK (Click here).
Fotofest rolls back into Houston in 2016. Maybe by then I’ll have a some message. Until then, I hope I can mostly have some fun with all this. Thanks for looking.