InSight: Look3 Finale

Today marks the last day of the Look3 photography festival in Charlottesville. The downtown mall, where the galleries and lecture venues were all located, was crawling with cameras. Aspiring and big-name photographers mingled so that the scene had a sense of conglomerate place: cities on top of cities.

Two highlights for me: The LaToya Ruby Frazier series, Notions of Family, at the McGuffey Art Center Gallery and Massimo Vitali, Natural Habitats, at Chroma Projects.

Frazier’s work is fixed on grandmother, mother and artist in the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Her work has a very sharp vision of both family and social documentary in a way often described as “Southern”. There is a good chance her family migrated from the South at some point. It brings up interesting questions regarding the origins of value and perspective. (Can characteristics of a geographic place be transmuted through generations and be present in another geographic place?)

Vitali’s very large scale photographs of resort, vacation, and tourist behavior… a possible commentary on group-think, but with affection… are hypnotizing. They are “chromogenic color print photographs with Diasec face,” meaning the digitally enlarged photos are mounted on acrylic glass, to unique result.

Unfortunately I missed the talk with Nan Goldin and Sally Mann, though I did pass Mann on the mall, feeling a bit like a fanatic for noticing her at all. On view at the Second Street Gallery (through June 25th) is Goldin’s most recent slide show, Scopophilia, which was created for the Louvre and manages a contemporary bohemian aloofness with the most intimate of images.

The festival ends tonight with a midnight party, but the exhibits will be on view a while longer and worth seeing.

(Also notable: Amit Sha’ad (Israel) at the World Press Photo 11 exhibit, where he has photographed archive photos overlapping a backdrop of the present day place.)


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