2017 Festival Recap
2017 ROCKED! Our governor, Roy Cooper, issued a proclamation declaring October as the “Month of Photography” in North Carolina so IT IS OFFICIAL! It was yet another ambitious year with new initiatives, some now familiar friends and faces, and a palpable momentum to move us into Click! 2018.
We are possible only because of our wonderful partners, sponsors and festival-goers. Here are some highlights and what folks are saying about our young, but mighty festival.
2017 launched the very first Click! 120, our “festival within a festival.” With 5 days (120 hours) of core programming featuring the super hot keynotes, portfolio review, crazy fun art bus tour, our new $2500 PIC grant, groundbreaking exhibitions, and all things Click! Academy…we were firing up photography with a countdown clock.
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University hosted our portfolio walk with a new elegance and honor for the review participants. This event preceded the keynote of the legendary curator, Anne Wilkes Tucker.
Tim Walter, a forever friend to the festival, drove it home with the best dance party EVER at the Pinhook 120 wrap party. There were dance injuries. We do not hold Tim or Prince accountable, only in high esteem.
“Wonderful things are happening in photography down south in the Carolinas. I recently flew to Durham, North Carolina to attend Click! Photography Festival and review portfolios. The festival is ten years old and has hit its stride in the last couple of years, attracting reviewers from some of the best galleries, publications, and museums in the country.”
Don’t Take Pictures
Education is key to our mission for the Click! festival. We were pleased to offer several programs during Click! 120 including two days of seminars by the incomparable Mary Virginia Swanson, which included breakout sessions for students from our university partners, the Duke MFA/EDA program and the UNC-G and ECU art departments. Rock star, Louie Palu, not only exhibited but also held a three day workshop at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and gave talks and reviews at the UNC School of Media and Journalism. Peter Krogh, author of The DAM Book presented at the Arts Institute of Raleigh/Durham. Sean Kernan worked his workshop magic at the ever magical Cassilhaus.
Louie Palu fired up our keynote lineup at the William and Ida Friday Center at the University of North Carolina, where he introduced his new book, “Front Towards Enemy”, which literally arrived that day hot off the press. The Nasher Museum of Duke University graciously hosted the legendary Ann Wilkes Tucker in what she says may be her last public talk. We had the privelege of her taking us through a remarkable, life and career and then leaving us with the lasting message of the importance of mentorship. Our final keynote of the month was the art world darling, Matthew Brandt, who shared his wildly creative and experimental processes on the stage at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Art Bus Tours
ART BUS TOURS! Affectionally known as the “Daguerrotype” and the “Fox Talbot”…piloted by Ms. Tasha and her crew (all love), covered the corners of the triangle over three successive days. Led by our intern extraordinaire, Christopher Wayne, the programming included trivia contests and cool swag, impromptu artist/curator talks and an in-bus pop up show of polaroids. Throughout Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, we were pleased to bring our audience to our exhibiting partners, which included several first time venues like: Watts Gallery, the Cameron Gallery at the Scrap Exchange, the Forest Theater, The Friday Center, and our killer Raleigh partner, Anchorlight.
The 2017 Click! Festival featured over 35 exhibitions. Photography blanketed the triangle and extended all the way to Greensboro. There were simply too many highlights to name them all, but several deserve special mention. We are extremely grateful for the hard work of the Durham Public Arts Council and Chris Ogden that brought the FENCE to Durham. The largest outdoor exhibition of photography featured an entire section of local artists and three of the artists on the national section were in attendance during the festival: Aline Smithson, RJ Kern, and our own Lori Vrba. We couldn’t be more pleased to work with a new partner, UNC’s Arts Everywhere program and the ever-resourceful, Rachel Ash to mount the exhibition of Louie Palu’s “Garmsir Marines” in Battle Forest around the Forest Theater on UNC’s campus. Area luminary, Alex Harris, had two exhibitions, including a retrospective at Craven Allen gallery. Raleigh hosted a number of great shows, including the “Sleight of Hand” show at VAE, “Instantaneous: The Polaroid Legacy” and the results of the PIC grant tintype work by Leah Sobsey and Tim Telkamp, both at a brand new venue and partner, Anchorlight. Cassilhaus worked with guest curator, Courtney Reid-Eaton, to create “En/Gender, which featured our cover artist, Gabriel Garcia Roman. First time partner, the Greensboro Project Space, hosted the traveling exhibition, “Intrusions of Grace”, by artists Anne Berry and Lori Vrba. And finally, Click! presented our juried exhibition, “Resist”, at the brand new Watts Gallery.
Talks & Screenings
The festival launched with two great talks: Louie Palu spoke about the “Garmsir Marines” show at the opening at the Forest Theater and we launched our new Collector’s Series with the incomparable Del Zogg at CAM Museum in Raleigh. Brandon Thibodeaux, Gabriel Garcia Roman, Alex Harris, Jody Servon, Marietta Pathy Allen, Ben Alper all gave artist’s talks. The Fence held a Pecha Kucha style talk of local artists. The UNC Art Department brought in South African artist Uche Okpa-Iroha to join the faculty for a talk on their “Developing Landscapes” exhibit . Julie J. Thomson shared her new book, Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College at The Regulator book store. The Vintage Image Gallery had discussions among co-curators, Jim and Jane Finch, Delouis Wilson and Dennis O. Williams about their remarkable exhibition, “PICTURING AFRICAN AMERICANS: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF VERNACULAR PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS”. NCMA curator, Jennifer Dasal, discussed Weegee and John Reuter gave a presentation on the Giant Polaroid, both at Anchorlight. Click! screened short films by Louie Palu on Kandahar and the Ukraine at the Varsity Theater in Chapel Hill and “The B Side”, a documentary on the legendary 20×24 Polaroid artist, Elsa Dorfmann, at Anchorlight. The Greensboro Project Space hosted a panel discussion own the theme “Is Southern Art really a thing?”
We wish we had recorded every single one of these talks. We are happy that Greensboro Project Space taped their panel discussion.
Mythical Beast Lounge & Closing Weekend
We ended the 2017 Click! Festival with a bang this year. Our own Ray Pfeiffer pulled off the impossible by bringing the Mythical Beast, the giant 20×24” Polaroid camera here for three days. The weekend at Anchorlight was a truly unique experience. Great images were made with the Beast, while Leah and Tim made tintypes on the grounds, the space was abuzz with casual discussions about Polaroids, and both the “Instantaneous” and PIC grant work was on display. The weekend ended with a wonderful party, with the added bonus of a performance by Mama Do a Tone. The caretaker of the Giant Polaroid, John Reuter made a beautiful movie about the camera’s visit to the triangle. I recommend taking a peek inside this amazing moment.