Long Form Exposure: PhotoNOLA

Photo courtesy of PhotoNola on Facebook

In December, New Orleans celebrates its vibrant community of photographers and welcomes artists from around the world to PhotoNOLA, a series of gallery openings, lectures, and workshops held annually between the first and second weekends of December (Dec 7-10 this year).

Events provide photographers invaluable opportunities to acquire new skills, experience new art, and meet others artists. For the general public, gallery openings, largely coinciding with the second Saturday arts walk on St Claude Ave, spotlight the city’s best artists as well as larger trends in the art world.

PhotoNOLA grew from brainstorming sessions Don Marshall (of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation) held to work on economic recovery post-Hurricane Katrina. Those sessions led to the development of the New Orleans Photo Alliance, which serves photographers living in the Gulf Coast, and presents PhotoNOLA each year to highlight photographic arts and continue to spur economic recovery in the city.

Events begin Thursday (Dec 7), and include a 6-10pm opening gala at the New Orleans Museum of Art where contemporary artist and photographer Xaviera Simmons will give the keynote address for the week.

Workshops for photographers kick off on Friday (Dec 8), including a two day workshop with Ashley Gilbertson at the International House. The day culminates when participants in the PhotoNOLA Portfolio Review display their work for an evening portfolio walk at the Ogden Museum of Art’s Patrick F. Taylor Library. This event is free and open to the public and lasts from 7-9pm.

PhotoNOLA culminates Saturday (Dec 9) night, when galleries and alternative venues across the city will host dozens of photographers. This is a night where it is impossible to see everything, but fun to try. Determined souls might start in the CBD and explore around Julia Street, then make a few stops in the Quarter on Royal before finally heading to the St. Claude corridor, but even that route misses some outlying venues.

On Sunday, December 10th, events are all free and open to the public, and include a screening of the film My Louisiana Love by Monique Verdin at 12:30 p.m. at The Historic New Orleans Collection, and a presentation by photographer Priya Kambli at the Old U.S. Mint at 10 a.m.  A full listing of PhotoNOLA events can be found here.