Last night I attended the launch of FlashFest, Winnipeg's First Photographic Festival at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. As the very first event of its kind in this city, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was however very happy to see a ‘full house’ of very enthusiastic photographers! Leif Norman, the organizer of this festival, along with a handful of volunteers, deserves our praise for making this happen!
I found it particularly interesting that the vast majority of people who attended last night’s launch were very young. It is true that I have been creating images for 39 years now, albeit only for the last 20 years as a full-time professional. There were few ‘veteran’ photographers to be seen. Most of the photographers I know were noticeably absent. It was however a pleasure to chat with new folks. But it makes me wonder a little about how much enthusiasm remains with the veteran photographers, the camera club members, etc.
As photographers, we often work in isolation so we don’t often have opportunities to meet our colleagues, especially when there is no center for photographers to meet. I miss the Pixels 2.1 Photography Gallery as it fulfilled that community role so well. It’s too bad it could only go on for a couple of years. This town is ready for a permanent photography center. Seeing a roomful of such energetic and interested photographers last night gives me hope that perhaps it could happen here one day.
So Winnipeg's First Photographic Festival has officially begun. For the entire month of October, Winnipeg photographers will be displaying their work in various venues across the city, demonstrating interesting techniques and nearly forgotten processes, and talking about their work. Personally I will try and see as many of the exhibits and presentations as I can. Tomorrow evening (First Friday) starting at 7:30 PM at Aspire Studios (289 King Street), it will be my turn to chat about photography. Leif will interview me about my work and other things. My exhibition of color prints entitled ‘Prairie and Beyond’ will also be on display. Admission is FREE so … ‘come on down’ !