Review Santa Fe, part two: Photographers

I apologize in advance--this post will be a bit like watching an acceptance speech. A lot of mushiness and thank-yous, along with a list of names that go on and on. With that said let's get to it:

My last post talked about the reviewers, and now I'd like to give a nod to the photographers, who were truly amazing. I spent a good amount of time with a handful of people, and then it spread out from there to everything from a single lunch with some, to passing conversations with others, to simply shaking hands. I would have to say that almost every person I met was intelligent, pleasant, and refreshingly un self-centered. Because of this I found that the conversations were really about photography and conceptual issues; it might then turn to families or schools attended and such, but rarely were talks primarily about where one had shown or self-promotion. It certainly came up in conversation, but it wasn't the focus, and this made the discussions very intellectual. In addition, a lot of time was spent on looking at other photographer's work, as well as showing my portfolio. I got feedback that was as helpful from the people in attendance as the advice I got from the reviewers in some cases. I was struck repeatedly by how thoughtful people were when considering images, and how supportive. I felt the same way--it was extremely exciting to see so many prints in person, in many cases from people whose series I had admired online but had never viewed in the flesh. Without the other 50 or so people I had interactions with, it wouldn't have been such a seminal experience.

I have to say too, I think part of my giddiness was in having more freedom than I ordinarily do. As you know I love my kids more than anything, and was thrilled to get home and see them, but there was something freeing about having this designated time to really use my brain in a way that I don't in my ordinary life socially. I'm used to having these sorts of intellectual talks with James and a few choice friends, but to be immersed in a continuous discussion was downright invigorating. I probably averaged a maximum of five hours of sleep a night (staying up until 4am on Saturday, and not feeling particularly tired when I went to bed). Of course now I'm exhausted, but I'm glad I used every minute I had while I was there to squeeze all I could out of each moment.

The best piece of advice I received before I left came from Colleen Plumb, who attended last year--she told me never to go to my room, to hang around as much as possible, and talk to the other artists. I took this to heart and it meant that I was able to meet some great people who are as passionate about their creativity as I am.

I'd also like to particularly thank reviewer David Bram for welcoming me as soon as I arrived, for showing me the town and giving me rides, for sharing drinks and meals, and generally being one of the all-around nicest guys during my stay. I appreciated how he made an effort to spend time with the artists, and I'd also like to single out Kevin Miller again, who I had the pleasure of spending time with outside of my review, as well as Andy Adams, Jon Feinstein and Whitney Johnson. (Other reviewers will be mentioned when I post about the open portfolio night.)

Finally, the following artists really helped make my time in Santa Fe unforgettable, thanks. In no particular order:

Kevin Miyazaki, Mark Menjivar, Deborah Hamon, Graham Miller, Sonja Thomsen, Curtis Wehrfritz, Jesse Burke, Amy Eckert, Polly Gaillard, John Mann, Susan Worsham, Jonathan Blaustein, Rick Ashley, Dave Jordano, Kurt Tong, Brad Moore, Ian van Coller, Kerry Mansfield, Shayok Mukhopadhyay, Jeff Hutchens, Scott Dalton, Melissa Kaseman, Ferit Kuyas, Brian Buckley, Cori Chandler-Pepelnjak, Margaret Wright, Leslie Alsheimer, Kelly Neal, Kaycie Roberts, Ari Salomon, Meggan Gould, Aline Smithson, Georg Kuettinger, Angela Bacon-Kidwell, Brad Wilson, Claire Beckett, Lori Waselchuck, Sarah Faust, Damion Berger, Sophie Jacobson, Janelle Lynch, Billie Mandle, Latoya Ruby Frazier, Yoichi Nagata, Rebecca Martinez and John Charbonneau; and fantastic volunteer (and talented photographer) Lane Collins.

In the coming weeks I'll be posting work from individual photographers whose work I admire, along with some of my thoughts. Stay tuned.

I may not post for a couple of days as I'm feeling a bit funky--whether it's a cold, exhaustion, or Swine Flu only time will tell...


colleen plumb said…
Sounds like it went great! Glad I could share my experience--my good friend Jon Gitelson was the one who gave ME that advice--he went to RSF the year before I did. Pass it on. . . 'no hiding in your room.'
It is a rare experience to meet so many awesome photographers!
Colleen-just wanted to say yes, it was great! We'll just have to keep passing the advice along to future RSF participants. It truly was a rare and wonderful experience.

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