The 2017 Click! Photography Festival has come and gone. October certainly was the "Month of Photography" in North Carolina. Our governor, Roy Cooper, even issued an official proclamation declaring it so! This year was our most ambitious yet and featured a number of new initiatives. We couldn't have made it all such a success without our wonderful partners, sponsors and festival-goers. Here are some highlights and what some folks are saying about our small, but mighty festival.
2017 saw the creation of Click! 120, five days (120 hours) of core programming that featured Keynote Lectures, Portfolio Reviews, 3 days of art bus tours, The Seminars, Workshops, Artist Talks that made up the Click! Academy, the introduction of our new PIC Grant, multiple Exhibitions and much more.
At the core of 120 was the Portfolio reviews, once again featuring a stellar list of reviewers and artists. We were delighted to work with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University to host the Portfolio Walk, which preceded the keynote by Anne Wilkes Tucker. And we are eternally grateful to Tim Walters, who was all over the festival, for bailing us out of some foul weather conditions, by offering up The Pinhook for our 120 wrap party... I think we found our spot for the future.
Education is key to the mission of 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. Our rock star, Louie Palu, 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 gave a presentation from his new DAM Book at the Arts Institute of Raleigh/Durham. Later in the month, Cassilhaus hosted an amazing workshop by Sean Kernan.
Everyone at Click! felt very blessed with the stellar lineup and timing of the 2017 Keynotes. Louie Palu launched the keynotes with his incredible talk at the William and Ida Friday Center at the University of North Carolina, where he introduced us to 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 declared may be her last public talk. Taking us through the journey of her career and leaving us with the lasting message of the importance of mentorship is a gift we will treasure. Later in October we concluded with our final keynote by the art world darling, Matthew Brandt, who shared with us his wildly creative and experimental processes on the stage at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Click! 120 art Bus tours
We at Click! were thrilled with the popularity of our brand new Art Bus tours. Dubbed the "Daguerrotype" and the "Fox Talbot" and piloted by Ms. Tasha and her crew, we toured 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 even 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: The first ever show at the new 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. We really could go on and on, but we are pleased and proud of the work that we and our partners brought to this years festival.
Talks and Screenings
Do you like to talk about photography? I know we do. 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. Artists and curator and authors abounded. 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 gave a talk about 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, gave a talk on 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 20x24 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. Check it out here: Is Southern Art really a thing?
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 20x24" 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.
We could not have pulled off this festival without the hard work and dedication of the core team, our outstanding volunteers, the enthusiasm of our partners and the support of our sponsors. Monumental thanks to one and all. Let's meet again in 2018. - Bryce Lankard, Executive Director.