[Wondering where to see the Louisville Photo Biennial? Click here to see the full schedule.]
Think of the photographs on these pages as an enticement. The 21 images, approximately 1/100th of the works on display, are your introduction to this year’s Louisville Photo Biennial, or LPB.
With 53 venues, 60 exhibitions and up to 2,000 photographs by local, national and international photographers — well, that’s a lot to see.
But make sure to see as many as you can in person.
Art is a communication between the artist and the viewer. To really understand the artist’s expression, it needs to be one-on-one. Colors are more brilliant (reproduction sometimes dulls them or changes them altogether), details are revealed and the impact of the “whole” is inescapable. If a particular piece of art doesn’t resonate with you, move on to find one that does.
In addition, there are exhibition openings, panel discussions and artists’ talks.
Technically, the Photo Biennial has already started. While the official dates are Sept. 22-Nov. 11, some of the shows have already begun and others will end after the stated mid-November date.
Because of his expertise in photographic technical skills, I always pay attention to what Biennial cofounder Paul Paletti is showing at his gallery. This year it’s work by his friend Kirk Gittings in “That Much Further West: Three Visions from New Mexico” (with Jan Pietrzak and Philip V. Augustin).
The Paul Paletti Gallery is also featuring “Finding Heaven in a Holler” by Shelby Lee Adams, a photographer well known for his black and white scenes of Appalachian life. Paletti considers it one of the most important shows of the LPB because it’s Adams’ first all-color exhibition.
Other exhibitions I’m looking forward to seeing include Jeffery Parrish’s personal photographs of his friend, singing legend David Crosby, at Copper & Kings.
The group exhibition “Altered Perception” at Metro Hall tackled the question, “When is a photograph not a photograph?” The artists set out to prove you don’t even need a camera. The resulting images are their attempts to solve their own existential question.
Moremen Moloney Contemporary has a knock-out twofer: “African Gold” by Adam Shulman and “Confront” by Vinhay Keo.” The photographs are visually stunning in their strong portrayals of people of color and, in Keo’s case, sexuality.
Another highlight is the new connection made with Cincinnati’s FotoFocus. “There’s a dream there,” said Paletti. “We’re trying to partner together. FotoFocus adds synergy, each to the other. They do even year photo biennials; we do odd years. The more traffic we can get between Cincinnati and Louisville, the better.” An all-day symposium on Saturday, Oct. 7 in Cincinnati is part of the official 2017 LPB calendar.
This year’s Biennial is dedicated to artist Julius Friedman, who died in July. He was already scheduled to show his photography at Unique Imaging Concepts and, as that old saying goes, the show must go on. Friedman was planning to display all new work but didn’t have the chance to do it before succumbing to leukemia. The opening reception for “Botanica” on Thursday, Sept. 21 from 6-9 p.m. is sure to be well-attended in his honor.
There is also another local angle to this year’s LPB. Friedman was one of several photographers using the dye sublimation process on metal plates. These high definition photo panels, branded as ChromaLuxe, are manufactured by Universal Woods, Inc., located in Bluegrass Industrial Park. Paletti has advised the company on the concerns of fine art photographers, and, because of that relationship, Universal Woods is now a sponsor for the LPB.
The Louisville Photo Biennial opening party is at 21c Museum Hotel on Friday, Sept. 22 from 8-11 p.m. The printed brochure is available at the venues, as well as on the website, with additions and changes as needed.
Louisville Photo Biennial
Sept. 22-Nov. 11