Pandemic Photoville



By Kayla Beltran

Photoville is a place where New Yorkers come together in Dumbo, Brooklyn, to share their love for photography. Photoville is a non-profit organization that, according to its website, “works to promote a wider understanding and increased access to the art of photography for all.”

It was founded by United Photo Industries in 2011 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is directly under the bridge. Each individual exhibition had its very own metal storage container where artists could set up their work however they wanted. The photos that were being presented in this festival came from individual artists, non-profit organizations, schools, and even news organizations.

This year, due to the pandemic, Photoville was a bit different. Instead of having people come to one spot to enjoy these exhibitions, they brought the exhibitions to the people throughout all five boroughs. The exhibitions throughout New York officially opened Thursday September 17 and represented many stories both before and during the pandemic.

Instead of placing the images in metal storage containers, Photoville volunteers helped place them on fences in parks and neighborhoods or the panels that were put together on site. Some of the stories that were represented include Salvador Espinoza’s project “Q100” located in Queens, which covers the story of the people who ride the Q100 bus to Rikers Island.  Sofie Vasquez’s “Bronx Wrestling,” located in Soundview Park in the Bronx, covers wrestling in the South Bronx. There is also Elias Williams’s project “Pandemic Class of 2020,” located in Times Square, with portraits of people who graduated this year.

The majority of these projects are placed in the general area in which they were taken and created A map of the site locations is provided on the Photoville website.  In a way, trying to find all these exhibitions is like a scavenger hunt and gives people something to do while still socially distancing. Many of these projects will stay on view until the new year comes.

For those who did not want to leave their homes, many of the artists whose work was up had Zoom photo conferences with the help of Photoville. These artists presented their work, talked about the pieces, and answered  questions from the audience. Photoville really tried to move all the events it would normally have in person to the online world, and it did a good job. There were Professional Development Workshops abd free photo review meetings, where professional photographers from different organizations would look at people’s work and provide them with feedback.



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