"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

photography in portland

In 1975 a group of photographers pooled their resources to start a small gallery in Portland. It grew to become one of the most important photography exhibition centers in the country. A non-profit space dedicated to educating the public about photography, Blue Sky Gallery, also known as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, began by showing local artists and then slowly expanded to national and international artists. Their special mission continues to be showing artists that no one has ever heard of. As such, Blue Sky has been credited with having the best record of discovering new photographers of any artist space in the country.

I was fortunate to have a one-woman show at Blue Sky in 2001. In 2002 my book "Convergence" was included in their book program. (People are often entitled to receive monographs when they renew their memberships with the gallery.) A couple of years ago, the gallery moved into a brand new, beautiful location. It is truly an impressive space, and it’s not too far from our condo!

Chris, one of the original founders of Blue Sky was kind enough to agree to take a look at my Streetcar Series while I’m in town. It will be interesting to see what he has to say.

By the way, for those of you who don't know: Portland is a mecca for photography and photographers.

The following is from an article in The Oregonian, August, 2008:

“Portland is an open-minded, West Coast, urban paradise that embraces digital-age progressiveness and welcomes all ambitious new arrivals to the City of Roses.

Whether you're an isolated poet pioneer with a camera or in the business of artful persuasion, photographers are drawn to Portland for the same reasons everyone else in town is.

‘It's a really liberal, creative town,’ says Laura Valenti, program director for the Newspace Center.

‘It's all about Portland's approachability,’ Newspace director Chris Bennett says.

Of course, this photographic community is just an appetizer compared to the five-course meals that can be found in New York. Still, right now, Portland has cultivated the broadest and deepest selection of photography galleries, publishers and artists in the history of the city's art scene. Spend a day touring the galleries and you'll notice that many, perhaps most, exhibit photography. And there's something to appeal to every kind of personal taste and critical value -- a print by the compelling and abstract South African Roger Ballen or more viewer-friendly work by dozens of lesser-known talents, many of whom live in this city.”

1 comment:

Sandy said...

When are you moving? I am tempted!