A Roaming Review of Filter Photo Festival 2021
Filter Photo Festival 2021 resumed with in-person reviews in Chicago in the gloriously art-filled 21C Museum Hotel. The pace was less hurried and the scale a bit smaller than past years, creating more time for extended conversations. It was a pleasure to once again see passionate photographers and prints in person. Thought-provoking festival programming included talks by keynote Ken Gonzales Day, Guanyu Xu and Oli Rodriguez as well as informative panels and can be viewed on Filter Photo Festival’s vimeo page.
I have always appreciated the side-conversations which are as valuable as the reviews themselves. As a roaming reviewer (in my Lenscratch t-shirt), I was enriched by the random gatherings and sharing that took place—a reminder of the generosity of the photo community and all that Zoom-life cannot replicate. Woven into much of the work I saw were themes the pandemic brought us to consider — home, our environment, a raw fragility. A small sampling from my day in the festival lounge follows:
Jessica Hays’ The Sun Sets Midafternoon make the climate emergency visible and visceral. Her photographs of tinged landscapes and ashen forests are seared with the emotional and existential toll of the aftermath of wildfires.
Mark Lipczynski sees trains as conduit. In his series Time Machine, he captures speed and movement in images that pierce memory and landscapes.
To commit to memory, Lois Bielefeld‘s deeply observed study of her parents in their home, records routine and ritual as a path to knowing.
Stephan Jahanshahi’s Domestic Interior documents a year of injury and loss in a catalog of emotional remains.
In Marilyn Canning’s Preserved, but Not Protected, ethereally rendered insects seem to perform for us, choreographed to entertain our human desire for collecting and examining.
Forest Kelley’s Michael weaves events, memories, and speculative history to imagine the life of his deceased uncle, a gay artist whose world was clouded and complicated by time and place.
Dysmophia, Rachel Britton’s hotly colored body distortions reflect the mind in turmoil driven by dysmorphic experiences in a carnival of pain and pleasure.
Colleen Woolpert’s stereoscopic Virus Romance chronicles a rapturous Victorian courtship during the pandemic through the brief life of the intoxicating poppy.
The photograms and abstractions in Phillip V. Augustin’s Convergence showcase the physical and visual qualities of the silver print — where light is alive and wondrous!
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