The photography festival known as Photolucida going on this month is nobody's full-time job. The young biennial is a labor of love from a few dedicated enthusiasts. But still….
The successful photography festivals across the world revolve around portfolio reviews that bring both income and participants to the event. Photolucida is no exception. What the local outfit lacks, however, is just about everything else. Missing are: an exhibition program of any sort organized by Photolucida; a catalog or lasting document of the festival; and the overall sense of a "happening" for anyone not involved with the portfolio reviews. There were a few token events--an art opening at Mark Woolley Gallery, a sort of sidewalk sale/open house at PNCA, and a closing party at Ogle. Also, several spaces around town have organized their own lectures and workshops to coincide with the festival, which is a very good step. But unless you've paid for the opportunity to show your portfolio to the director of SF Camerawork, there's little to get excited about.
In a marginally more exciting related event, the Society for Photographic Education hosts its annual conference in Portland this year, from Thursday to Sunday (March 17-20) at the Hilton. Unfortunately, it looks stiflingly conservative. The three honored photographers--Mark Klett, Linda Connor, and Michael Kenna--are all over-50 relics of black and white landscape photography. Since many of these same Society for Photographic Educators demand that their students train on film cameras in archaic darkrooms with equipment they will be lucky to sell on eBay, it's not surprising they have chosen to honor such non-threatening traditionalists. Both Photolucida and the SPE National Conference (with the exceptions of the participating Elizabeth Leach Gallery and Gallery 500, who mounted interesting, relevant exhibitions) grossly ignore adventurous artists such as Anthony Goicolea, Katy Grannan, Jason Fulford, and Justine Kurland (and those are just the Americans).