By Larry W. Moore,
In a world where millions of photos are taken every day, what makes a photograph stand out, what makes it art? The Louisville Photo Biennial, Kentucky’s premier photographic festival, has been answering that question for more than 20 years. A cooperative effort among regional museums, galleries, universities and other public venues throughout Louisville, central Kentucky and southern Indiana, this festival embraces local, national and international photography, and aims to educate and entertain the public with the richness and variety of photography as both a documentary and artistic medium.
This year’s Biennial — the 11th — runs through Nov. 10 (with varying dates for participants), featuring workshops, competitions, public discussions and exhibitions at more 60 different venues celebrating artistic excellence in the medium. And this year, five of those venues are in Frankfort! The Jane Chancellor Moore Gallery (JCM) is participating in our third Biennial, and this year we are joined by the Capital Gallery of Contemporary Art, Bill Rodgers Photography, the Capital City Museum and Periwinkle Interiors/T Bennett Home + Gift.
For the JCM Gallery (inside Expree Credit Union, 100 Moore Drive), this year is special because the gallery is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a series of invitational exhibitions, inviting back many of the artists who have been featured in the gallery over the years. For the photography show, there are 12 regional and national artists participating: Jan Albers, Rhett Beck, Linda Fugate Blumer, Doug Dearinger, Marilyn Donaldson, Lisa Huber, Darrell Kincer, Larry Moore, Susan Moore, Stephanie Potter, Reba Rye and John Sarsgard. Collectively they present a wide range of photographic techniques and subjects, from traditional film/darkroom to iPhonography, various printing methods and media, landscapes to Cuban street photos to family slides — something for everyone.
Thanks to a nudge from my new gallery partner (and fellow exhibitor) Stephanie Potter, this year we reached out to other venues in Frankfort inviting them to participate in the Biennial, and through the power of networking we have expanded fivefold. Our first stop was the Capital Gallery of Contemporary Art (314 Lewis St.), Frankfort’s long established destination for fine art, where artist/owner Ellen Glasgow enthusiastically agreed. She is featuring “A Collection of Photography from Coast to Coast,” with works by Dobree Adams, E.B. Glasgow, Scott McDiarmid, M.S. Rezny, Andrew Scriven and Harriet Wise.
Ellen in turn reached out to Terri Bennett, whose Periwinkle Interiors/T Bennett Home + Gift (333 W. Broadway St.) is a design service and shop that exhibits original art and encourages clients to make artwork a part of their lives. For the Biennial they are featuring emerging artist Ben Bennett in a solo show.
By contrast, Bill Rodgers (225 W. Main St.) is a second generation commercial photographer who remains loyal to his medium format Hasselblad camera, using both traditional and digital darkroom techniques to produce fine art photographs that often are taken just steps from his studio. For the bourbon enthusiast, he also has many photos celebrating that signature industry.
Perhaps most compelling, to observe the 400th anniversary of slavery in America the Capital City Museum (425 Ann St.) will host “The Singing Bridge: A Photographic Memorial to Lynching Victims in the Capital of Kentucky.” This exhibit of documentary photography commemorates Marshall Boston and John Maxey, two known bridge lynching victims, and the African American community, which the acts were meant to terrorize. The project was organized by Focus on Race Relations: Frankfort, working alongside the Equal Justice Initiative to honor the lynching victims, and was assisted by a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
Together these exhibitions demonstrate the artistry and power of photography to capture our world and our lives, as well as representing the vibrant art scene in the capital city. The opening receptions for all the Frankfort shows will be during a Gallery Hop on Friday, Sept. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. In addition, there will also be a road trip from Louisville led by Festival Director, Paul Paletti, on Saturday, Oct. 26.
More information about these shows (including exhibition dates and venue schedules) and all the Biennial events can be found at the website www.louisvillephotobiennial.com.
Larry Moore is the curator for the Jane Chancellor Moore Gallery.