What is the mission of PhotoNOLA?
PhotoNOLA is a program of the New Orleans Photo Alliance and its mission is to encourage the understanding and appreciation of photography through exhibitions, opportunities and educational programs. PhotoNOLA offers 50-plus exhibitions, a portfolio-review that’s totally open, first-come, first-served, as well as workshops, lectures and other educational programming held throughout the city.
How would you describe the response to exhibits and events?
We truly believe that photography is the universal medium and has the ability to touch people directly—to tell a story with an image.
PhotoNOLA is now in its 12th year. How has it evolved?
One thing I’m really proud of is that PhotoNOLA is an artist-driven, volunteer-run organization. As the art of photography has evolved, the volunteer photographers have used PhotoNOLA as a showcase for showing the world how photography is growing and changing.
Are there certain parameters for featured photographers?
Yes, absolutely. To have an exhibition in PhotoNOLA, we ask that your show is at least 60 percent photography, with framed works on the walls, and that it be open to the public. Our keynote speaker is Xavier Simmons. We chose her because she is a world-class artist and is pushing the boundaries of photography. She works in mixed media, video, installation and straight photography. We wanted to show the world that photography is expanding as the world expands—image-makers today aren’t doing just still, flat photographs. She embodies that.
What should people look for during this year’s PhotoNOLA?
Our opening celebration is Thursday, December 7 at the New Orleans Museum of Art. We have a band, food, open bar. It’s $35—we try to keep it accessible for people to come and meet New Orleans image-makers. On Friday night, December 8, after we open the spectacular CURRENTS show, we invite the public to come upstairs at the Ogden and do the Photo Walk, where photographers from around the world open up their portfolio.
PhotoNOLA 2017 takes place December 7–10 at multiple venues.