James Marshall's Mural

Mural by James Marshall

Head On Portrait Prize

Head On Portrait Prize 2014

Photoville, New York City’s largest annual photo festival, is back this year with more exhibitions than ever. Composed of over 50 repurposed shipping containers transformed into small gallery spaces, Photoville emerges like a metropolis pieced together from all corners of the globe. From photojournalism to fine art, each installation testifies to the power of contemporary photography to inspire, educate, and transform.

Instagram Doublestack

Here In the World: Voices of the Instagram Community

Instagram (upstairs lounge)

Here In the World: Voices of the Instagram Community (upstairs lounge)

Many of this year’s exhibitions tested the limits of the medium, propelling it into surprising and thrilling directions. One such exhibition, of course, is Here In the World: Voices of the Instagram Community, a two-floored installation showcasing some of the best imagery from the biggest online photographic community of our time. The show jumps dizzyingly from the amusing to the wistful, from pet photos in gaudy gold frames to blurred portraits of beaches across the world. Fittingly for this democratic exhibition, The Instagram Community Team has installed a wheel by which visitors aged 3 to 93 can manually turn from one roll of images to the next.

Also curated by The Instagram Community Team is The Everyday Projects, a collection of images from global awareness-building Everyday movements. Presented here is the work of photographers hailing from Africa, Jamaica, Iran, and Asia, among other countries and continents, breaking down the fabric of harmful global stereotypes by producing honest imagery from the places they call home.

I am a Foreigner (Elyor Nematov)

I am a Foreigner by Elyor Nematov


30 Years of James Nachtwey in Time Magazine

In addition to the plethora of point-and-shoot iPhone imagery these days, there are also of course those rare photographs that force us to slow down, sometimes even to stop dead in our tracks. These too have their place at Photoville. The atmosphere of Testament, a showcase of the work—both photographs and writings— of acclaimed war photographer Chris Hondros, seems to slip out from the boundaries of its container. No one speaks; instead, visitors march silently from one shadowed corner to the next, bearing witness to the most unfathomable and acute traumas of our time.

Beyond the Finish Line, an exhibit of Josh Haner’s photo essay for The New York Times, chronicles the painful recovery of Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Through Haner’s lens, the grief is slowly eclipsed by hope, the simple activity of walking the dog becoming a resounding affirmation of the human spirit.

Photoville overview (detail)

Photoville overview (detail)

Production Office

Photoville Production Office

As well as inviting us to explore the world outside of ourselves, Photoville also offers precious moments of introspection. For How Can I Help? – An Artful Dialogue, photographer Saul Robbins exhibits work from his series Initial Intake, a catalogue of empty chairs belonging to Manhattan psychotherapists. At the end of the container sits an expert in various fields of psychology; visitors can section off this private space and enter into their own therapeutic sessions. The installation is fantastically disarming, filling you with the uncomfortable yet liberating desire to confess your secrets.

Saul Robbins

How Can I Help? – An Artful Dialogue by Saul Robbins

Feature Shoot

Feature Shoot’s Reframe: An Exploration of Memory and Nostalgia

Gilbert chilling at the FS exhibition

Gilbert, Photoville mascot, inside Feature Shoot’s Reframe: An Exploration of Memory and Nostalgia

Feature Shoot’s own Reframe: An Exploration of Memory and Nostalgia, designed after an old house, asks us to look within. Amidst the faded furniture and wallpaper are wistful examinations of the past, faded and reappropriated vintage snapshots from a time long ago. After our trip around the world, we return to the family home, a safe space in which to reflect upon those intimate and blurred memories that lie just out of reach.

Other notable exhibitions include Fearless Genius, an unparalleled glimpse into the work Steve Jobs and other leaders of the Digital Revolution as seen through the lens of Doug Menuez, and You Are You, photographer Lindsay Morris’s moving glimpse into a summer camp offering a safe space for gender nonconforming children. Lined with screens projecting diverse and delightful gifs, the Nymph Gif Box provides a magical glimpse into a future where mystery and luminance lurk at every turn.

Whether we’re looking to the future, remembering the past, or confronting the nuances of our present, Photoville offers something for everyone. So grab a beer and a taco at the Photoville Beer Garden, and stay for a while.

Photoville continues through September 28th.

Photos by Amy Lombard shot exclusively for Feature Shoot.


Dreams in Disguise by Luceo

Zaatari (NOOR)

Zaatari refugee camp by NOOR

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