Our 2009 New York Photo Festival Photo Diary


DUMBO, that pretty, yet still ambiguous part of Brooklyn, New York, is home to the 2009 New York Photo Festival — an annual event that according to its mission statement, seeks to document the future of photography in all its forms. Now in its second year, this celebration of contemporary photography runs through the weekend; yesterday Flavorpill decided to take a peek at how shutterbugs party and stopped by for the VIP preview.

Within the first five minutes at the show, we ran into photography legend (and Adrian Brody’s mom) Sylvia Plachy who graciously posed for a photo with us.

Our first stop was at the new home of Galapagos Art Space – the former Williamsburg, Brooklyn art and music house that has now resettled in DUMBO and we have to say – it was SHA-WANK! No more penniless Pabst drinkers for this ex-hipster clubhouse. Owner Robert Elms is now serving up class and culture in a beautiful building under the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge. Not officially part of this year’s photo show, Galapagos will nonetheless be hosting arts events every night as they always have. Oddly, we ran into Sylvia Plachy again.

We ambled over to the Jody Quon-curated show at St. Ann’s Warehouse, where we again, ran into Sylvia Plachy, who was now giving us the hairy eyeball because it must have started to look like we were following her. We tried to blend in and hoped she wouldn’t notice us.

In this reporter’s humble opinion, some of the best work at the show was at St. Ann’s. The exhibition titled, I don’t really know what kind of girl I am [Ed. note: Which is a quote from Juno!], focused on capturing the essence of women as subjects and featured some amazing strong and thoughtful imagery. Artists of note included Edith Maybin, Valerie Belin, Rene & Radka, Katy Grannan, and Carlos Ranc.

We then made a beeline to the Gay Men Play show, curated by London-based publisher and photo book editor Chris Boot. This show included work of both known and non-professional photographers, that explored the relationship between photography and gay culture in the 20th century. Some highlights were Stefan Ruiz’s portrait work and an installation by Christopher Clary of photos off of gay social networking sites. This exhibit brought us a hardy thirst. Nothing makes us want to party more than a roomful of gay men, photographed in fetish gear.

It was time for a drinky-poo or two, so it was back to the PowerHouse Arena space for the VIP party.

On the way back to the libations, we found the reason that newspapers are going tits up these days. There was warehouse full what looked like thousands of un-read Village Voices, being pulped into a corner by a freaking bulldozer. It was creepy! Man these bundles weren’t even opened — all that wasted paper for news that was never read. Dear advertisers — buy online — this way your ads won’t become landfill fodder.

Back at PowerHouse, the party was underway. These types of events always have some type of booze they need to pawn off to the creative class, that was received from a willing sponsor. This year it was product from the Rums of Puerto Rico that provided the bar, so it was rum, white rum, spiced rum, premium rum, dark rum, raspberry rum, coconut rum, and some more rum. Just as we were starting to feel like pirates, we ran into Sylvia Plachy…again! Who now must have been convinced that we were tailing her and planning to Shanghai her for our crew.

We also ran into class act, celeb photographer and New York mainstay Patrick McMullan getting friendly (ahem!) with the hunky bartender manning the rum selection.

We bumped into New York Times Magazine photo editrix Kathy Ryan. When we asked if we could take her photo for Flavorpill, one of Patrick McMullan’s on-site photo-minions ass-checked her to the wayside, while shooting some cute girls. Nice move there buddy. I hope Patrick is paying you well, because we don’t see you shooting for the Times any time soon.

We also ran into the lovely and talented Lesley Martin, (below center) book editor at the Aperture Foundation, who was bending an elbow with Chelsea gallerist Yossi Milo (below left).

All in all a good time was had but, we will say this: We do not have Sylvia Plachy stuffed in our trunk. Promise.

The 2009 New York Photo Festival will be on ’til Sunday. Information and directions can be found here.

All photos courtesy of Paul Colarusso.