It’s summer camp, and I’m seeing all my fellow campers from years past. We’re embarking on four days of intense relationship with our work, with our reviewers and with each other.
This is the fifth time I’ve been here. It was called Photo Americas for the first three rounds, starting in 2000, and it changed its name to Photo Lucida in 2005 after a split in the organization. I’ve been to Fotofest in Houston, and the Santa Fe Reviews, as well as to smaller events in LA and NY. I've been a reviewer at our local Seattle review. This event is the most well organized, and the most thoughtful and consciously kind of any of them.
Chris Rauschenberg sets the tone in the orientation speech each time. "In the photo world, there’s a level of team play at work. When I was a reviewer at Fotofest, a photographer might start the review by saying to me, ‘See that woman over there? She’s really good. You should look a her work.’ If I were reviewing at a ballet competition, that wouldn’t happen."
It’s still going to be intense. Referring to the need to re-prioritize our reviewer choices over the coming days, Chris said, "In a four day event, you're not the same person two days later. If you are, see me later and get your money back."