There was a group of women in the lobby of the Hyatt in matching yellow t-shirts that said on the back, “If Lost, Return To Bachelorette Party.” “So, what are the circumstances that would lead to having to implement this notice?” I asked. “Can I take your picture?” They started to gather for a group photo until I said, “No, pretend to ignore me.”
The Palm Beach Photo Festival is not the only thing going on in this hotel, obviously. We occupy the back part of the main floor, and it feels like a small, intimate gathering, unlike Portland's PhotoLucida which noisily overwhelms every public space of the Benson Hotel. The review sessions, perhaps as a result, feel less fraught and more casual, though maybe I'm speaking as an old hand at these review events. Two of my reviewers, Anthony Bannon and Robert Morton, are people I've met with before. Tony Bannon, former director of the George Eastman House, is someone who, in the past, has been able to see my work and tell me more about what was going on in it than I ever thought I could know. I count him as an influential mentor, even though we have spent all of 60 minutes together in the last decade. He quickly named several institutions that would love to have my dad's archive, and we pieced together a path to getting my contra dance work more widely known, mostly by connecting with the American folklorist network around the country. He told me to whom, and how, to drop his name when required.
As did Robert Morton, photo book editor emeritus, who also apologized for being unable to figure out a path to commercial publication for the contradance project 6 years ago. Kevin Miller of the Southeast Museum of Photography offered places to contact regarding my dad's work and who to approach about my dance project. An art buyer for a major ad agency said, essentially, my style and approach is what's going to be hot, soon, and said to visit the agency when I'm in town later this year.
So, an encouraging start to the reviews. The temp hit 106° outdoors; walking to the after-review social hour was enough to wilt me for the night.