Photoville at Ten

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday September 15, 2021

Photoville—the brainchild of Sam BarzilayLaura Roumanos, and Dave Shelley—celebrates its 10thanniversary starting this weekend in Brooklyn Bridge Park. If you are new to Photoville, here’s how the story goes: The founders realized that there was something missing in the world of photography, and that was inclusiveness. They came up with the idea of making photography of every kind accessible to the widest possible public, and rented a bunch of shipping containers to serve as galleries. This happened at the moment Instagram was changing the way photography can be made, used and distributed. Was it a coincidence? I don’t think so.

The year before Photoville exploded on the scene, I was at St. Ann’s Warehouse, in Dumbo, listening to Kathy Ryan’s talk on Photography Now. She said, pretty much literally, that any photographer who wanted to be noticed simply had to be on Instagram. @kathyryan


Enough said. Very soon after, the first iteration of Photoville changed the face of public art. It not only presented photography at the highest level, it also invited everyone to become a photographer at any level, through workshops given by top pros, covering, over the years, every aspect of image making from pushing the button to creating an archive. Public art was no longer confined to sculpture and installations in public squares. These core attributes continue at an even larger scale as Photoville 2021 runs from September 18thto December 1. For a complete list of workshops, talks and tours, go here.



To celebrate its opening weekend, Photoville 2021 presents 10 x 10, a 10-minute presentation from its 10 lead partners on the big screen at Pier 1, Harborville Law, starting at 7pm and continuing through the evening. Featured are: The New York Times, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Abrons Arts Center, Magnum Foundation, Pulitzer Center, Indigenous Photo, United Nations Women, Joseph Rodriguez, Darkroom Masters, and National Geographic featuring live music from Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project. Photo above: © Esther Ruth Mbabazi/Magnum Photos



Opening day activities includes Smorgasburg Pop Up, Family Activity Area with Aperture, Stoop Stories & Brooklyn Children’s Museum,  Penumbra TinType Portrait Studio,  Leica Camera On Loan,  Performances by the Haiti Cultural Exchange, Exhibition Tours & Workshops with Leica, Adobe & more,  Photo Puzzles, Educator Lab, For an hour-by-hour rundown, go here Above: photo © Pat Kane



This year, exhibitions take place throughout the five boroughs and include 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrowsfeaturing Ai Weiwei; Essential But no Guarantees, featuring Todd Heisler; In Their Hands: Women Taking Ownership of Peace, by The United Nations Department of Peace Operations; The Atlantic’s Inheritance: A project about American history, Black life, and the resilience of memory featuring Alanna Fields, Hannah Price, Donavon Smallwood, Akilah Townsend; and The Last Chapter of War in Afghanistan featuring Paula Bronstein, to name a few. For a complete list of the 84 exhibitions, all free and open to the public, go here Photo above © Florence Goupil

Read about the organizers and there team here. And if you still need convincing, here are some images from recent years at Brooklyn Bridge Park:



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