This past weekend was the first ever Flash Forward Festival in Boston, hosted by the Magenta Foundation. Because the mission of Magenta and the festival is to promote the work of emerging photographers, and because a weekend away in a posh hotel sounded glorious, I went to check it out.
The festival presented three large exhibitions and several lectures and panels. There were also receptions which allowed photographers and photo professionals to meet and network.
Overall, I thought the festival was a success. I would have liked to see more participants from a wider geographic area and to have an opportunity to see the work of photographers who came as participants but whose work was not included in the exhibitions. But for the first time out of the gate, the lectures were interesting and informative and the entire event ran smoothly.
The Future of Photobooks panel was the most hyped from the festival, and it was fantastic that people were able to watch live and pose questions from around the world through the Flak Photo Facebook group.
Unfortunately, I felt a lot of photographers in the audience of the panels were too focused on sales and money generated from art as an indicator of success. It seemed like the discussion thread was weighted toward questions like, “how can I make money from that?” and “why make a photobook if it’s expensive and hard to sell?”. But I think if you are asking those questions, you probably are not making inspired work. You make work because you have to, you were meant to, because you can’t do anything else. Let’s panel about that.