Look3, Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville, Virginia June 8-11, 2011

If you were wondering what was going on in the community nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains; a collection of internationally renowned photographers converged in Charlottesville, Virginia on the Downtown Mall.  Why you ask?

Quite simply to continue what Nick Nichols began many years ago as a gathering of peers for a backyard slide show that has grown exponentially over the years and in 2007 became Look3; a gathering of photographers in peace, love and photography.  One often wonders if such a transformation is possible, to go from something intimate to something much larger, and still maintain the intimacy.

The answer simply is a resounding YES!

Since this was my first year with Look3 I really did not even know what to expect.  Sure, I read all about the history, talked to a few photographers who attended the last Look3 event, but it did not prepare me for the full impact of what Look3 brings to the community of photography, and to the community of Charlottesville.  It did not prepare me for the passion these renowned photographers had – the stories they would tell – the emotions they would draw out from the audience.

Look3 is about sharing; about showing; about renewal; about creation.  Look3 brings friends together once again, and introduces strangers to become friends.  It is about explanation, wonder, exploration, and discovery.  Look3 is about bringing inventive viewpoints, ideas, and passions together in a community environment designed to allow free and open dialogue.

For me, it was about the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the flow of the Masters Talks and the Insight Conversations appear seamless to the audiences, the artists, and the organizers.  To me it was the volunteers who freely and willingly gave of themselves and their time to ensure that the attendees were treated with courtesy and respect.

While all things must end, Look3 is not one of them.  The friendships one creates live on; knowledge gained leads to better recognition and better photography; listening to the artist and seeing their works opens a new range of possibilities that are not just for the present, yet are things to be shared and experimented with until the next Look3.

I was one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to get close to the artists.  One would think being in a car for forty five minutes or so would allow for some great conversation around photography.  I found it interesting in taking David and Susie to the airport that the conversation was many things.  It was not about photography so much as it was about people and places; Virginia and California; taxis in New York.

It was about getting to know one another; it was the start of something.

I was glad to be one of the hundreds of volunteers who made up the support group for this Look3 - Festival of the Photograph.