I went to FotoFest in 2014. It is much more of a photographers' show than a collectors' show but it is a wonderful place to see great new work and meet lots of folks in the photo community. They have, I think, one of the largest, if not the largest portfolio review programs in the world over three weeks every other March and it is an incredible opportunity for photographers at all career stages to be in front of the top leaders in the photo world. I am uncomfortable doing reviews myself but I love to sit in on them. When I was there, my friend Del Zogg took me under his wing and let me sit in on his reviews. While I was on the review floor I looked around to see if there was anybody else I knew so I could keep doing it the next day and I spotted my friend Charles Guice who I had gotten to know as a gallerist. I spent a fascinating day with Charles and he asked if I wanted to sit in with the women reviewing next to him, Hannah Frieser, the next day. I didn't know Hannah but I was having the time of my life and I had already met an artist i wanted to invite to the residency (David Pace) and decided to purchase work from another artist (Cheryle St. Onge) so I agreed. Hannah's memory freaked me out. Some of the photographers she was reviewing she had previously reviewed at venues around the world and some as long as a decade prior. She not only remember bodies of work from these photographers but specific images and was able to plot the arc of their work over their careers. I was struggling to remember the name of the artist who had just left the table! All of the reviews I sat through were thoughtful and helpful but I had never experienced anyone like Hannah. I decided to invite her to our residency. In addition to 9 years directing Light Work in Syracuse,NY she was an independent curator of international photography exhibitions and had written extensively in the field and I thought she would bring a lot to Cassilhaus. We arranged for her to come 17 months later in the fall of 2015. A few months before she came she asked if she could bring Charles Guice along. I was confused. I didn't know they were a couple-romantically and professionally- and that they were collaborating on a new photo web project called Converging Perspectives. We'd had two collaborating couples before and they were very successful and I adored Charles so I was totally on board. That is until a certain Norwich Terrier named Wellington entered the picture.
We came to learn that Charles and "Wellie" were inseparable and had traveled together including internationally for 15 years and that Charles wouldn't come to the residency without him. We have a strict no pets policy at Cassilhaus because of our resident felines Jaco and Joni and although Wellie was cat friendly, our two were definitely NOT dog friendly. I tried to find alternate lodging for them in the area so they could still do the residency but nothing was working and Hannah started talking about coming solo. I did one last Hail Mary by sending out a request on my neighborhood listserv to see if anyone was willing to take in two unknown artists and their dog for a month and to my complete shock one of our neighbors, Mike and Diane Doub, who I DIDN"T EVEN KNOW, said they would love to host them. It was incredible enough that anyone would be so open to taking in total strangers and their dog but even more amazing that they were within walking distance of our house! The 5 of them bonded like family and Diane basically adopted Wellie. They are fast friends now. Although Hannah and Charles became our first non-resident resident artists, I was thrilled to spread our net and share the joy of living with artists with one of our neighbors.
Because I had connected with these guys doing portfolio reviews, I thought it might be interesting for Hannah and Charles to do reviews with photographers in our community rather than the traditional artist talk that many of our residents do. They graciously agreed to do a whole day of reviews and i gave them a list of artists I thought would benefit from the process and let them select who filled the 8 slots. I asked if our interns could sit in on all of the sessions and get a review themselves and they also agreed to this.
Lisa McCarty showed her new Transcendental Concord Series
Dan Gottlieb showed his new handheld long exposure images.
Rachel Boillot participated via Skype from Tennessee and talked about her new book.
Jim Lee showed some of his amazing and inventive new still life work.
Lori Vrba showed both 2 and 3D work.
Charles and Hannah also visited old friends Trevor Schoonmaker and Teka Selman who gave them a private sneak preview of Trevor's new exhibition Reality of My Surroundings at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Since leaving us Hannah has shared the exciting news that she has taken over as the Executive Director of the Center for Photography at Woodstock and she and Charles have moved to the tiny village of Woodstock, NY. We expect to see exciting new things happening as she leads the organization toward their 40th anniversary in 2017.