Photoville opens in Brooklyn Bridge Park

September 11, 2019 Scott Enman
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Brooklyn’s free pop-up photography village, Photoville, is returning to Brooklyn Bridge Park on Sept. 12 with an impressive lineup of 85 exhibitions featuring more than 600 artists.

The festival, now in its eighth year, showcases the work of local, national and international photographers inside repurposed shipping containers beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s the brainchild of DUMBO nonprofit United Photo Industries.

The group, which has a gallery in the neighborhood, helps photographers reach larger audiences and provides educational activities for hundreds of kids every year.

The organization also curates “THE FENCE,” a photo wall in Brooklyn Bridge Park that has expanded to eight cities across the nation.

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Inside a shipping container from last year’s show.

For Laura Roumanos, co-founder of United Photo Industries, Photoville is not just about bringing people together to appreciate photography, but to have attendees engage with the artists and discuss the work.

“This is the whole point: it’s about connecting with folks,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle. “It’s not about going on your phone and looking at Instagram. It is about connection, and we really want to give people the opportunity to connect with the storytellers.”

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In addition to hundreds of talented photographers, there will be food and drinks from Smorgasburg, as well as dozens of talks and panels from organizations including The New York Times, National Geographic and the International Center of Photography.

Photoville 2018

On Friday, Times photographers and editors will share highlights from their coverage over the past year, as well as showcase photos of the DUMBO waterfront from its archives.

The newspaper’s Gender Initiative will also present #ThisIs18, a photo project from women across the world portraying interpretations of what it means to be 18 years old. In addition, the publication will present a dedication to Ruby Washington, the first African-American female photographer at the Times, who passed away recently.

On Sept. 22, National Geographic will lead a talk and present photos related to wildlife conservation and animal welfare.

Attendees view artwork at last year’s Photoville.

Roumanos said she’s particularly excited about a new partnership with United Photo Industries, St. Ann’s Warehouse and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The exhibit, called “Journalists Under Fire,” features the work of photographers who have either been killed in the line of duty, or who are currently under threat. It will be on display at St. Ann’s Warehouse until Oct. 5.

“It’s really a great example of Brooklyn organizations collaborating together,” she said.

For Roumanos, Brooklyn Bridge Park is the perfect host for the festival, because it attracts thousands of people every day, who will then come and appreciate the work of the artists on view at Photoville.

“We’re not a brick-and-mortar museum,” she said. “Being out in the open on the waterfront — this is really a space for people to come and gather. What’s really wonderful, especially in the photo community, is we want to reach more audiences.

“Not everyone goes to galleries or specialty photo festivals or events. But they’re coming down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, checking out the views, the carousel.”

Photoville opens at 4 p.m. on Thursday and runs through Sept. 22.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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