Look3, The Festival of the Photograph, has just announced its lineup of participating artists for 2013, and it's a stunner -- Carrie Mae Weems, Susan Meiselas, Gregory Crewdson, Josef Koudelka, Richard Misrach, and more.
Each of these men and women has had a long and distinguished career, and they've all earned their places among the most admired fine art photographers, photojournalists, and documentary photographers in the world. (Weems, a truly revolutionary artist who was doing multi-media work long before it was cool, is beyond categories.) Huge props to guest curators Melissa Harris and Yolanda Cuomo for pulling together such an impressive group.
Look3 runs from 13-15 June 2013, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tickets are on sale now.
I'm especially happy to see Carrie Mae Weems on the schedule. After a very slow start -- in terms of inviting photographers of color to participate -- Look3 has changed directions in the last few years. African American photographers have been on the program in each of the last two years -- LaToya Ruby Frazier, in 2011, and Stanley Greene and Hank Willis Thomas, 2012. While both are accomplished artists with growing reputations, they're still young. Greene, on the other hand, is, like Weems, a towering figure in the world of photography.
Last year, as well, Ernesto Bazan became the first Latino photographer to be featured at the festival.
Oops, 15 February 2013: I can't believe that I didn't mention Camille Seaman, whose talk at last year's festival and exhibit, "The Last Iceberg," blew everyone away. She's the daughter of a Native American father and African American mother.
All of this is good. In fact, it makes me very happy. Look3 is my hometown festival, and its events take place no more than a five-minute walk from my home. I'm one of a number of people in the Charlottesville community who challenged Look3, during its early years, to open its doors to photographers of color. At the time, none of the featured photographers -- Masters (a title that seems to have been retired this year), Insight Artists, workshop leaders -- had been of Asian, Latin American, Native American, or African descent. It's been gratifying to see things change. (You can read about this here and here.)
But things need to keep changing.
That's because Look3 wants to become one of the world's great photo festivals. That can only happen if it actually embraces the world. Much of the most powerful and creative photography anywhere is being done in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. (In the case of South Africa, this was amply demonstrated last fall, at the International Center of Photography's exhibition, "The Rise and Fall of Apartheid.") Little of this has been seen at Look3 in the past. Sadly, the situation won't change very much in 2013.
Look3 is on the verge of greatness. I'm not saying that it will be easy, but a just couple more steps will get it there.