The first annual Miami Photo Fest launches in the Miami Design District this week, open February 27—March 3. The photography fair takes place in the Moore Building, put together by The Florida Photographic Foundation.
A presentation of work by notable artists like Elliott Erwitt, Mathieu Bitton, Antoine d’Agata, Carl Juste, Ralph Gibson, Bruce Gilden, Maggie Steber, C.W. Griffith, Andy Summers, Roger Ballen, Kerry Payne Stailey, Renee Jacobs, Formento & Formento, Ole Marius Joergensen, Aristotle Roufanis, and Maria Daniel Balacazar will be accompanied by a dynamic program of workshops, talks, panels, and portfolio reviews.
Whitewall spoke with Rolando Diaz, founder and executive director of The Florida Photographic Foundation, about the inaugural edition of Miami Photo Fest.
WHITEWALL: This is the inaugural edition of Miami Photo Fest. What was your initial vision for the fair?
ROLANDO DIAZ: In the past several years, international photo festivals have become quite popular with many successful, amazing festivals happening all over the world. With that in mind, I created the Florida Photographic Foundation and the idea for Miami Photo Fest was born. I knew from the start that I wanted the Miami Photo Fest to be unique with offerings from well renowned photographers, but also give an opportunity for new and emerging artists to showcase their work. In addition, as a 501 (c) 3 philanthropic organization, we also wanted to contribute to the Miami community.
I want event goers to enjoy turning their participation into a cultural vacation, and we plan to make Miami and the Miami Photo Fest at the end of February each year a destination. We are fortunate with the support of Craig Robins to have the historic Moore Building as our venue in the heart of the Miami Design District.
WW: The fair will feature a range of photographic work, from journalistic to fine art. Who are some of the established photographers participating?
RD: Miami Photo Fest will present works from renowned photographers from all corners of the world- from South America all the way to Asia: including the inimitable Eliot Erwitt, the thought provoking works of Bruce Gilden, Ralph Gibson, Maggie Steber and stunning images from Mathieu Bitton, Andy Summers and Antoine D’Agata who will make his US debut at MiamiPhotoFest.
Miami’s own, Haitian American photojournalist Carl Juste, who has been nominated for multiple Pulitzers and was part of the team of journalists from the Miami Herald to receive a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of hurricane Andrew. Juste will showcase work from his Iris Collective including the works of CW Griffith.
One of the most anticipated exhibits will be by Renee Jacobs’ presentation of “womenSEEwomen” series which includes nine female photographers showing powerful works. We also have the works of Japanese husband and wife team Formento + Formento exhibiting works from their series “Japan Diaries”- a series of images inspired by Theater, 1950’s Japanese cinema and the erotic images of Ero Guro paintings.
WW: How will the fair take over the Moore Building in the Design District?
RD: We have all four floors of this historic building with its permanent Zaha Hadid “Elastika” installation. We have over 20,000 square feet of exhibition space and will be building the exhibition to complement the existing architectural layout. We will construct temporary walls, gallery-style, throughout for stand-alone and group exhibits.
In addition we will have nighttime video projections on the external walls of various Design District buildings. The main entrance will have dramatic large scale work along with some video installations. Each floor will be fully converted into a visually stimulating photographic experience.
WW: Can you share some of the workshop and lecture panel highlights?
RD: One of the most anticipated workshops will be by Antoine d’Agata and Magnum photos, “Pushing Boundaries. Working with Antoine d’Agata, participants will photograph intensively throughout the workshop with the objective to extend the limits of their approach. By confronting one’s obsessions and contradictions participants will have the opportunity to challenge themselves, confront their fears and to move out of your comfort zone. They will work with d’Agata to create a final edit to be projected on the final day of the fair.
Bruce Gilden and Magnum Photos will present, “Be Yourself” that will present the opportunity for participants to participate in master street photography workshop. Gilden will take students out of their comfort zone, with the aim of identifying each participant’s personal working style for street photography, and define their personal vision.
Open to both passionate amateurs and professionals, this is an unprecedented opportunity to learn from the master himself. Participants will work with Gilden to create a final edit to be projected on the evening of the last day of the fair.