Wandering into the freshly hung 33rd Photo Regional at Albany Center Gallery is a little like stepping into the past. Very few of the 35 pictures in this year’s show reveal anything of having been made in the post-digital age. In fact, outside those few pieces, this could almost be the 3rd Photo Regional rather than the 33rd.
If that sounds like a criticism, it’s not. In fact, I take this circumstance as a positive sign that our fascination with the potential of digital photographic techniques may be waning, in favor of the tried-and-true traditional techniques that allow photographers to do what their medium has always done best: directly record and transmit visual experience.
Selected by a savvy pair of curators (Ian Berry, of the Tang Teaching Museum, and Melissa Stafford, recently of Carrie Haddad Photographs), this show maintains a level of quality typical of its 32 predecessors, which is to say that it has some soaring moments of revelation, along with some “I wonder why they chose that” moments, and the thematic inconsistency inherent in the juried-show format.