Photography Regional – HIJACKED! [Get Visual]
Review by David Brickman
The 40th Annual Photography Regional, which recently opened at Sage College of Albany’s Opalka Gallery, is quite unlike any of the 39 that came before it. Many will be displeased by Opalka director Judie Gilmore’s decision to present the show as an invitational, rather than as a juried show that all can enter, though that is the format employed thrice before by the Opalka (in 2006, 2009 and 2012), and once in 1995 by then co-sponsor Rensselaer County Council for the Arts (now known as the Arts Center of the Capital Region and no longer a sponsor of the Photo Regional).
There’s a lot of history behind this circumstance, and a lot of passion among the people who have participated in this show over the decades. I’m one of those people – for the record, I was included in the first 12 Photo Regionals, and then participated off and on until about 10 years ago, when I gave up exhibiting my work altogether. During that time I was honored with a number of juror’s awards, and I was included in the 1995 and 2006 invitationals (so there’s no sour grapes here). I also have had a certain amount of input into the planning of the show, including having helped decide who would judge it on a few occasions, both as a volunteer and as longtime exhibits chair for Albany Center Gallery, the only original sponsor still in the hosting rotation.
This puts me in the company of quite a few other regional photographers – the show has always been driven by volunteers and grass roots organizations, and it has always existed in the spirit of serving the wants and needs of the regional photography community by providing a showcase, critical input from an outside juror, almost always a public presentation by the juror, and a chance for everyone to come together once a year and take stock.