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Last weekend, the 2015 edition of Photoville opened the doors of its repurposed shipping containers for a two-week fair of photography. There are over 60 individual exhibitions presented by United Photo Industries (UPI) in the outdoor space alongside Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, with a strong focus on photojournalism and ongoing global issues.
For this year’s edition of the annual event, which launched in 2012, the installations are both inside and outside the containers. Smaller displays of emerging photographers’ work nominated by seasoned professionals are presented on square shipping pallets called “Emergi-Cubes.” These have some captivating series like Sara Hylton’s “Durga,” on the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake; Alícia Rius’s “The Disturbing Beauty of Sphynx Cats,” on the odd appearance of the hairless house cats; and the “Welcome to Dilley” project by Chris Gregory, Natalie Keyssar, Jake Naughton, and Alejandro Torres Viera, on the largest immigrant detention center in the United States moving into a small Texas town.
Alongside are heavy photography hitters like National Geographic, Getty Images, the New York Times, and a double-decker container for Instagram. There is definitely an infiltration of the social media aesthetic and quick-fire availability of iPhone photography, such as with the Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipients, who include Dmitry Markov’s moving — even if heavily filtered — series on orphan children in Pskov, Russia.
Still, the most compelling work is among the in-depth photojournalism projects. Radcliffe Roye’s When Living Is a Protest is particularly immediate with his 2015 portraits on racial tensions and protest as a passive and aggressive act in New York, South Carolina, Mississippi, Memphis, and Ferguson, Missouri. There are also mapping projects like “Toxic Sites US,” presented by Open Society Foundations, with photography by Brooke Singer of 1,300 Superfund sites, and “The Geography of Poverty” cartographic installation with photos by Matt Black geotagged to census data on the poor communities of the United States. Alongside are series with a more international view, like Daniel Berehulak’s Pulitzer-winning “Scenes from the Ebola Crisis” for the New York Times from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea; and Stephanie Sinclair’s “Too Young to Wed” on child marriage in Afghanistan.
Photoville continues through this Sunday, with weekend programming including a discussion on documenting climate change, a medical response workshop for journalists in dangerous and remote areas, and a talk on alternative models for documentary storytelling.
Every utopia is a social experiment, the artist suggests in this commission for the Performa performance art biennial, and we’re ultimately the guinea pigs.
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