The Medium Festival of Photography proves size doesn’t matter
Scott Davis likens his Medium Festival of Photography to a wedding.
“It’s a lot of work on the front end, but it’s a great feeling when it starts,” he said.
And it pays off. Medium is a four-day photography event in San Diego celebrating boundary-pushing artists. Davis said it is the only U.S. photo festival that offers tours to Latin America and grants for Latin American artists.
From Thursday, October 17, to Saturday, October 20, Medium hosts portfolio reviews with leading curators, gallerists and publishers, in addition to two days of artist lectures, a studio and exhibition tour in Tijuana, and its juried exhibition “Size Matters.”
“This festival really represents a unique and rare opportunity to have such an intense gathering of internationally recognized talent in a city like San Diego,” said Davis, the festival’s executive director.
“All these people are accessible. We have portfolio reviews. It’s a vibrant thing and it’s well regarded and well loved by the community. I think it’s a real treasure for San Diego in particular.”
In addition to the reviews, Latin American photographer Luis Gonzalez Palma presents a keynote from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, October 18; his solo exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, October 17; a day of artist lectures (including two Guggenheim fellows); and an arts and culture excursion to Tijuana.
“That exhibition is the first career retrospective of the artist’s work on the West Coast of the United States,” Davis said about Gonzalez Palma. “Nobody in Seattle, Los Angeles or San Francisco did an exhibition of his work in a true retrospective form. There was never a proper 20- to 30-year career survey.”
The artists scheduled to lecture from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the historic Lafayette Hotel in North Park are Mariel Miranda; Louie Palu, a 2016 Guggenheim fellow; Christina Fernandez; Sant Khalsa; and Meghann Riepenhoff, a 2018 Guggenheim fellow.
Represented by the Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix, Gonzalez Palma is “a pretty big-name artist,” he said.
“We have nine book signings with different artists this year,” he said. “We have a robust offering of free public events, from industry seminars to opportunities to getting tintype portraits made. We have a diverse lineup. There are many ways to experience what we do.”
On Sunday, the group will take a bus tour to artist studios and restaurants in Tijuana.
Davis has been a fine art photographer for 20 years, during which time he worked in museums, galleries and private collections.
“I reached a moment where I realized the knowledge and contacts I developed could really benefit and enrich the community,” Davis said.
In year one, he admitted he “rolled the dice” and hoped for the best with the festival. He didn’t realize what he created.
“It wasn’t just an illusion,” he said. “I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see something like this.”
The Medium Festival of Photography, various times Thursday, October 17, to Saturday, October 20, various locations. For details, visit mediumphoto.org.