LOOK3 may well be the tightest, most focused entry in the burgeoning field of photography festivals. Over four days in early June LOOK3 devotes itself to the power of documentary photography presented in the small city of Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia and (in the surrounding countryside) several world-class photographers. Workshops, seminars, exhibitions and projections of stirring, inspirational imagery (by such luminaries as Massimo Vitali, Christopher Anderson, Nan Goldin, David Alan Harvey, Ashley Gilbertson and numerous others) bring a passion about un-adorned photography to a place where the very simplicity of its strengths can be heralded.
By limiting its focus and tapping industry leaders, LOOK3 actually achieves a deeper, more lasting impression through its desire to stay succinct and by its commanding sense of quality. The work honestly presents non-fiction photography that (no matter the medium of presentation) remains true to its founding principles and does not pull any punches. From the harrowing legacy of war photography as glimpsed in the work of Anderson, Gilbertson and Kratochvil, to the difficult to view but wholly vital images in the POY (Pictures of The Year) winners through the languid yet riveting large-format images from the hand of Vitali, LOOK3 achieved, in a few short days and in a small, manageable town, to suggest that reportage is alive and well and still unique in its ability to show us ourselves.
Now, the image here (on Charlottesville’s main drag) hardly qualifies as ‘necessary’ viewing but hey, pink stilettos certainly make a statement.