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Photography aficionados, rejoice. The Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival will happen, after all. The 22nd edition will combine online and in-person events, inconspicuously mixing virtual exhibits, Zoom talks, Instagram live interviews, outdoor public art exhibits and gallery openings with social distancing. To make it happen safely, ACP will rely on the social responsibility of participants and an upfront disclaimer that “urges anyone hosting an in-person event to comply with CDC guidelines.”

Not surprisingly, pulling together this monthlong October event has been grueling. “It has been a daunting challenge for everyone,” says festival director Amy Miller, “a redesign of the festival-guide-listing software, technical bugs and glitches, online exhibition and virtual-event learning curves, painfully delayed responses and venue closures.” 

It’s worth noting that there will be no photo-book fair this year, and featured guest speakers will be mostly local, with no photography superstars — think Annie Leibovitz in 2018 — attending. The auction is still a work in progress and a date should be announced soon.  

To organizers’ delight, the level of engagement has remained high, with more than 400 artists and some 80 events listed. In years past, ACP relied on both a printed guide and an app to help the public navigate the plethora of happenings. There’s no printed guide this year, but the app has been redesigned to feature listings by date, type of events (online, in-person), photographers’ events, artists and an interactive map. Participants have the option to have their work featured full length on a publishing platform, labeled as an “enhanced” experience, thanks to ACP’s new partnership with the Atlanta-based Exposure.co.

ACP also has partnered with the Modern Art and Culture Podcast, launched by SCAD graduates Donna Garcia and Darnell Wilburn, for a series of interviews with festival artists.

Atlanta Celebrates Photography

The work of Chris Aluka Berry will be featured on The Georgia FENCE along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail

Below are some festival highlights. Note that some details are still in the making, so we strongly encourage you to check the online festival guide for changes and up-to-date information. Subscribe to the ACP emailing list to receive weekly features and listings. 

THE FENCE + THE GEORGIA FENCE: The FENCE is without doubt the most spectacular public-art event of the festival. For its seventh Atlanta iteration, it will showcase 40 highly curated projects displayed on a 1,000-foot-long banner along the Atlanta BeltLine’s East Trail. It’s done in partnership with Photoville and Art on the Atlanta BeltLine

The Georgia FENCE, on the BeltLine’s Westside Trail, will spotlight eight metro photographers. At noon each Tuesday in October, ACP will interview one of the artists featured via Instagram live @acpfest. Installation for The FENCE and The Georgia FENCE is October 5. Artists include:

Andrew Feiler , a fifth-generation Georgian whose work has been shaped by the rich complexities of the American South’s history and culture, geography and race, tradition and conflict, and injustice and progress.              

Teri Darnell, an Air Force veteran who uses her camera to connect to places that few people explore.

Chris Aluka Berry, an Atlanta documentary photographer whose long-form essays challenge cultural norms and racial stereotypes.

Arvin Temkar, an Atlanta writer and photographer who tells stories that examine complexity, tension and hope in a multiracial, multiethnic America.

ACP SPECIAL ONLINE EXHIBITION — PICTURING JUSTICE: In partnership with Atlanta Legal Aid, photojournalist Dustin Chambers and writer Max Blau selected photographers whose work focuses on social justice, with a special emphasis on housing insecurity in relation to health care and medical advocacy. Online exhibition opens October 1. It will become an in-person exhibition in 2021.

ACP PRESENTS — HISTORY REWOUND: A four-week, 30-minute livestream Zoom series that will offer an original perspective on how cameras (and formats) affect the image-making process, through the history of the medium. The online event will be taught by ACP’s “professor-in-residence” and digital director Michael David Murphy, in partnership with KEH Camera. 7 p.m. every Thursday in October.

ACP OPEN EXHIBITION: An open-to-all event for amateur photographers. This year’s judge is Jessica Helfrecht, interim executive director at MINT gallery. Opening reception is 7-10 p.m. October 3.

Atlanta Celebrates Photography

The Georgia FENCE, on the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail, will spotlight eight metro artists throughout October as part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography.

ACP COLLABORATION SPIRIT: An online exhibition created in collaboration with the photo blog Lenscratch, at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. It will focus on the history of indigenous people through lens-based art and consider how advocacy and allyship have shaped current issues. An online panel discussion is at noon October 12.  

ACP LECTURE SERIES: With Joshua Rashaad McFadden, who’s based in Rochester, New York. His work on racial protests has recently been featured in The New York Times. October 14. Register HERE.

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