I learned of the Experimental Photo Festival in early 2020, and sadly, Covid kept me from traveling to participate in the second iteration of this gathering. Fortunately, Pablo and Laura set up multiple online events throughout that year, that I will forever be grateful for. The fall of 2020 was a particularly difficult time to be an educator in my part of the country, and the Festival’s online panel discussion I participated in was a really bright moment in those dark months. Being unable to safely teach analog photo processes to my students during that time, or even teach them anything in person, my day-to-day life felt like I was living in someone else’s skin. Despite the pandemic abruptly having upended my identity as an educator, the Festival’s online gatherings helped ground me to a community, introducing me not only to new artists, but to students who were looking for guidance. 

So it is with great anticipation that I will finally be traveling to Spain this summer, as an invited instructor and lecturer at the third Experimental Photo Festival, July 20-24th. At this point, I have seen a preliminary program, and I am happily not too sure where I am going to fit in sleep. My beginner workshop “Chemigrams: Light, Chemistry, and the Hand” will cover various methods of applying resists to paper, including drawing, painting, and printmaking techniques. The advanced full-day workshop “Chemigrams: Materiality and Meaning” will present challenges such as working with concept-driven resists, creating three-dimensional works, and collaborative conceptual prompts. I will also be updating my lecture “Painting is Dead, They Said: Analog Photography in Context” to consider all the progress made in the experimental photo world in the last few years. Finally, I will also be offering portfolio reviews to attendees, and looking forward to being a student in a workshop myself. 

The Experimental Photo Festival’s staff consists of many hardworking individuals who are dedicated to equality and transparency. They do not pay for advertising, nor do they receive public/private funding for the festival — it is all generated by conference fees from the attendees. With so many similarities to my years as Director of The Asheville Darkroom, I am honored to participate in this labor of love, and meet artists and educators from across the globe. Registration is open if you happen to find yourself in Spain this summer, or want to make that happen.