Amy Miller’s Update from Day 2 of Houston’s @FotoFest_Intl

I had another great day at Houston Fotofest today. It was a long day with little time to catch up on emails or maintain connection with the outside world, but it made for more networking time with our peers in the photo world. Because of the time constraints, this will be a short post. I met today with a dynamic photographer I've known for several years named Elaine Ling. Elaine has several well-known projects, and some new work of temples in Myanmar. We also looked at her recently completed project - a set of stunning, enormous black and white prints of baobab trees. She has travelled to the ends of the earth to photograph these giants. Her artist statement sums it up beautifully .
"In some of the most arid and infertile regions of Africa, Madagascar, and Australia the Baobab tree grows to enormous size These miraculous giants are one of the largest living things on the planet and have a potential lifespan of more than a thousand years. They are great friends to their human neighbours—providing an ever-renewing source of textiles, netting, baskets and roofing. Their nutritious fruit has many medicinal properties My photographs are reflections on the ancient, life-sustaining dialogue between these enduring mega-trees and the people—grandmothers and fathers, parents, youths and small children—who live among them. These portraits, pairing individual Baobabs with their human neighbours, document a most intimate relationship. They were taken in South Africa, Mali and Madagascar."

After the reviews, busses shuttled us to several exhibitions of Russian photography. Fotofest visited Russia for the first time last year and found some great photography - both historical and contemporary, and they mounted impressive and insightful exhibitions all over town. Several photographers that were in the shows came over for Russia and gave artist talks which helped us contextualize the work within its historical timeframe (in the 70's and 80's creative expression was considered subversive, and these photographers risked making art at their own peril). Here is more information about the exhibits.

Leave a Comment