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Backyard Barbecue Bash Turned Photo Festival Fabulous
First annual celebration of the living photograph a success

Women Black and White
Sally Mann

Black and White Tree
Sally Mann

Jazz Club picture
William Albert Allard

Children Black and White
Eugene Richards

Women picture
William Albert Allard

Another focus of the festival was photographers who work with film and film shorts about the creative process of photographers. On Friday, the Virginia Film Society presented a screening of Richards' film shorts: A testament to 9-11 called "Stepping through the Ashes," a sub-par psychiatric hospital in Mexico called "A Procession of Them" and a soldier's diary back home called "War is Personal" at the hilltop Vinegar Hill Theater. This presentation explored how one photographer is exploring new ways to express himself through film based on his vivid photojournalist style of photography.

"Making and shooting is one thing," said Richards. "Editing is an entirely different task," he told the standing-room only movie theater. Richards said that at times during the editing process he was forced to put the project away in order to gain perspective.

Particularly moving was the short film, shot in black and white and color, about an elderly man's journey to a nursing home after living and working on his farm for a lifetime. To Clarence, "death is the only thing that makes sense," Richards said. One shot showed the man's soap still in his soap dish long after he passed away. "By photographing, you are resurrecting memories," he added.

Currently, Richards is working on a project about barbershops in New Jersey City where many of the customers are WWII vets. "More and more, I wish I started making films earlier," said Richards. Sometimes, "I have a hard time with the silence of the media [photography]. People have a lot to say."

Apple and Canon served as the sponsors of the festival and the "Your Space" living exhibit. Attendees were invited to have their own work printed and/or projected on screen. Canon printed images from attendees' digital files on-site. In a large projection area Apple helped to create a digital slide show of images using Aperture software. With the theme of "serendipity," the collaborative nature of "Your Space" was the heart of the festival. At least 1,200 slides and hundred of photos were submitted for display.

Other exhibits around town that will run until the end of the month: include Steve McCurry's "Looking East," Rebecca Norris Webb's "The Glass Between Us," Nathan Baker's "Occupation," Lynn Johnson's "Hate Kills" and Bill Emory's "Concrete World."

Planning for the festival began in October 2006 with the first advisors' meeting which included: Will Kerner, FOP producer, Melissa Harris, editor Aperture magazine, Yolanda Cuomo, creative director, Jon Golden, technical producer, Kathy Ryan, photo editor, New York Times Sunday Magazine, David Griffin, director of Photography, National Geographic and Vince Musi, master of ceremonies. The event ran from June 7-9.

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