FotoFest: More than Meets the Lens

20170419_172100-01By Anneth V. Ortega

FotoFest photography five-day event held on campus to share and celebrate the lens.

The Festival was held April 10 to 14 at College of Southern Nevada’s North Las Vegas campus. A combined 21 workshops and guest speakers presented topics over the few days including: portfolio review, contemporary photographic image transfer techniques, the future of virtual-reality photography, and how to do headshops, portraits and wedding photography.

Professors Charles Lohman and Heather Protz, who teach media technologies at CSN, envisioned FotoFest a couple years ago with a goal of celebrating and expanding the knowledge of this field. They both are deeply passionate photographers.

“My first magic moment connecting me to a lifelong career in photography was at the U.S. Naval School of Photography in the darkroom,” Lohman said. “It was learning to print black and white. I knew I was hooked when I saw my first assignment image appear on a sheet of print paper while floating in the development chemistry.” He found wonder in the process and since has provided similar experiences for his students.

20170419_172229-01FotoFest provided opportunities for students to learn and participate in day-long events. Additionally three major contests were held for cash and prizes. Sigma Contest offered $500 towards a Sigma lens, The Jesse Reese Photography Contest had two $500 scholarships and Nevada Camera Club Photo Awards gave $500 each for best-single shot and best portfolio.

Neyfy Oregon, CSN student who attended, said, “I think FotoFest could benefit students by giving them information and advice about some equipment or procedures from people who are well-informed about that stuff and they give you experiences that you have never come across before that might help you in the future.”

One of the benefits of the Festival was select students were chosen to have their photographs exhibited at Perception Gallery in Las Vegas Art District in Downtown. Perception Gallery is one of the businesses housed in The Arts Factory, which has 23 commercial tenants focused on art, according to its website.

Lucy Wu, Perception Gallery owner, was part of FotoFest. Her team had a vendor table. In addition she worked closely with professors at CSN to provide opportunities for their students.

“I’ve known [Professor] Mark Olson for a few years and he asked if I’d host the CSN photography show this year in my gallery and I said yes,” Wu said. “More people are aware of CSN and that there is a really good photography program with very hands-on instructors, and the work we featured was both very creative and very well done,” Wu said.

“We featured the CSN show for 17 days, including two previews Thursday and First Friday event, which was unusual and an added benefit for the students,” she added.

In addition to displaying their works, the students had a wrap party at The Arts Factory. They were able to see the different galleries and get a sense of how this industry works.

“I think it gives them a real-world look at what a small gallery does and how it operates,” Wu added.

Lohman echoed a similar sentiment about this great opportunity for students. “The generosity of the wonderful people who own and operate Perception Gallery in donating important exhibition space to our photography students is praiseworthy,” Lohman said. He was happy with the exhibit and FotoFest, as a whole, this year.

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