Back to the Old School: New Exhibit Embraces Traditional Photography At Crane Arts
Have you ever practiced traditional photography?
This was the first of nine questions on a survey that was handed to me at a new exhibition in the Crane Arts Building (1400 N American St.) titled “Making Contact”. This was the first exhibition curated by The Halide Project, a new photography organization that aims to support the practice of traditional and alternative photographic art. The exhibit showcases the creative breadth that is possible under the umbrella of traditional photography, with work ranging from pinhole photographs, to large format, salt prints and beyond. The show includes photography from renowned artists including Bill Armstrong, Vincent Feldman, Josh Marowitz, Tricia Rosenkilde and Sarah Van Keuren.
The Halide Project was recently founded by two Philadelphia locals, Dale Rio and Alexandra Orgera, and began through their mutual passion for traditional and film based photographic processes. The photography organization is currently operating out of various locations, but is native to the Kensington/Fishtown area.
“We’re really interested in this neighborhood as an arts neighborhood and we want to contribute to that,” Orgera said.
When asked “Why traditional photography?” Orgera replied, “I love the physical aspect of working with handmade prints. For Dale, that’s her passion and it always has been.”
The Halide Project aims to make a strong addition to Philadelphia’s photography community, joining established organizations such as Project Basho, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) and The Lightroom. What kind of new programming will the project offer to the photography community?
“Most of PPAC’s exhibitions are very contemporary and I feel like they have that covered,” Orgera said. “We’re trying to offer a way that we can focus on past processes. If you go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art you can see all kinds of photography prints from 1950 and earlier. We want to give a home to people who are doing these kind of prints now.”
The project is scheduled to bring a few exciting things to Philadelphia artists, including a new artist residency program, a call for entries and a Mobile Darkroom. The group plans to build a darkroom inside a truck or trailer and have a traveling space to create images and hold workshops. “Outreach is really important to us, so the Mobile Darkroom is our vision of how we can take this concept on the road in Philadelphia, or beyond,” Orgera said.
One of The Halide Project’s biggest goals is to educate not only artists, but the general public as well. “We have this two fold mission,” Orgera said. “One is to support artists who are doing this kind of work. The second goal is trying to bring knowledge about this into the public because a lot of people who don’t practice photography — and even the people who do — don’t necessarily understand the history and the difference and how many other ways there are of producing an image, rather than just ‘click and print.’”
Are you wondering how you can get involved? The nonprofit is offering plenty of “photo-ops” that the community can take part in. Two upcoming workshops, including Large Format Photography and Pinhole Camera Making Workshop, can both be registered for a $10 dollar material fee through their website (www.thehalideproject.org).
“Making Contact” will be on display from December 4 – 30 in Gallery 105 in the Crane Arts Building. It is The Halide Project’s hope that the exhibit inspires the viewer to try their hand at some of these unique and beautiful printing processes.