What Not to Miss at FotoWeek DC

The festival, returning for its fifth year, celebrates all things photography.

By: Sophie Gilbert

Know your Arthur Elgort from your Ansel Adams? Your X-Pro filter from your 1977? FotoWeek DC, the annual weeklong festival dedicated to showcasing photography, kicks off today with exhibitions, competitions, seminars, portfolio reviews, parties, and more. Here’s our guide to five things you shouldn’t miss.

FotoWeek Central
Each year, the festival bounces around among different home bases. In 2011 it was mainly located in the empty Borders space at 18th and L, with exhibitions on two different levels. This year FotoWeek takes over the Warner Theatre at 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue, where there’ll be ten different exhibitions on display, from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting’s “Global Goods/Local Costs” show to the Instagram exhibit. A $7 admission fee ($5 in advance) gets you access to all of the shows and most of the additional lectures and programming.

Corcoran Gallery of Art
To coincide with the festival, the Corcoran has two major photography exhibits on display this weekend. “Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII” is a vast, thought-provoking look at heritage and humanity, in which Simon photographs members of different family trees to explore their bloodlines and legacies. “Ivan Sigal: White Road” reveals black-and-white photos taken of former Soviet Union towns from 1998 through 2005 by Sigal, a Washington resident and nonprofit director.

Closing Party
Yes, you could shell out $55 plus booking fees to attend the launch party this Saturday, but for $25 you can attend the closing party at the former Spanish ambassador’s residence on November 17. Last year’s event at House of Sweden was a typically raucous and stylish affair, and this year’s promises to be no different, with music by Puerto Rican fusion band Empresarios, drinks, dancing, and photos, of course.

It wouldn’t be FotoWeek DC without a chance for amateur snappers to learn from the pros. All week the Goethe-Institut hosts seminars from pros such as National Geographic’s Michael Melford and MediaStorm’s Brian Storm, along with portfolio reviews from a panel of artists including Pulitzer winner Carol Guzy and The Washingtonian’s own David Hicks.

Love Instagram? Feeling lazy this weekend? Check out FotoWeek DC’s curated selection of Instagram shots online.

FotoWeek DC runs November 9 through 18 at a variety of locations around town. For more information and a list of events, visit FotoWeek DC’s website.