The FLASH photographic festival will take place during the entire month of October in 33 venues across Winnipeg, featuring over 50 photographers.
Not that long ago, while I was drinking coffee on Main Street and complaining about the lack of proper photographic venues in Winnipeg, a photojournalist from Brandon quipped, “Why don’t you start a festival?”
This was laughable, as I already had a full time job as a freelance photographer and festival shooter, so where would the energy come from? It came from the city itself.
Taking the idea of a photo festival to local galleries, artists and business owners revealed that there was enormous support for this project, as 19 people out of 20 wanted to participate immediately. There must be something to this, I thought, as the weeks rolled by and more offers for help filled up my inbox.
Since it was the first year, and we might only have a dozen or so photographers showing, I was reluctant to talk to the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It would be like publishing your first chapter book of poems on a Xerox and expecting Margaret Atwood to write the introduction; but if you don’t ask you don’t receive.
Luckily, I have good connections with the WAG, and the Director, Dr. Stephen Borys, was instantly supportive. He suggested an opening night party. He suggested putting ads in the WAG publication and on the website.
I sat in his nice office and stammered. “Yes, uh OK, let’s do it …”
And so, on October 1st at 8pm, the FLASH photographic festival, Winnipeg’s first annual festival of its kind, will have a party on the 4th floor of the WAG, and will unveil a wall full of the work of local photographers that will remain there for the entire month of October.
I am staggered by the support the WAG has given the festival. It certainly proves that a good idea doesn’t sap energy, it gains power from the people around it.