Since planting their roots in the heart of Brooklyn in 2011, United Photo Industries has served as a necessary beacon of light for both photography enthusiasts and the broader community. They have innovatively created groundbreaking events such as Photoville and The Fence; each providing opportunities for both established and newcomers to the craft of photography. As photographer myself, my career has been given a major boost being selected on two occasions, to grace the walls of The Fence. Just this past summer, I was invited to have a solo exhibition in their gallery, with a show entitled “Sights in the City.”
In a world full of uncertainty, The United Photo Industries has created several spaces, allowing visionaries the opportunity to share the universal language of photography; building bridges of communication, friendship, and community. I owe a personal debt of gratitude to Sam, Laura, and Dave, for having faith in me as an aspiring artist and allowing me to share my images and vision in a place that I call home.
Legendary New York photographer Jamel Shabazz has been a part of the UPI family for many years and in many forms. From participating in our first group show — “It’s a Thin Line Between Love and Hate” — in 2012, to curating Photoville’s Opening Night feature “We Live in Brooklyn, Baby” in 2014; to being part of The FENCE, and working with us on his solo show “Sights in the City” earlier this year at the UPI Gallery.
As a freelance photographer, you are a one-woman-show. It wasn’t until I partnered with the team at UPI that I realized what unbelievable value there was, professionally and personally, in being part of a team like theirs. What Laura, Sam, Dave and the others offered was a community of encouragement, support, creativity, passion, strategy, trust and so much more. They understood me and my work and together we not only figured out the most powerful and impactful way to share it, they were willing to take chances and try new things in order to amplify the story in ways I didn’t even know were possible. I felt like I became a part of their family and look forward to future collaborations and supporting all of their upcoming programmings in any whatever way I can. UPI is a uniquely special group of people and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them.
Nancy Borowick’s moving series “The Family Imprint” was presented as a FENCE Project along Washington Street in DUMBO this year, in partnership with NYC Parks and the DUMBO BID. It was also featured at Photoville 2017, and in Central Park as part of NYC Parks celebrating 50 years of Public Art!
Director of Photography, National Geographic
National Geographic has been proud to present our visual storytelling and our talented photographers at Photoville since 2013. Both through container exhibits and Beer Garden presentations we have been able to reach an informed and photography savvy community in one of the best locations in New York. This celebration of photography is like a huge family picnic that lasts for nearly 2 weeks. It’s a reunion, an adventure of discovery and an affirmation of what we know and love. Photography at its finest.
UPI has had the privilege of partnering with National Geographic and its Director of Photography Sarah Leen at Photoville each of the past four years, showcasing some of the most powerful visual stories from across the globe.
Director of Programs, The Magnum Foundation
Magnum Foundation has been involved in Photoville from the start, and every year we are so impressed by how much impact the festival has on our field. It has become central to the photography culture of New York City, where we can count on seeing outstanding work and connect with colleagues from all over the world who travel to attend. Photoville is one of our favorite times of year and inspires us to put our best creative thinking forward when planning our container exhibition. We feature the projects that we are most excited and we grow from the experience of bringing innovative forms of documentary photography to Photoville diverse audience every year.
An unmissable staple at Photoville since our inaugural year, our friends at the Magnum Foundation have produced some of our favorite exhibitions, from Sim Chi Yin’s “Rat Tribe” in 2012 to most recently “The Blood And the Rain” at Photoville 2017.
Founder, The Aftermath Project / Photographer at VII Agency
Photoville 2017 was one of the best photo/exhibition experiences I’ve ever had. Laura, Dave, Sam and their team couldn’t be more professional, responsive, creative or cool under pressure. I launched the 10th-anniversary exhibition from The Aftermath Project there and I was overwhelmed by the response — 90,000 people over 9 days, eager to see photography and to spend time with imagery. I was struck by the thoughtfulness of the people who came, and the inquisitiveness of the students who participated in Education Day. We were also running a Kickstarter campaign for our 10th-anniversary book during Photoville, and I could tell from the contributions that a lot of them had picked up our Kickstarter card during Photoville. This was absolutely the best place for The Aftermath Project to be — surrounded by great photography and welcomed by a community that has clearly learned to love photography during the years that UPI has been running Photoville.
Photographer, VII agency & Talking Eyes Media
Photoville has quickly emerged as one of the premier and absolutely unique venues for showcasing photography in the world. What makes it so unique and important is the plethora of voices, visual approaches, subject matter and forms of display that this incredible festival encompasses. There is a true feeling of democracy of the image in this festival and given it’s free to the public, Photoville is a vital source of inspiration and focal point for the art of photography today.
Photoville is unlike any other photography festival. It incubates emerging talents, fosters community between artists, and draws an incredibly diverse cross-section of visitors to the Brooklyn waterfront. As an artist, there is no other opportunity quite like Photoville, where you can interact with literally tens of thousands of visitors in exhibition spaces and educational programming. I learned so much about my own work, and the role of art in sparking dialogue, from Photoville. Photoville also introduced me to people who have become close friends and collaborators, including my printer at Digital Silver Imaging, and created opportunities for me to exhibit my work around the world, from the “Photoville’s Emerging American Artists” show in the Netherlands, to festivals in Guatemala, Portugal and Northern Ireland, to more recent solo exhibitions in China, Switzerland, Korea, and back home at New York City’s Steven Kasher Gallery. Each year, Sam, Laura, and Dave set ever higher goals, as they reach ever larger audiences, all in the service of those who make the work. My experience showing at Photoville is a huge part of the reason I’m working as an artist today.
As an exhibiting artist, photojournalist, educator, and producer, there is none more important institution for exhibiting issue-based visual media than United Photo Industries and Photoville. It has been a career highlight to have had my personal work featured as part of Photoville (twice) and given the opportunity to have up to 100,000 people view my work. Not to mention the incredible programming that allows students and photo editors to make contact with myself and the work I am doing. The dedication of the UPI team to producing public art that is both timely and thought-provoking is second to none. I am not exaggerating when I say that my life and my career would not have been the same if I did not have the support of this community.
Previewing my latest series Shadows of Pakistan with UPI during Photoville has been an amazing opportunity for me. UPI has a very unique position in the photography market. At Photoville, it has been the first time ever I saw a mom explaining her 3-year-old, an older lady with her dog, a well-respected photo-editor and an ambassador, all at the same time at the same exhibition. While they were looking at the work, they ended up in a lively debate about the subject matter. And in the end, that is why I went to Pakistan. To make sure the story reaches different corners of the world. And thanks to UPI, to an amazingly diverse audience, that otherwise, never would have been aware of the story I wanted to tell.
Chris Hondros Fund
Since nearly the Chris Hondros Fund’s inception in 2011, we’ve been thrilled to collaborate with our friends at United Photo Industries. Together, we’ve engaged communities far and wide on the importance of visual learning through our unique partnership at Photoville. As an emerging nonprofit, UPI took the time and care to work with us to bring shared human experiences into the public eye. We are proud to be a part of UPI’s mission to provide free and informative photography exhibitions that highlight some of the most important issues of our time to diverse and unique communities.
Photo Editor, Refinery 29
I have had the pleasure of working with UPI since the inaugural Photoville in 2012 and have participated every year since in both independent and professionally curated exhibits. They have provided so much support to photographers over the years and have worked tirelessly to make photography and art accessible to local and global communities. The scope of UPI projects is vast, and a testament to their passion for supporting art that is inclusive and representative of the diverse communities we live in. They have established themselves as not just some of the hardest working people in the industry, but some of the nicest as well — we are so lucky to have them!
Publisher, Reading the Pictures
We have had the pleasure of co-producing programming with Laura, Sam, Dave, and the talented team at United Photo Industries for over six years now. I can confidently say you will not find a more efficient, creative and earnest organization to work with. Doing things well, and doing justice to humanity through the power of imagery, is not just a goal for them. It is an expression of who they are.
We will be posting more testimonials from our community of photographers and organizational partners in the days and weeks to come!