Photoville L.A.: Another New York art event heads west

Sometimes it takes a village. Specifically, one made of aluminum shipping containers.

Photoville, New York’s largest photography event, is rolling into Los Angeles for the first time in late April. The free pop-up photography festival will rise in a veritable village of repurposed shipping containers, immersive photo cubes and giant LED boxes at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City.

The event, created by the Brooklyn-based public art nonprofit United Photo Industries, has been running for seven years in New York in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Expansion was inevitable, said Photoville co-founder Laura Roumanos, though L.A.’s recent art-fair blitz was not necessarily the impetus.


“Photoville is not an art fair, it’s a celebration of visual storytelling,” Roumanos said. “It’s about bringing the photography and visual storytelling community together, not about commerce and business. It’s free. We’re inviting people from all over Southern California. It’s about making this kind of work accessible to all people.”

Annenberg Space for Photography Presents Photoville L.A. will host more than 55 exhibitions and installations over two weekends, April 26-28 and May 2-5. About half of the 200-plus visual artists involved are based in Southern California. Some of the work on view is fine art, but there’s an emphasis on documentary photography, Roumanos said, and “storytelling across all different kinds of mediums,” including animation and short films.

The Los Angeles Times is an exhibiting partner at the event. “California Calamities: A State of Emergency” will showcase environment-related visual stories by Times photographers.

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In other parts of the show, L.A. photographer and writer Oriana Koren will explore the “Underground Chefs of South Central,” and local photographer Estevan Oriol will show “This Is Los Angeles,” about the city’s lowrider culture. A retrospective of photojournalist Joseph Rodriguez’s work will showcase more than two decades of his imagery covering gang life.

Photoville L.A. marks the Annenberg Space for Photography’s 10th anniversary.

“We’ve admired United Photo Industries’ Photoville for many years,” Annenberg Foundation President Wallis Annenberg said via email — “how they create their festive photography ‘village,’ an immersive atmosphere where visitors can appreciate and learn about the work of world-class photographers who challenge us to see the world in new ways.”

Longevity, Roumanos added, is a goal.

“We want our artists and curators and partner organizations to reach bigger audiences in L.A.,” she said. “The idea is for the L.A. arts community to start reaching out to each other now, start cross-promoting and working together — not only once a year, but all year long.”

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Photoville L.A.

Where: Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, L.A.

When: April 26-28 and May 2-5

Admission: Free