Art Basel Miami | Miami Street Photography Festival
The Miami Street Photography Festival has found a new home at the HistoryMiami Museum during Art Basel. Established as part of the Museum’s newly-established Center for Photography, festival launched its fourth year with a series exhibitions, lectures, workshops, photo walks, a photography competition, and portfolio reviews, lead by legendary photographers David Alan Harvey, Maggie Steber, Harvey Stein, and Peter Turnley.
Juan Jose Reyes, the founder of the Miami Street Photography Festival observed, “Street photography forces you to pay attention. It’s about being present in the moment and seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. You don’t have to go to the Grand Canyon to get these photographs; this is life and it’s always happening. Street photography appeals to people because they feel a connection to the ordinary situations into which they can see themselves.”
Street photographers are a distinct type, those willing to walk, wait, and watch for the decisive moment. There is no set-up or construction of events; there is simply a willingness to observe and act in the moment. The result is a level of realism unlike most anything else, an ability to capture the strange, the serene, and the surreal details of daily life.
Reyes, who is a physician by trade and a photographer by love, first realized the idea for the festival a few years ago after taking a workshop with Alex Webb. Of the experience, Reyes recalls, “It really changed the way I was doing photography and shooting on the street. When I decided to start the festival, I called Alex and he was the first one to come.”
The festival was originally held in Wynwood during Art Basel. Reyes remembers, “Our first year, we had a couple of hundred entries into the competition. This year we had over 2,200 entries from more than 45 countries. We have a two-tier process to select the winner. We invite five judges to select the top 94 finalists, and then we have our speakers select the top 3 winners.”
Winners were announced in a special closing party for the festival. Swampnil Jedhe took top honors, followed by George Marazakis and Lauren Welles. Their work, as well as that of all the finalists, was organized into an exhibition on view throughout the festival, and guests of the museum are to cast their ballot for a special people’s choice award. Also on view during the festival is “Beach Games”, a selection of photographs taken by David Alan Harvey in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, Brazil.
Reyes, who has been in Miami for 28 years, is dedicated to elevating Miami’s photography community and giving back to the people. All elements of the festival are free and open to the public (with the exception of workshops), making it a wonderful populist counterpoint to the commercial nature of Art Basel. Reyes recalls, “I didn’t see a lot of photography at Art Basel. I think we need photography here and available to the general public.”
It seems the people of Miami agreed, as they came out in the rain throughout the week to take part and enjoy the festivities throughout the week of Art Basel.
Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.