This October, Durham will host the Click! Photography Festival in celebration of North Carolina’s newly official Photography Month. The event will include exhibitions from some of the industry’s foremost artists, fostering dialogue between photographers and community members, supporting professional development and inspiring artistic excellence. 

At the heart of the festival is “The Fence,” the world’s largest photography public art exhibit. “The Fence” is set to travel to seven major cities throughout the United States this year, highlighting 272 artists and reaching over 4 million individuals annually. The chance to participate in this exhibit attracts photographers from around the world, providing these artists with a public platform and the opportunity to reach a large and diverse audience. 

“’The Fence’ is a gift to the community,” said Claire Rosen, an artist whose work “The Fantastical Feasts” is featured in “The Fence.”  “For artists, the exposure is incredible, and it is very inspiring to be included amongst so much talent. For the general public, it is wonderful and unexpected to have contemporary artwork be so accessible. I love that my work is seen by such a diverse cross-section of people.”

Although “The Fence” attracts many seasoned professionals, photographers of all levels are encouraged to submit their work. All submissions by artists living in and around the Triangle region will be judged and put into consideration for regional perks, such as inclusion in projection events, invitations to panel discussions and exposure to top local photography industry professionals. “The Fence” opened Aug. 18 and will remain viewable through Nov. 30 at Orange Street Mall in Durham.

“If you want to know more about photography, Click! has got it in spades,” said Lori Vrba, a Chapel Hill artist and one of the festival’s chief coordinators. “There’s hardly a day in October that doesn’t have something going on. Pick a few events early in the month that intrigue you, and I suspect that you’ll be inspired to do more.”

Along with “The Fence,” the Click! Photography Festival plans to present “Click! 120” Oct. 4–8, an intense five-day experience featuring lectures, keynote addresses, portfolio reviews, workshops, art bus tours, panel discussions, artist talks and gallery and museum openings.

Filmmaker and photographer Louie Palu will host a series of workshops during this event. Boasting 25 years of experience as a documentary photographer, Palu has mentored some of the world’s most recognizable photo editors and is best known for his 12-year-long project titled “Cage Call: Life and Death in the Hard Rock Mining Belt.” During these workshops, Palu will provide in-depth lessons on long-form editing, sequencing for books and exhibits and fieldwork techniques. 

In addition, author Peter Krogh will host a seminar on rapid high-quality digitalization. Peter Krogh has researched and written about camera digitalization techniques and has set up digitalization systems at the National Archives, the Library of Congress and several private collections. In this seminar, he will explain how the employment of such techniques allows for the rapid and complete digitization of prints, transparencies, negatives and other documents. There will also be a two-part series of seminars on professional development hosted by author, educator and advisor Mary Virginia Swanson. Throughout her career, Swanson has worked in the areas of documentary, photojournalism, fine art and licensing and has become a respected mentor, helping many artists navigate the ever-evolving photography industry. 

Anne Wilkes Tucker, curator emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will present a keynote address. Over the course of her career, Tucker has curated over 40 exhibitions and has contributed to over 150 magazines, books, and catalogues. Her many honors include being presented with the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1983 and being named “America’s Best Curator” by Time Magazine in 2001. Photographer Mathew Brandt, who describes his method as “a little bit messy and experimental,” will also give a keynote address on the use of traditional 19th century techniques to produce large-scale photographs. 

Finally, the Click! Photography Festival will be offering public portfolio reviews, during which participants are given the opportunity to present their portfolios to collectors, gallerists and curators for review and constructive critique. 

“The portfolio review is like speed dating for the artists,” said Vrba. “The artists walk in and have 30 minutes, one-on-one, to present their work and get feedback. It’s a way the working artists can show their portfolio to a large number of the significant players of fine photography in a short amount of time and all in one place.”

For more information on Click! Photography Festival, visit clicktrianglephoto.org.