PhotoNOLA is an annual celebration of photography in New Orleans, coordinated by the New Orleans Photo Alliance in partnership with museums, galleries and alternative venues citywide. Showcasing work by photographers near and far, the festival spans the first two weekends of December. It includes exhibitions, workshops, lectures, a portfolio review, gala and more. PhotoNOLA draws hundreds of photography professionals to the city to partake in a variety of educational programs, and reaches broadly into the local community with exhibitions and events that are largely free and open to the public.
PhotoNOLA seeks to enhance dialogue around the medium of photography and further develop New Orleans as a prime destination for photography collectors, enthusiasts and professionals in the field.
Established in 2006, PhotoNOLA was conceived during the formative stages of the New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA). In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Don Marshall of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation initiated a series of brainstorming sessions with different segments of the arts community, shaping groups and programs to spur cultural rebuilding. Under Marshall’s guidance, photographers created NOPA to serve the needs of the Gulf Coast photographic community. PhotoNOLA was created to highlight the photographic arts and to stimulate economic recovery in New Orleans.
The PhotoNOLA Portfolio Review began in 2007. It has quickly grown to attract a national gathering of accomplished photographers who convene to share work with esteemed curators, editors, publishers and gallery owners from throughout the U.S. and abroad. By fostering the exchange of art and ideas, it supports the work of emerging and established photographers. The PhotoNOLA Review Prize honors three outstanding portfolios each year. In addition, the Saturday night PhotoWALK serves to educate the general public by offering the opportunity to view portfolios and interact directly with participating photographers.
Broad ranging photography exhibitions are on view throughout the month of December, spotlighting diverse applications of the medium. A series of workshops, lectures and panel discussions further the educational goals of PhotoNOLA. Additionally, the annual PhotoGALA Benefit Party & Auction raises funds to support NOPA’s year round programming initiatives.