There are a few new things to know about this year’s festival, including the big move of FotoWeek Central to the old Borders bookstore at 18th and L streets NW — a move that will give organizers 50,000 square feet of space to play with, a mere block from the Metro. And play with it they will: 14 separate exhibitions will be held at the hub, open to the public beginning Nov. 5, including the World Press Photo exhibition, and the FotoWeekDC International Awards Competition winners. The space will also be home to the launch party and Brightest Young Things’ Young @ Heart II show, featuring some of the site’s best photos of the year; an event featuring Eric Hilton and documentary photography dubbed “Outernational,”; and the super-fun slide show and potluck dinner Slideluck Potshow.
Another major change this year: You’ll now have to register for a free festival pass to visit the three primary FotoWeek spaces, FotoWeek Central, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and FotoSpace in Adams Morgan. Yes, volunteers and staff will be checking for your passes at the door.
For Washingtonians accustomed to walking freely into museums with little more than a bag check, being asked to show your pass can feel like a rights violation. But festival founder and organizer Theo Adamstein explains that it’s just a way of recording how many people are attending FotoWeek, a detail the festival needs to apply for much-needed grants each year. No one will be turned away if you don’t pre-register online, but you will still have to register on-site. There is a plus-side: The Corcoran Gallery of Art will go free for the duration of FotoWeek, even staying open on Monday, Nov. 7 and Tuesday, Nov.8 — two dates it would usually be closed.
You’ll have to get tickets (at anywhere from $10 to $75) for certain festival events, such as Young @ Heart, the popular Night Visions all-night photo shoot and portfolio reviews. But FotoWeek could pick up the tab for a lucky few: Organizers will give away 150 free tickets to fans of the festival’s Facebook page, and 30 of those will be for the launch party (which saves the lucky winners a whopping $55).
“The concept,” says Adamstein, “is for as much as possible to be free.”