96-foot installation takes flight for Atlanta Celebrates Photography

By Howard Pousner The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The day before she was to begin installing her "photographic poem" on a 96-foot-long wall in Pace Academy's Fine Arts Center early this week, Corinne Adams calmly surveyed the jumble of materials on the floor and tables in her Buckhead studio.
Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com Artist Corinne Adams is reflected in one of the

photos she will display on a 96 foot-long photo/mixed media installation wall at Pace Academy as part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival. The photos of hundreds of Atlanta photographers will be on display at more than 100 venues throughout Atlanta.

One of nearly 150 exhibits and events that comprise the 13th annual Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) festival across metro Atlanta in October, "Fly Away" is a paean to birds and flight, gestation and birth and finding one's wings. That meant Adams was surrounded by prints in various sizes of all sorts of winged creatures, huge migration images printed on sticky-backed wallpaper, Xeroxes of avian photos, transparencies, a large ostrich egg from Africa, even a dress featuring a silhouette of birds. The long-time Atlanta photographer had a loose storyboard in mind for how all the images and objects she created or collected over more than a decade would fit together across Pace's curved, dramatically lit black wall. But she was trying not to over-think the installation, which goes on view Monday for a run through Oct. 31. "That's the good thing about getting older," said Adams, 60. "Completely planning something keeps the creativity out. It limits what can happen. I've learned to trust that letting go part and just let it be whatever it needs to be." In truth, that's not much unlike the positive vibe she and photography curator Susan Todd-Raque brought to the founding of ACP, which has blossomed from modest beginnings involving 40 galleries in 1999 to a heady slate of exhibits, lectures, public art, programs for professional artists and participation opportunities for amateurs that reaches more than 100,000 people annually. Weary after six years of leading ACP as volunteers, they hired and trained the festival's first paid executive director, a job held for four years by Amy Miller. Though no longer running ACP, Adams is no less passionate about the opportunities it presents for participants and the public alike. "This is what ACP does, gets you thinking of creative projects," said Adams about her biggest installation project by far. "Just to be in another exhibit doesn't feel like a great idea right now. But with ACP, you want to try new things. It's been a critical catalyst to my growth." At first, Adams thought about hanging a traditional exhibit of her work on the Fine Arts Center's 8-foot-tall panoramic wall. Then she decided that was "fighting the nature of the wall," that it called for "a narrative and a journey." Here's how she envisions that visual sojourn: "I'm thinking about the beginning of something. There’s just some seed of an idea, which turns into an egg, which goes through gestation and then there's a birth. Something comes

out but it's static, and then it has to move and grow, and it has to soar and thrive. Which means letting go of something so that it can be something else, and then it kind of taking off." Adams' Wing & A Prayer Studio, in a converted barracks building behind Sardis United Methodist Church off Roswell Road, is clearly a lab for ongoing artistic gestation Projects, some finished and some loosely ongoing, are stacked and tucked everywhere. And paint stirring sticks used to ready epoxy to finish photo panels are randomly stuck to the wood floor, causing the well-intended to fail every time they try to pick them up. Here, on Oct. 20-22, she will host yet another ACP event, "Word Up!" a show and sale of work that merges her photography with a growing fascination, letterpress typography. At the start, Adams couldn't envision the festival approaching 150 events or, as it did late last year, becoming one of three U.S. members of Festival of Light, a consortium of international photography festivals that should lend more of a global flavor to the homegrown event in years to come. But ACP's growth isn't a complete surprise either. "Not everyone connects to painting or sculpture,'" Adams said. "But photography is something we all have an immediate and warm association with, because of family snapshots, and now everyone has a camera or more than one." Exhibit previews Corinne Adams

"Fly Away," Opens Monday, reception 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays through Oct. 31. Pace Academy Fine Arts Center, 966 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-262-1345, www.paceacademy.org. "Word Up!" 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (reception 5-8 p.m.) Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 21-22. Wing & A Prayer Studio, 3725 Powers Ferry Road, Atlanta. 678-576-4450, www.cglassjewelry.com.

More Atlanta Celebrates Photography events

"Lucinda Bunnen: Selected Works" at Hudgens Center for the Arts. Featuring more than 60 photographs from the long-time Atlanta photographer's "Fluid Matters" and "Mexico" series. 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Building 300, Duluth. 770-623-6002, www.thehudgens.org. Continuing through Nov. 19, with reception 6-8 p.m. Oct. 13 and lecture 7 p.m. Oct. 25. Bunnen also will be featured in "Cuba," Oct. 21-Nov. 26, at Sandler Hudson Gallery, 1009-A Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-817-3300, www.sandlerhudson.com. "One Block: Photographs by Dave Anderson" at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery. Documenting the physical and psychological rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina, Anderson spent three years photographing one block in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. Through Oct. 8. 1000 Marietta St., Suite 112, Atlanta. 404-885-1080, www.jenniferschwartzgallery.com. "Faces of the Yards of Clutter" at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Atlanta photographer Tom Zarrilli's wry portrait of yard sale sellers and their wares. Through Nov. 27. 980 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-8725338, www.callanwolde.org. Zoe Strauss lecture, 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. The Philadelphia photoinstallation artist stages a yearly "Under I-95″ exhibit in which she displays her photos on concrete pillars under the interstate, selling photocopied prints for $5 each. 535 Means St. N.W., Atlanta. www.thecontemporary.org, 404-688-1970. Conversation with Timothy Archibald, 6 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Emory Center for Ethics, room 102, 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta. San Francisco commercial photographer discusses his series "Echolilia," an intimate shooting-posing collaboration that drew him and his autistic son closer. An exhibit of the photos opens with an artist talk/reception at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 (through November) at the Emory School of Medicine, 1648 Pierce Drive N.E., Atlanta. www.ethics.emory.edu/echo