Soho Photo Gallery

15 White Street New York - NY 10013
Soho Photo: A Photographer's Place Since 1971 Soho Photo Gallery has come a long way and about eight city blocks since its establishment in 1971 by a dedicated group of New York Times photographers. They believed there was a real need in the photographic community for a cooperative where serious photographers could exhibit their work and exchange ideas, learn, and grow as artists. The Early Years The group rented a loft space at Prince Street and West Broadway, located in the heart of Soho, New York's soon-to-be trendy artists' district. A newspaper advertisement that announced the opening of the Soho Photo Gallery (the founding fathers liked the sound of the name) drew a core group of some 40 photographers of varied interests and talents; Soho Photo was in business and now there was an alternative to the more commercial galleries uptown. The gallery wasn't fancy, but it had four walls and lots of warmth. And month-long shows by members and guest exhibitors would insure there was always something new at Soho Photo. After one year, with membership growing and pressed for more space, the Gallery moved to West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, next door to the Quad Theater. André Kertesz, who was among the Gallery's regular visitors, said, "What Soho is doing is more important than Stieglitz's work to promote photography in his day and in his gallery." Gallery Expands, Moves to TriBeCa. In 1979, Soho Photo relocated to TriBeCa and its current location- 15 White Street- a former egg warehouse that would soon provide greatly expanded exhibition space. After months of clean-up and construction work by Gallery members, Soho Photo now had a mezzanine space for guest exhibitors as well as a downstairs gallery with enough room to accommodate four one-person exhibits simultaneously, plus three smaller 'spotlight' shows, and individual work. With a current and still growing membership of more than 100 photographers, the Gallery's added space has proved to be a necessity. A Photographer's Place Over the years, thousands of serious amateur and professional photographers have exhibited their work at Soho Photo Gallery. Guest shows have featured the images of Minor White, John Albok, Eva Rubinstein, Max Waldman, Wynn Bullock, Eugene Richards, Dan Burkholder, Eric Renner and Nancy Spencer, among others. The work of members and guests is, of course, as varied as the photographers themselves. Everything from pictorial and documentary to abstract and conceptual. Large digital color prints may be seen hanging next to delicate 19th century type platinum or palladium prints; hand-colored works coexist with manipulated Polaroid images. Seminars and workshops on photographic techniques and issues such as palladium printing, pinhole photography and digital technology are also scheduled on a regular basis. Monthly Shows Soho Photo presents four solo exhibitions by members each month on the main floor, except during August when the Gallery is closed. Each exhibit bay can display an average of 15 pieces. There is additional space in the front of the Gallery for small shows and individual works. The mezzanine is normally used for monthly guest exhibitors. Now Three National Competitions Soho Photo, which is now a charitable not-for-profit foundation, sponsors national events such as the National Competition, open to all photographic techniques, and the famed annual juried National Krappy Kamera Competition, which is devoted to photographs taken with plastic, toy or homemade and pinhole cameras. The Gallery's first annual National Alternative Photographic Processes Competition took place in October 2004. This new juried competition does not allow traditional silver, C-prints and digital prints to be shown. Instead, prints must be produced by alternative processes, which include Cyanotype, Van Dyke, platinum, palladium, Polaroid© transfer and others. The competition drew some 600 entries from across the nation and critical praise in Popular Photography's January 2005 issue. Becoming a Member Membership in the Gallery is a selective process. On the first Saturday of each month, the Portfolio Review Committee reviews portfolios of potential members. If the photographer's work meets Gallery standards, he or she is welcomed as a new member, and that brings certain rights and responsibilities. The Soho Photo Gallery has survived since 1971 because it has fulfilled the goals of its founders-to be a photographer's place. And the Gallery continues to serve the needs of its members, acting as a community and a forum where old and new ideas meet. Photographers choose to become Gallery members because, like most artists, they have realized they cannot and should not exist in a vacuum. They want to learn. And they want others to see their work. Soho Photo is the place.