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Free Fun For Film Fans at FotoWeekDC

Washington, D.C.’s cultural scene pretty much has it all. From 16th century Renaissance sculptors to 18th century Impressionist paintings to a plethora of modern art, there isn’t much in the art world that’s ignored in this town’s tiny confines.

But if you were to name one facet that may be overlooked, it would be photography. Not to say there isn’t already great representation in the area, with the Newseum’s exhibit of Pulitzer-prize winning photographs, but one annual event helps turn the focus to film. FotoWeekDC, running from Saturday, November 4th to Saturday, November 11th, is now in its fourth year of existence and is consistently growing. The event was founded in 2008 by Theo Adamstein, who wanted to see a more public appreciation of masterful camera work. The first festival was a huge success, with 20,000 participants, and in the three years since, attendance has doubled, with over 40,000 people taking part in the events in 2010.

This year, FotoWeekDC is a citywide event, with many museums and locations taking part in the festivities, which celebrate local, national and international photography.

The center of the event is located in the center of the city. FotoWeekDC has taken over the former Border’s space on 18th and L Streets, spending the past several weeks transforming the old bookstore into a gallery that will display works all week. The 50,000 square foot space opens on Saturday, November 4th and is the hub for all events, from rotating displays of photographs to numerous lectures by famous photojournalists. Visiting the main gallery is free, but tickets must be purchased online in advance here.  A ticket for the main gallery is good for the whole week.

If you’d like to attend the official gallery opening on the evening of the fourth, tickets can be purchased for just $55. The price of admission is worth it as it gets you into two parties.  After the 18th and L gallery opens, the party moves down the street to the Corcoran Gallery of Art for the rest of the evening.

The former Borders and the Corcoran are just two of the many spots that will be hosting events for the week. Spaces have been co-opted throughout the city to display great photography.

At the Carroll Square Gallery, at 9th and F, the exhibit “7.4.11” is running, which shows the different ways groups across America celebrated this year’s Fourth of July.

Part of FotoWeek is an already in progress exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, where the works of Harry Callahan will be on display. Callahan is considered one of the fathers of American photography and has shots that shouldn’t be skipped.

For those that are interested in even more early 20th century photography, another exhibit that’s worth a trip is “Photography between the Wars” at Addison/Ripley Fine Art in Georgetown. The exhibit contains an astounding number of works from European photographers in the time between World War I and II and shows both the massive cultural and technological changes that hit the continent in the two decades of peace.

On Sunday, outside of the city limits, the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia will be playing several short animated films all day. The creative works include an 18-minute film styled after the famous Flemish fairytale, “White Caroline, Black Caroline.”

As part of the FotoWeekDC festivities, all these exhibits, among others, are completely free.

For budding photographers, or those just interested in learning, FotoWeekDC also has a number of lectures ranging from experienced photojournalists to museum curators. All the lectures are held at FotoWeekDC’s main space, on 18th and L, and just like other events, are free to attend. The full list of lectures can be seen here.

So whether you’re a hardcore shutterbug, or just want to see a different type of art than what usually hits this city, take part in FotoWeekDC’s wonderful and free celebrations.

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