Caption, Dumbo’s newest gallery that showcases art editorial photography, will open in DUMBO on May 14 during the New York Photo Festival. According to their press release, “The gallery is founded in the belief that outstanding photography deserves to live beyond its initial appearance in newspapers, magazines and other temporary venues. Dedicated to presenting the art of storytelling, Caption’s exhibits will include texts by the photographers themselves and by leading writers to convey the richness of contemporary narrative art.”
Tom Sternal and Jennifer Galvin are gallery co-directors. Jennifer Galvin is the Creative Director of Generation, a communications firm that works exclusively with not-for-profit and educational institutions. Tom Sternal is the President of Generation, and has worked with nearly 100 not-for-profit and cause-related institutions including American University in Cairo, Columbia University, Common Ground, the Delaware Art Museum, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. We interviewed Tom about the new gallery.
Q: Thank you for taking your time from your busy schedule. How did you and Jennifer decide to open Caption when Generation is already successful?
A: We knew it was kind of a ridiculous idea—especially in this economy—but it was also about trying to stay fresh. Thankfully our primary business has been spared the brunt of the recession, so we plunged ahead. For us, photography has always been an essential part of what we do. In our work with non-profits we are constantly asking ourselves how can we combine text and image to motivate people to care about things that they previously ignored. Even if the gallery is economically impractical, it feels like an important affirmation of our firm’s mission.
Q: How can photographers get noticed in this age of new media (Flickr, digital images, etc) and what catches your and Jennifer’s eyes when looking at photography portfolios?
A: For photographers, there’s so much competition out there, but there’s also an unprecedented opportunity for exposure. Look at the cult Icelandic photographer, Rebekka Guoleifsdottir. She’s ignored by the photo establishment but her Flickr portfolio has had millions upon millions of hits and she’s actually selling a lot of work. Many of the most important photographers of the last century would love to have that much exposure. The new media has allowed a very important populist movement to be borne. But at the same time, we have to be careful that we don’t apply a different, less rigorous criteria when we evaluate this work. When we’re looking at photographers, we want to see their point of view: Is it based on a thoughtful narrative and sound visual principles? Do they have the power to change people’s way of thinking?
Q: What brought you to Dumbo instead of Tribeca, Williamsburg, or other ‘arts’ centers in NYC? What do you like/dislike about Dumbo?
A: I’ve been living in Dumbo since 2004, and I am committed to this neighborhood. We were turned off by places like Tribeca and Williamsburg, or any place that felt like it had an attitude. We want to make the gallery experience friendly and accessible, eliminate any hint of pretension. People who’ve lived in Dumbo a long time, might not always like how the neighborhood is evolving, but we love the sense of possibility here. The story of this neighborhood is still being written, and we’d love to be part of it. Maybe we’ll even be able to use the gallery to help tell that story.
Photographer Corey Arnold will inaugurate Caption in Brooklyn’s DUMBO with an exhibition of photographs titled Fish-Work: Sea Stories. The show follows his successful debut at Chelsea’s Sara Tecchia Roma New York Gallery and will include selected photographs from that exhibition as well as previously unexhibited work. Fish-Work: Sea Stories will coincide with the opening of the New York Photo Festival ’09.
Caption will host a opening reception from 6:30-8:30 on Thursday, May 14, 2009.
55 Washington Street, Suite 802, Brooklyn, New York 11201