Photo Walk Highlights Lower East Side Galleries

By Julie Shapiro on April 11, 2014 7:10am 

LOWER EAST SIDE — Photographs from around the world will go on display on the Lower East Side this weekend as dozens of galleries open their doors for the first-ever LES Photo Walk.

The self-guided walking tour — which spans 27 art spaces from Stanton Street to Canal Street — aims to draw photography fans to the neighborhood's burgeoning gallery scene, said Lesley Heller who owns Lesley Heller Workspace at 54 Orchard St. and organized the walk.

"It's a great introduction to the Lower East Side," said Heller, who timed the event to coincide with the Association of International Photography Art Dealers' show at the Park Avenue Armory this weekend.

"There will be a bunch of photographers coming in from out of town and I thought we could draw them down to the Lower East Side."

For the event, Heller's gallery will showcase work by Katherine Newbegin, a photographer based in Germany who focuses on capturing buildings that are in danger of disappearing.

The 12 pictures, which comprise Newbegin's first solo exhibit in New York City, include richly colored shots of a crumbling youth hostel in Phnom Penh, the oldest cinema in India and unused hotels in Eastern Europe.

"They're incredible photos," Heller said of Newbegin's images, shot using only natural light.

"Her photos are actually very painterly, which is rare.... The way she sets up her camera, it's as if you're in the photograph."

Other participating venues include Sasha Wolf Gallery, 70 Orchard St., which is showing ghostly black-and-white photos by Matthew Pillsbury, and Julie Meneret Contemporary Art, 133 Orchard St., which is showing photos and video by French artist Frédéric Nauczyciel inspired by "voguing," a dance movement that started in the gay black and Latino communities in New York.

Some of the galleries will offer snacks during Sunday's photo walk and Heller hopes to expand it in future years to include talks and special events.

The LES Photo Walk will run from noon to 6 p.m. on April 13. For a complete list of participating galleries, click here.

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