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Eyes on Main Street photographs made in Wilson will travel to two prestigious photography festivals in China and Malaysia later this year.
According to Jerome De Perlinghi, artistic director for the Eyes on Main Street photo festival, photographs produced by eight artists in residence will be traveling to the Pingyao International Photography Festival scheduled Sept. 19-25 in Pingyao, China.
Then, a collection of images captured by Wilson children from the Eyes on Main Street kids’ program will appear at the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival Oct. 26-28 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
De Perlinghi said the Pingyao event is quite famous because of the number of visitors it attracts.
“The festival lasts about a week, and they have more than 100,000 visitors,” De Perlinghi said. “It is one of the largest in the world.”
De Perlinghi said Eyes on Main Street’s participation in China will give the residency program a boost. It could result in more people and photographers knowing about the Eyes on Main Street program and could encourage photographers from China to apply for the Wilson festival.
“It’s really nice to collaborate with other festivals across the oceans and across the continents, so this is going to be the first time for us and we are quite happy,” De Perlinghi said.
The work of eight photographers who were artists in residence for Eyes on Main Street will be shown. The photographers include Keith Dannemiller, Remy Artiges, Juan Madrid, Diana Bagnoli, Juan Giraldo, Juan Arredondo, Jeremy Dennis and Jan Wunsch.
This is the third year that photographs from the Eyes on Main Street kids’ program will appear at the Kuala Lumpur festival.
“It is a three-day festival, very intense,” De Perlinghi said. “They have 100 lecture workshops in three days, several stages, many different docents and many different photographers.”
Peter Fitzpatrick, photography department chairman at Columbia College Chicago (currently on a sabbatical until January), is the liaison who has organized Eyes on Main Street’s participation in the event.
“We are very proud of our kids’ program,” De Perlinghi said. “I think it will be very well-received.”
De Perlinghi said Eyes on Main Street photographs have captured “a time capsule” of Wilson.
Both the kids’ gallery and the regular gallery were images captured in Wilson.
“It is a great way to show the world what Wilson looks like,” De Perlinghi said. “In the kids’ gallery behind Imagination Station, they were all shot by Wilson children. It’s incredible. They did a great job.”
Some photographers were as young as 8 or 9.
“We are a ‘Small Town, USA.’ People are more used to seeing photographs of New York City and San Francisco. We are a much smaller community,” De Perlinghi said. “So this is an approach by photographers from different regions of the world who have to work in a small community and find interesting ways to develop their own photography. I think that this show sells that. Most of them have been successful; also, they have been very well-loved by the community.”
Work by Main Street photographers has been published recently in magazines in Italy and Australia as well as in the U.S.
“We are really proud of this,” De Perlinghi said. “If we were not really doing something interesting, no magazine in Australia would publish an article on Eyes on Main Street. It is some kind of reward for us. It shows that many, many people around are actually paying attention to what we are doing.”
On July 1, the Eyes on Main Street organization became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
“We have already had 72 photographers who have come to Wilson,” De Perlinghi said. “The first photographs went up in May 2015, so that is basically 38 months ago.”
This year’s festival ends on July 29, and soon thereafter, the photographs in the residency gallery at the corner of Douglas and 231 E. Nash St. and the kids’ gallery at 203 E. Nash St. will be removed to prepare them for the journey to Asia.
“We would love to have a little more traffic. People need to come,” De Perlinghi said. “It would be sad if you only live 2 miles away from here and you didn’t see it. It is moving to China because in China they believe that 100,000 people will love this show. That’s the only reason. People here should know this and come and see themselves.”
The residency gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.