Denver's Month of Photography 2021 offers pandemic-friendly viewing

Denver’s biennial Month of Photography returns in force this week, ready to take on the very unusual challenges posed by the current pandemic.

The photo fest, always a mix of exhibits and lectures, is adding complementary outdoor and online offerings that allow folks at all leaving-the-house comfort levels to take part.

The lineup, presented with curatorial flair by the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, is sprawling and ambitious, showcasing the work of hundreds of photographers near and far, new and familiar. Everything is conveniently arranged on a fresh, searchable easy-to-navigate website. Look for your favorites at denvermop.org.

Here are my best bets.

“Three Acts: A Survey of Shame, Emotion, and Oblivion”

RedLine Contemporary Art Center, March 6-April 24

This is probably MOP’s most promising attempt to meet the critical moment we are living in, with MOP founder and all-around Denver art hero Mark Sink bringing together a trio of shows meant to take on hot topics. Part one is a collaboration with Todd Edward Herman and features Shame Radiant, a photography collective that explores the theme of privilege. Second is a look at cancel culture and pandemic fallout, co-produced with the Denver Collage Club and Alto Gallery. The third turns gallery space over to The Unperson Project, “an archive of oblivion” from Mexico City’s Andrea Tejeda and Susana Moyaho. 2350 Arapahoe St. Info: 303-296-4448 or redlineart.org

“Reflecting Voices”

Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Feb. 19-April 17

CPAC brings together the talents of the Black photographers who take varied journeys in their exploration of identity and history. Alanna Airitam creates and shoots scenes that undermine the misrepresentation and omission of people of color in historical narratives. Narkita Gold bring examples of her mass portrait project showing off the individuality of Black people in Denver. Rashod Taylor looks at contemporary life through the lens of family connections. 1070 Bannock St. Info: 303-837-1341 or cpacphoto.org

“My Husband Won’t Tell Me His First Name”

Photos by Virgil Dibiase, Access Gallery, March 5-April 17

Virgil DiBiase is a working neurologist, which provides him both insight and an invite into the world of people suffering with dementia. He’s also a photographer who ventures out of the medical office and into the homes of people suffering with the ailment, where he documents their lives in black and white. It makes for an intimate series of portraits that will feel at home at the Denver gallery dedicated to showcasing art by and about people with disabilities. 909 Santa Fe Drive. Info: accessgallery.org

“In a Time of Change”

Various outdoor billboards, March 1-31

This pandemic-friendly array of photos, presented with SaveArtSpace, takes place on billboards across the region, allowing folks to stay safely outside and socially distant. Curators Benjamin Rasmussen and Samantha Johnston link the work of 10 artists, an interesting combo of names familiar and new, near and far, including Whitney Bradshaw, Juan Fuentes, Danielle Webster, Thiago Dezan & Infinite, Susan Goldstein, Carl Bower, Eric Mitchell, Cypriane Williams, Grace Coudal and the Everything Is Collective. Take a tour one day using the map of sites available on the website. saveartspace.org/inatimeofchange

Sonia Soberats

East Window gallery, March 1-31

Sonia Soberats, who lost her sight to glaucoma decades ago, is a co-founder of the New York-based collective for blind photographers called Seeing With Photography. Her work, which has been exhibited widely, uses a technique called “light painting” that allows her to “feel, shape and embellish her subjects.” It comes together as an investigation of what is real vs. what is imagined in our own vision. This show takes place outdoors at one of the region’s more promising and unusual art spaces. 4949 Broadway, Boulder; Info: eastwindow.org

“Orpheus”

By Scott McCormick, Leon Gallery, March 13-April 24

This high-concept exhibition is built around McCormick’s re-imagining of the Greek legend “Orpheus.” The photographer uses staged-set images, digital enhancement and deep research to capture the spirit of one of the most enduring stories of all time. It’s a perfect fit for Leon’s small, intimate, uptown space. Prepare to be immersed. 1112 E. 17th Ave. Info: 303-832-1599 or leongallery.org

“Anonymous Women: Demise”

Recent photos by Patty Carroll, Visions West Contemporary, March 12-April 17

MOP’s star attractions tend to be group shows, but the solo exhibitions that slip into the mix offer a chance to go deep with some of the genre’s more creative minds. Patty Carroll reigns in that realm. Her concocted narratives are rich, compelling and mysterious, loaded with imagery that keeps you looking for a long time. Carroll layers it on in this series of photos capturing a fictional subject whose “activities, obsessions and objects are overwhelming her.” Can’t wait to see how that ends. 2605 Walnut St.; Info:  303-292-0909 or visionswestcontemporary.com

“30 Over 50: In Context”

Online, Feb. 26-April 30

It’s hard to resist this show, which focuses on the work of photographers over the age of 50 capturing scenes of contemporary life. Presented by Fort Collins’ Center for Fine Art Photography, the virtual assemblage is curated by Arnika Dawkins, an Atlanta-based gallerist known for showcasing “fine art photography by African Americans and images of African Americans.” MOP is facing a challenging year with the pandemic raging, and this offering is an opportunity for folks not quite ready to leave the house to take part. Info: 970-224-1010 or c4fap.org

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