Photo courtesy of Viewpoint Photographic Art Center.

Putting a Focus on Sacramento

Photography Month Sacramento April 2018   Experience local art with a new bold bi-annual endeavor, Photography Month Sacramento. The inaugural month-long festival, spearheaded by region’s only photographic arts center Viewpoint Photographic Art Center (Viewpoint), has…

Photography Month Sacramento
April 2018


Experience local art with a new bold bi-annual endeavor, Photography Month Sacramento.

The inaugural month-long festival, spearheaded by region’s only photographic arts center Viewpoint Photographic Art Center (Viewpoint), has a simple goal in mind: create new opportunities for galleries, museums, educational institutions, photographers and the public at large to share in a collective experience.

“Over the years, we’ve seen a strong interest in [photography] and a growing desire to learn more this art form and how to experience it. There is this amazing technology associated with it…that’s constantly evolving,” says Viewpoint’s Executive Director Roberta McClellan.

For April, the Center wanted to celebrate the art form in a significant way, above its usual Second Saturday fare.

Inspired by international photography festivals and guided by the principle of inclusion, Viewpoint sought to find local partners who would be willing to host a photography-centric event during the month. And lucky for Sacramento, organizations contacted were all in.

With more than 60 events planned, the community will have more than enough chances to participate in Photography Month Sacramento. From talks, films, seminars and workshops, amateurs, avid photographers, and art enthusiasts alike can find a way to be a part of the creative month.

The overwhelming positive response from local groups proves that now more than ever is the right time to bring an event of this kind to the region.


Roberta McClellan, Event Director of Photography Month Sacramento and Executive Director of Viewpoint Photographic Art Center.


“All too often artists and arts organizations feel isolated in their work and they shouldn’t. We have the talent, exhibit space, and lab facilities available in Sacramento, but there needed to be a way to put all of these elements together. With Photography Month Sacramento, we’re doing that,” say McClellan. “The high level of participation was a welcomed surprise.”

The inaugural festival is a true testament of the power of collaboration. With a shoestring budget, a small but mighty docent-driven organization (led by a seasoned part-time executive director no less) has been able to galvanize the photographic arts community to think big and work together.

McClellan’s advice for people who want to build a region-wide effort like Photography Month Sacramento? “Start early, surround yourself with good people, share your idea with trusted confidants and gauge its reception. If you get a lot of push-back, maybe it’s not quite the right time for your vision.”

Although Photography Month has just begun, McClellan is already thinking about its future. Viewpoint hopes to put on the festival every two years and use the festival to better connect Sacramento photographers with the rest of Northern California.

“After this go around, I’m planning to reach out to larger markets (San Francisco, San Jose, etc.) to see if there’s an interest to merge efforts and discover ways to improve our festival model. SoCal has a great photography festival culture and we deserve that up here.”

But while we are in 2018, McClellan and the rest of her Photography Month Sacramento partners are laser focused on growing the community’s appreciation for the ever popular art form over the next 30 days.

“Building an appreciation for photography — for all of its aspects — is necessary for the success of this festival. Hopefully the community will learn that is more to photography than pointing a camera and taking a picture. Having a great subject matter is key, but really understanding the science and art that goes into it is important and much harder than it looks,” say McClellan. “When you see a picture that’s alluring but can’t explain why, a photographer knows.”


Photo by Marcus McCather.


Not sure how to plan out your Photography Month Sacramento experience? McClellan has a few recommendations to get you started:

For the photography enthusiast:

Preston Castle Photography Day | April 15 at Preston Castle
Roam Preston Castle at your own pace with your camera in hand on this special open photography day!

Sutter’s Fort Curator Talk | April 18 at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
Nancy Jenner, curator of Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park and the State Indian Museum, will present about the first curator at Sutter’s Fort in the early 1900s, Harry Peterson, and how his photography impacts the Fort’s preservation efforts today.

Trains and Tripods: Live Learning Photography Seminar and Workshop | April 20 & 21 at California State Railroad Museum
Experienced photographers know the difficulties of shooting in a typical museum setting with crowds, lighting issues and confined conditions. This will not be the case at this special Canon Live Learning workshop when attendees have the entire Museum at their disposal before and after regular business hours.

Locke Delta Landscape Photography Workshop | April 21 in Historic Locke
From levee to orchard, from road to water, there are endless visual possibilities close to Locke. Photographer James Motlow will lead a workshop and tour of the areas around Locke.

The first hour will be a discussion of landscape photography followed by two hours of exploring and shooting. The final hour will be a time to discuss images taken during the workshop.


Public Domain Image


For the avid photographer:

Mammoth Wet-Plate Darkroom Bus and Camera Demo by Luther Gerlach | April 14 at American River College
Luther Gerlach is one of the photographers responsible for the resurgence of wet-plate collodion photography in contemporary art. He travels the world in a converted darkroom bus for mammoth plates and created the only existing see-through, functional camera and darkroom chamber where small plates are shot and processed right before your eyes.

Portfolio Review and Publishing: Hands On Approach from a Publishers Perspective with Michael Itkoff | April 15 at Viewpoint Photographic Art Center
Creating a strong portfolio is a must for any aspiring professional photographer to showcase their best and most up-to-date work. In this two-part workshop, Michael Itkoff will help demystify the process of publishing and the photography book-making process and provide direct access to publishers.

Coffee with Carolyn Russo | April 26 at Aerospace Museum of California
Join in for coffee and conversation with Carolyn Russo, the photographer behind the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, Art of the Airport Tower. Russo’s 50 striking photographs on display reveal the architectural, cultural, and technological significance of each featured airport tower.

This series is also the first installation to be shown in the McClellan Gallery.


Learn more about these and other festival events on the Photography Month Sacramento calendar page.


Photo courtesy of Viewpoint Photographic Art Center.


Disclaimer: Sacramento365 is the event calendar partner for Photography Month Sacramento.