Flash Forward Festival 2015 Spotlights Standout Photography

Events will take place April 24 through May 3, and 'The Fence' will once again grace the Rose Kennedy Greenway.


Photos by (from left to right) Row 1: Angélica Dass, Daesung Lee, Jerry Takigawa, Gary Samson; Row 2: Jon Gitelson, Gregor Schmatz, Gabriele Galimberti, Alexandra Montilla; Row 4: Nancy Grace Horton, Thad Russell, Michelle Groskopf, Flash Forward / Courtesy of Flash Forward Festival

John Keats was right—a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Or at least for 10 days, in the case of the 2015 Flash Forward Festival. This weekend, the popular photography series returns to Boston for a fifth year to spotlight stunning works by talented artists from around the world—photographers who all, shall we say, put their best flash forward.

The festival, which only lasted four days in 2014, comprises more than a dozen free exhibits, talks, and other programs around the city from Friday, April 24, through May 3. Highlights include outdoor shows at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and exhibits at the Battery Wharf Hotel, the festival’s home base since launching in Boston in 2011.

Among the popular returning programs is The Fence, a lengthy series of photos displayed along the Greenway. This year, there will be two parts: the Photoville Fence and a special New England Photographers Fence. Flash Forward Festival director MaryAnn Camilleri estimates The Fence will be about 900 feet long this year.

There’s no shortage of programming to check out for Flash Forward 2015, but for those not sure where to start, here are Camilleri’s top five picks:


Photos by Tomas van Houtryve / Courtesy of Flash Forward Festival

Blue Sky Days:
A Talk About Drone Photography

Stick a GoPro on a drone, and suddenly the world is your oyster to buzz around and capture. But there’s a dark side to the drone conversation, where tougher questions arise regarding privacy and warfare. Tomas van Houtryve’s “Blue Sky Days” project in 2013 explored these issues, published in Harper’s as the magazine’s longest photo essay in its 165-year history. April 29, 7-9 p.m., Central Bistro, 101 Arch St. #200, Boston.


Photos by (from left to right) Row 1: Brandon Dunning, Camilla Jerome, Hollis Johnson; Row 2: Lydia Mackela, Karen Mawikere, Kolin Perry; Row 3: Kathryn Riley, Will Russack, Mike Bodall / Courtesy of Flash Forward Festival

Undergraduate Photography Now (Part 3):
A Celebration of New England’s Best Student Photographers

For the third year, Flash Forward celebrates emerging photographers by featuring juniors and seniors enrolled in New England college photography programs. The 18 photographers whose works appear in the 2015 exhibit hail from NESOP, BC, the SMFA, Emerson, MassArt, and more. Opening reception April 24, 5-8 p.m., on view through May 4, 530 Harrison Ave., Boston.


Photos by (from left to right), Row 1: Claire Beckett, Camilo Ramirez; Row 2: Dayna Rochell, Forest Kelley / Courtesy of Flash Forward Festival

The Gun Show

Here, Flash Forward presents works by 13 New England photographers whose pictures include the presence of firearms, whether they are fire ranges, forearms, or water guns. The exhibit is neither in favor of nor against guns, but rather a conversation starter about the presence of guns in our everyday visual lives. Opening reception May 1, 6-9 p.m., on view April 24-May 4, Fort Point Arts Community Gallery, 300 Summer St., Boston.


Photos by Bill Brett / Courtesy of Flash Forward Festival

Boston: Irish

Noted Boston photographer Bill Brett’s new book has more than 260 black-and-white photos that capture the city’s Irish-American community. Among his many subjects are a 99-year-old nun, a colorful funeral home director, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Brett will discuss the new book at a talk and signing on April 27 at Emerson College. Opening reception May 2, 7-10 p.m., on view April 27-May 4, Main Floor, 2 Battery Wharf, Boston.


Photo by Nick Schietromo / Courtesy of Flash Forward Festival

Festival Closing Party

Six shipping containers with works by Gregor Schmatz, Daesung Lee, and David Magnusson will be on display, in addition to The Fence. May 3, 12-4 p.m., Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston.

Finally, a notable new additional to the Flash Forward Festival this year is the Flash Forward Incubator Program for high schoolers at Gallery 555 on May 2. The exhibition and silent auction will raise money for a scholarship prize, which will be awarded to one of the students that same day.


The 2015 Flash Forward Festival takes place April 24 through May 3 at various venues around the city. See detailed schedules at flashforwardfestival.com.