As a general rule, I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of the arts and leisure world in the Upper Delaware River region, but with the planet having tilted on its axis of late, …
As a general rule, I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of the arts and leisure world in the Upper Delaware River region, but with the planet having tilted on its axis of late, I’m a little behind the eight ball. These days, I have to rely on my legions of fans (all three of you) to keep me informed, which helps to bolster the illusion that I know a little bit about a lot of things.
Amidst the world-on-its-axis hubbub, a press release regarding the Narrowsburg Union’s upcoming exhibition and new photography curator, Krystal Grow, had escaped my attention, but as soon as I heard, I sent an email to Grow to request an interview. “Thanks for reaching out! I’d be happy to set up a time to chat,” Grow wrote in response... and here we are. But first, I did a little homework—meaning I went online and read her bio, which in part, has this to say: “Krystal Grow is a writer, photo editor, producer and curator. In 2015, she joined the Global Picture Desk at Getty Images as a photo editor and currently works as an Assignment Specialist managing coverage and production logistics for some of Getty’s most high profile clients and events.”
“Wow,” I thought. “That’s an impressive resumé.” Delving further I learned that Grow’s work has appeared in American Photography, WIRED and the New York Times Lens blog and that she has worked with United Photo Industries to “produce multiple events, exhibitions and public programs for Photoville, the largest public photography festival in the country.”
Learning that she recently moved from Brooklyn to Barryville, NY with her wife, Naomi Scott, the Director of Creative and Development at Beggars Group, I felt prepared to ask Grow a few pertinent questions.
JCF: “So, who are you?”
KG: [laughing] “That’s a very good question. I’m a lifelong photography lover. I’ve curated a lot of shows and I’m a new resident of Barryville, so there’s that.
JCF: Which came first, the job, or the move?
KG: The move. Naomi and I bought a house here last November. We were living in Brooklyn, and although we luckily still have our jobs in the city, we’ve been working from our new home in Barryville since March. There are a lot of people who don’t have that option and we certainly don’t take our good fortune for granted. We’re here, and we want to be a part of the community. The first thing I wanted to do was connect with the photo community up here. That’s how I feel I can get involved.
JCF: How did you wind up at the Union?
KG: I contacted [Union co-owner] Kathy Weiden about renting office space and possibly setting up a photo lab, maybe a community darkroom, with the intention of getting other photographers involved. Kathy was very excited about that and asked me about my experience curating exhibits, expressing interest in getting me involved with shows at the Union.
I thought about that and what a show now [during a pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval and police brutality] would look like. I wondered how people are using photography to express what they are seeing and feeling in their own lives and how we might be able to share their [visual] stories, told through the lens of a camera. Kathy was enthused and said “Let’s do it.”
JCF: The upcoming show is called “People and Places: Photography as Observation.” What does that mean?
KG: The exhibition will be centered around photographic representations of people and places at a time of immense change, disruption and uncertainty. I’m hoping that the show will debut in early October.
JCF: With all of the work involved [slogging through submissions, contacting the photographers, mounting the exhibit] that sounds ambitious.
KG: [laughing] I am nothing if not ambitious.
JCF: So all of the selected work will be from local photographers?
KG: One thing that I think is important is that we have visiting artists as well, and I’ve included two special photographers from Providence, Rhode Island who recently took a cross-country road trip photographing the American Landscape and their view of what the world looks like in today’s climate. So I’ve invited them to participate, come to the Union, talk about their work and meet some of the local artists. I think it’s important for artists in this community to build relationships with others outside of it as well.
JCF: On a different note, what do you think of Barryville?
KG: I really like it, it’s a big change from Brooklyn of course. There’s a wonderful sense of community here, and it’s nice to get involved. Whether it’s in my personal or professional life, I come from a place of wanting to connect with community, and photography has a special place in my heart. Photography is what you see, and I think now everything has an added level of importance.
JCF: Can anybody submit work for the show?
KG: Absolutely: I’m encouraging everybody who’s interested to participate, especially young people. I want to be all-inclusive.
JCF: Sounds great! Speaking on behalf of the community on both sides of the river... Welcome to the neighborhood!
For more information on the Narrowsburg Union and how to submit work for “People and Places: Photography as Observation” visit www.narrowsburgunion.com/union-galleries.
Fun Fact : “Behind the eight ball” means placed in a difficult situation from which one is unlikely to escape. The idiom was first printed in American newspaper stories in the 1920s and was derived from the game of pool.