Photo forum brings conversation to tech based world

Every month, Open Show brings together photographers and audiences to do something that isn’t so common these days: converse in person.

“Today’s world, contentwise, you see all this stuff. The media cycle is so fast and the content being generated is so huge, people can’t take it in,” says Tim Wagner, founder of Open Show, which comes to RayKo Photo Center in The City on Sept. 20.

This month’s presenters include Jason C.H. Burton, David Herron, Lianne Milton, John Martin and Sam Wolson. Previous notable participants include Richard Koci-Hernandez, a journalism professor at UC Berkeley, Emmy Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee; and Dai Sugano, Emmy-winning photojournalist and senior multimedia editor at the San Jose Mercury News.

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Wagner, a San Francisco-based tech consultant, came up with the idea for a photographers’ showcase in 2008 and started a small forum for people to share their work and get feedback.

It evolved into what is now Open Show, an “event-in-a-box” model featuring regular events in various venues across the Bay Area.

“The minimum thing we really require is for someone to unlock the door, turn on the lights and ideally have 50 to 150 chairs. That’s it,” Wagner says. “We promote the space, we create all the content, we clean up, we set up, there’s nothing the venue has to do, really.”

Now in 26 cities and 17 countries, Open Show has become a staple for both photographers and photography lovers.

Presenters may showcase either a 20-photo project or a film of up to eight minutes; they may debut new work or get feedback on a work in progress.

“It’s beneficial to a lot of folks. You get an audience, you get to look through people’s work and then you actually get a chance to interact,” Bay Area photographer Kirk Crippens says.

Crippens debuted his “Foreclosure U.S.A” series in 2009 at Open Show; it went on to other venues including the SFMOMA Artist Gallery.

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