Breakthrough: An Amateur Photography Revolution, which opened Friday at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery (SFACG), is a thoroughly engaging show. Don’t go looking for fabulous prints—what you have here are value-added Web search results, nicely produced for the exhibition by Electric Works, but still informal images. What you will see are interesting curatorial approaches. At least eight curators are involved here, and as they sieved the Web they revealed their highly individual minds.

The South Gallery showcases JPG Magazine, a smart publication with an editorial cycle that invites readers to post images on certain themes, then moves the pics selected by viewers as the best of the online pool into print. SFACG curator Meg Schiffler and Electric Works’ co-owner Noah Lang looked at 3200JPG Magazine images—twice—to select the images produced for the exhibition. They preserved a stunning degree of diversity while coming up with photos that relate to each other in offbeat ways.

In the North Gallery, six artists and curators dived into the ocean of images posted to Flckr, emerging with image-sets that reflect their individual interests. My favorite was a unpretentious set of squirrels put together by artist Rebeca Bollinger, but every set had something to recommend it. In addition to Bollinger, the curators included Heather Champ, Joseph del Pesco, Chuck Mobley, Renny Pritikin, and Terri Whitlock.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a panel discussion “Are We All Photographers Now?,” moderated by Thom Sempere, will be held Thursday, May 31, 6:00 - 7:30 pm, in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Public Library. Panelists include J.D. Beltran, Artist; Caterina Fake, Co- Founder, Flickr; Deanne Fitzmaurice, Photojournalist /Pulitzer Prize recipient, San Francisco Chronicle; and Derek Powazek, Founder/Editor,JPG Magazine.

Image:  A Flickr interactive artist’s project by Takashi Matsumoto & Sho Hashimoto, on view in the closet gallery of the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery as part of Breakthrough.

- Meredith Tromble [Sunday, April 22nd, 2007]


From the editors