David Valdez had—and continues to have—an extraordinary career in photography. With President George H.W. Bush and the Disney Corporation on his resume, it is no wonder the first Georgetown Photography Festival surpassed even David’s own expectations for participation and attendance.
“There are several photography festivals in the U.S. and it was a natural fit for Georgetown. It was my plan, and my mission, to have professionals from all over come to Georgetown, take photos of our beautiful city, and share them with the world.”
David partnered with co-host Mickie Ross, Executive Director of the Williamson Museum, and set up exhibits at businesses around the Square. “People from all over Texas came to the show. I hoped people who were tired of SXSW and Austin, which was the same week, would have a great reason to visit us. At the festival opening, we counted 700 visitors, with many waiting outside. ”
The great draw of the festival is professional exhibits at many local businesses, which means shop owners have native and tourist customers who want to eat, drink and shop, then spend the night. “It is a win for everyone in Georgetown,” David says. “We had people from Dallas, Austin, and as far as Chicago, and they all meant revenue and no cost to the City.”
For the 2020 festival, Mickie and the Museum have provided space at the Historic Courthouse for additional exhibits. Her expansion will also allow the photographers to hold classes, which are open to the public. Tickets will be available on the museum website, with some of the proceeds returned to the museum.
Some of the featured photographers for 2020:
- Dawn Richardson, a top Instagram photographer;
- Pulitzer Prize runner-up Don Rypka;
- Anna Kraft, a local artist who celebrates families and the women who create them in high-end portraits;
- Todd Plybon, a combat veteran, science teacher, and woodcraft artisan;
- Shauna Thayer, has her studio on the Square. She does fine-art portraiture and teaching photography as well.
David has scheduled several photo walks in and around the Square throughout the day. Photographers will act as guides to answer technical or composition questions. “Last year we expected a few interested shutterbugs, but we wound up with 85 on the day,” David says. “All skill and experience levels are welcome to participate, even iPhone photographers, rain or shine.”
Photos from any and all visitors may be posted and tagged on Instagram. David says he will post professional submissions as well for a great look back at all the events.
“I do it because I love photography and love to share that love. Capturing great images is for everyone; you don’t have to be great at it to be good at it.”
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