MISSION Our mission is to celebrate the vision of extraordinary photographers, ignite conversations about critical issues, and foster the next generation of artists.

VISION As a nonprofit organization, LOOK3 challenges assumptions about photography by presenting diverse work by a variety of artists, developing innovative educational initiatives, and offering immersive community  events.

The backyard shows.

The backyard shows.

HISTORY In 1988, National Geographic photographer Michael Nichols began hosting an annual event in his backyard. Dubbed an evening of "peace, love, and photography," it was a place where anyone could come and show work. LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph was born from this 20-year grassroots initiative. Today, LOOK3 has grown into an internationally recognized venue for photographic excellence.

Our work is motivated by the resolute belief that substantive, provocative photography not only has the power to deepen awareness about the forces that shape our world—it can change it for the better. Guided by our nonprofit, noncommercial mission, we create public events and a mentorship program dedicated to photography. The LOOK3 Festival transforms the historic pedestrian center of downtown Charlottesville, Virginia into a public arts experience. In 2010 and 2014 LOOK3 produced LOOKbetween, the anchor event of the mentorship program, which fostered and celebrated international early-career photographers. 

LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation based in Charlottesville, Virginia, founded in 2006.


The LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph supports the established community priorities identified in the Create Charlottesville/Albemarle Cultural Plan. We encourage you to read over the plan and think about how you can contribute to the continued growth of Charlottesville's arts and culture community!


2016 Festival Team

Mary Virginia Swanson, Executive Director
Will May, Exhibitions Producer
Clare Stimpson, Production Assistant
Kaya Lee Berne, Production Assistant
Natasha Sienitsky, Development Associate
Alex Matzke, Education Coordinator
Helene Hamady, Communications Coordinator
Christian DeBaun, Volunteer Coordinator
Sarah Greene, Research Assistant
Andrea Barrios, Intern
Gwen Dilworth, Intern
Nikki Russell, Intern
Julia Willson, Intern


Michael Nichols
LOOK3 Founder; Former Editor-at-Large, 
National Geographic magazine
Jessica Nagle
LOOK3 Founder; Co-founder SNL Financial
Jon Golden
LOOK3 Founder; Professional Photographer
Vincent J. Musi
LOOK3 Master of Ceremonies; Professional Photographer
David Griffin
Owner, DGriffin Studio
Darlene Anderson
Development Advisor


Governing Board

Will Kerner, President
Professional Photographer
Brian Storm, Vice-President
Founder & Executive Producer, MediaStorm         
Lisa Draine, Treasurer

Curatorial Advisory Board

Yolanda Cuomo
Creative Director, Yolanda Cuomo Design
Melissa Harris
Editor-at-Large, Aperture Foundation
Gina Martin
National Geographic Creative
Kathy Ryan
Director of Photography, The New York Times Magazine
Scott Thode
Visuals Editor & Curator
Phillip Toledano
Conceptual Artist
Deborah Willis
Chair, Department of Photography and Imaging
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University



William Albert Allard, Eugene Richards & Janine Altongy, Dorothy Batten, Justin Black, Bonnie Briant, Cynthia Burke, Coran Capshaw, Alex Chadwick, Hunter Craig, Christian DeBaun, Chloe Delaney, Martin Gisborne, MaryAnne Golon, Ben Greenberg, Steve Winter & Sharon Guynup, David Alan Harvey, Richard Jackson, Jean-Francois Leroy, Brian Lewis, Sally Mann, Kristi Norgaard, Stan Marshall, Ross McDermott, Ed Montecalvo, Reba Peck, Tate Pray, Kate Ringo, Mike Sheras, Gabe Silverman, Justin Stailey, Rick Shaw, Scott Smith, Mary Tomasso, Shannon Wells, Evan Wilder, Smith & Ashley Williams.

Photo by Martin Gisborne

Photo by Martin Gisborne