Art + Culture

Guest Post: United Photo Industries on its Inaugural Year

This week’s guest post comes to us from longtime members of the DUMBO art scene and founders of United Photo Industries, one of DUMBO’s newest galleries.

Before we begin, some introductions are in order: We here at United Photo Industries (UPI) have individually – as well as collectively – been part of the DUMBO community for over 4 years and quite frankly, we wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else in New York City. The brainchild of Dave Shelley, Sam Barzilay, and Laura Roumanos, UPI was formed over countless cups of coffee throughout the neighborhood, and late-night drinks at Superfine. Through many twists and turns, we found ourselves walking into 111 Front Street, Suite 204 – DUMBO’s Gallery Row. Two months later, here we are, on our 8th show of the season, and the paint is barely dry.

Our mission is a simple one: as a Brooklyn-born, art-presenting cooperative, we are dedicated to identifying, harnessing, and occasionally conjuring, unexpected exhibition opportunities. Our goal? To promote and showcase emerging photographers, and to explore new thematic directions in photography through curated exhibitions both locally – at our Gallery Headquarters in DUMBO, Brooklyn – and as site-specific projects around the world.

In its first six months, UPI successfully produced two major exhibitions for the Athens Photo Festival, converted numerous shipping containers into unorthodox, temporary, exhibition spaces for the DUMBO Arts Festival, and marked the launch of its gallery space with 7 shows in 7 days

This Friday, January 20 at 6pm, we will be hosting an artist reception to celebrate the work of Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman and their show “Geolocation: Tributes to the Data Stream”, a collaborative body of work that examines virtual communication and its impact on physical encounters.

For this work, Nate and Marni mine the public time line of tweets for those with GPS coordinates, then mark the locations with a photograph, including the original tweet below the image. Each of these photographs is taken on the site of the update and paired with the originating text. We follow these strangers through their Twitter updates, becoming intimately involved in their banal daily errands. Like a historical marker on the side of the highway, these photographs interrupt a historical narrative, that of the Twitter public timeline. The show runs till January 28.

But this is only the beginning. A few days later, we will have our first of two February openings for our upcoming photo invitational “It’s a Thin Line Between Love and Hate” – exploring the twinned themes of “LOVE” and “HATE”. “LOVE” will be part of the DUMBO First Thursday Gallery Walk on February 2nd and “HATE” will then open on Friday, February 16 (6pm).

Our plan for UPI HQ in DUMBO is to start building a community of not just photography lovers but arts lovers at large. Sign up on our website so you can get ongoing updates for what we are up to, whether it’s an opening of a show, a special arts event, or just a get together for the DUMBO arts community. We never slow down, the doors are always open for visitors, and we look forward to meeting you soon.


Sam, Dave, & Laura