Interior view of repurposed shipping container used as a gallery at Photoville via Mad Hatters NYC blog.

Through the Lens: Inside Brooklyn’s Photoville (Or How to Win at Date Night)

Lynn and I have been married for a number of years. When we started this blog, we really had no idea what kind of journey we were embarking on. The path has been one with many surprises, but one of the unexpected happy side effects is that we get to go on a lot of dates. Coffee dates, museum dates, let’s-try-something-new dates. Dates where we jump in a car or hop on a plane. Some dates still end up being duds, but when an event is going to check off a lot of boxes, we know the odds we’ll have a good time improve significantly. And Photoville checks off a lot of boxes.

Shipping container with colorful interior and photos displayed on the wall at Photoville in Brooklyn via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Open doors to shipping containers with posters detailing exhibitors at Photoville in Brooklyn via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Bright tent for Lost Rolls vendor at Photoville in Brooklyn via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Colorful posters on the door of a shipping container at Photoville in Brooklyn via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Now in its seventh year, Photoville is the largest annual photographic event in New York City. Free and open to the public (all ages and pet-friendly), this immersive festival-style photography event presented by United Photo Industries showcases the work of over 600 visual artists, in conjunction with over 100 curatorial partners. It offers photographers of all stripes the opportunity to come together and interact with a large, diverse audience.

Some of the Photoville’s highlights include nighttime projection programs and hands-on workshops for all skill levels. There’s a beer garden with a range of food vendors supported by Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Brewery. For those interested in learning more about the craft, there are panel discussions and talks. Gearheads can attend one of the many demonstrations. For all-ages fun, there’s a community photo book store and family-friendly photo activities.

Crowds wander around the shipping container displays at Photoville in Brooklyn via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Crowd sitting on the lawn under the bridge watching a nighttime presentation at Photoville in Brooklyn via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

View of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park at sunset via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

From ReSisters: Behind the Scenes of The Women’s March by Kisha Bari at Photoville in Brooklyn via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
From ReSisters: Behind the Scenes of The Women’s March by Kisha Bari

As in previous years, Photoville is located in Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). The plaza under the bridge transforms into an incredible modular network of galleries consisting of more than 65 repurposed shipping containers. You can wander the maze of containers and peruse the work of talented visual artists from around the world. Subjects can range from cultural exploration to current events. At night, string lights cast a warm glow over the space. And as always, the views of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park are spectacular.

So let’s recap. Enjoy the outdoors during the last few days of summer? Check. See some truly amazing art? Check. Eat and drink to your heart’s content? Check. Catch some insane views? Check. FREE? Check, check, check. If you’re looking for a date night idea–with your wife, your Insta-loving BFF or your photo-obsessed Dad–pay Photoville a visit.

To prep for your visit, check out our calendar for additional details and links.

Photoville runs through two weekends: September 13-16 and September 20-23.

Pair it with:

A meal at Buttermilk Channel

Interior of Buttermilk Channel restaurant via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Heirloom Bean Stew Buttermilk Channel restaurant via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Heirloom Bean Stew
Short Rib Hash at Buttermilk Channel restaurant via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Short Rib Hash
Buttermilk Biscuits at Buttermilk Channel restaurant via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Buttermilk Biscuits

Depending upon when you visit Photoville, you may choose the path of least resistance and silence your hunger pangs with the Smorgasburg food vendors at the festival. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you’re looking to take your date into special event territory, you can’t go wrong with Buttermilk Channel.

Buttermilk Channel celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, but the love for this restaurant is still going strong. (It’s a favorite of Beyonce’s.) This quaint Carroll Gardens eatery serves fantastic comfort food, whether you’re looking for brunch or dinner. Think buttermilk fried chicken and cheddar waffles, hearty egg dishes, sturdy biscuits, juicy burgers–all done to perfection. They take reservations for dinner, but you’ll have to show up early to avoid a wait at brunch. Believe me, it’s worth it.

524 Court St

Monday–Thursday: 11:30 am–3 pm, 5 pm–10 pm
Friday: 11:30 am–3 pm, 5 pm–11:30 pm
Saturday: 10 am–3 pm, 5 pm–11:30 pm
Sunday: 10 am–3 pm, 5 pm–10 pm

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Pinterest pin, with the text "A Look Inside Photoville: New York City's Largest Photography Event" with three vertical rows of poloroids from an exhibit at Photoville 2017 via Mad Hatters NYC blog.


– J.

14 thoughts on “Through the Lens: Inside Brooklyn’s Photoville (Or How to Win at Date Night)”

  1. Thanks, guys! I always miss Photoville for some weird reason or other. This year my mission is to catch it no matter what. My brother loves that event and Buttermilk Channel. The posters have been up since June just to make sure that everyone knows the deal! Thanks for reminding me again.

    1. Hey Trudy! Well, if we manage to remind folks of events like these, then we have done are jobs. It’s a lot of fun wandering through the maze of shipping containers, never knowing what the next exhibit will bring. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much last year that we lost track of time (super easy to do) and spent much more time than we had even anticipated at the festival. As for Buttermilk Channel, I was salivating as I prepped the pics for the post. I could so go for some of those biscuits right now!

  2. I never knew this existed but am definitely going to go this year – especially now that I’m venturing more into the photography side of things. Looking forward to checking it out – ESPECIALLY since it’s Charlie-friendly! 😉

    1. Lauren! Thanks for checking out the post. You know, when I added that info, it was 100% directed at you and Charlie. What a great series of photos THAT would be. I can see it now: Charlie gazing up at various works of art with that skeptical expression on his face. 🙂

  3. Over the last few years I’ve managed to miss Photoville!! Hope to go this year.
    Your photos are simply beautiful. Also loving the new addition of the calendar to your blog. Love the suggestion of pairing Photoville with Buttermilk Channel’s Buttermilk biscuits and more!

    1. Hi Tara! Thanks for dropping by our blog and leaving a comment. We’re thrilled that we are able to bring Photoville to your attention, and hope you and Ashwin go and enjoy yourselves. The calendar is a work in progress, but we’re happy with the early responses. We’ll keep filling it with upcoming events in the hopes that it becomes a resource for everyone. Buttermilk Channel is a cute place with tasty food, more than deserving of its good reputation. 😉

    1. Hi Cynthia! We wish you could make it back for Photoville, too. We’re occasionally getting some cooler evenings now, so it should be perfect weather for it by then. And we’d even share a biscuit with you. 😉

  4. Well, too bad for me, I’m never in the area when this is happening. It does sound like fun – exhausting fun! 😉
    Your coffee post isn’t loading – can’t find the page window keeps coming up – I hope to see it at some point!

    1. Hey Lynn! Justin here. Photoville is definitely exhausting fun! It’s unfortunate that you won’t be around for it. As for the coffee post, that will be forthcoming. The publication–a draft–was premature and entirely the fault of a Homer Simpson “D’oh!” moment I had.

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