The PGH Photo Fair provides informative talks on photography at a variety of venues in Pittsburgh leading up to each edition of the fair. The series aims to augment the already rich art and photography scene in Pittsburgh with speakers who will focus on the nuts and bolts of collecting including connoisseurship, the state of the art, and an insider's view of the market.

The Speaker Series takes place each winter leading up to the Fair in late April. All events are free and at the Ace Hotel Ballroom. After each lecture, everyone is invited to stay for drinks at the hotel bar.


Antwaun Sargent Headshot.jpeg

Wednesday February 20th
Antwaun Sargent

6:30pm-7:30pm (doors at 6pm)
Ace Hotel Ballroom

Antwaun Sargent is a writer and critic living and working in New York City. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Nation, W,  Aperture, Vice and various museum publications including Mickalene Thomas, Arthur Jafa and Ed Clark exhibition catalogs. Recently he co-curated the Aperture Foundation exhibition, "The Way We Live Now," and has lectured and been in conversation with artists at Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver and the Art Gallery of Toronto. He is currently working on a photography book that will be published by Aperture in the fall.

Wednesday March 20th

headshot graphic.png

Panel discussion featuring Nancy L. Lane, Joe Baio, and Ellen Kessler

6:30pm-7:30pm (doors at 6pm)
Ace Hotel Ballroom

Nancy Lane is the former Vice President of Johnson&Johnson and a collector of photography. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University and an MPA from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Her photography collection is comprised of work by notable artists, including Carrie Mae Weems, Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Rashid Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, and many others. She has served as a board member at various institutions such as the International Center of Photography, the Harvard Art Museums, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She also served as the co-chair of The Stieglitz Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art Photography department; is currently a member of the Board of Visitors of the Photography Department at the Met; and has been a board member at the Studio Museum in Harlem since 1973.

Joe Baio practices law in New York City.  He has been collecting photography since 1989 for the pure joy of it.

Ellen Kessler received a BA from Penn State University and an MA from the University of New Mexico with degrees in Communications.  During and after graduate school she worked briefly in television news as a reporter, and weekend sports anchor in Albuquerque, New Mexico before moving to Los Angeles where she worked in marketing and media.  She returned to Pittsburgh to become the Advertising and PR Director for Interstate Hotels Corp. Ellen has been a volunteer and leader at several local organizations and has served on many local boards including Winchester Thurston School, The Children’s Institute, The Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh.  Today in addition to being the Chair of the Board of the Carnegie Museum of Art and a Trustee of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, she is also on the board of Steeltown Entertainment and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Ellen is married to Jack Kessler, an attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney. They have two grown children and passionately enjoy collecting contemporary art and photography.


Wednesday April 17th

Anne Tucker in conversation with Linda Benedict-Jones

6:30pm-7:30pm (doors at 6pm)
Ace Hotel Ballroom
Co-hosted by Concept Gallery

Anne Wilkes Tucker is the curator emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, having, in 1976, become founding curator of the photography department for which she acquired over 30,000 photographs made on all seven continents. She curated or co-curated over 40 exhibitions, most with accompanying catalogues, including surveys on the Czech Avant-garde, a history of Japanese photography, and a history of war photography as well as exhibitions with catalogues on works of Robert Frank, Brassai, Catherine Wagner, Joel Sternfeld, Richard Misrach, Ray Metzker, Louis Faurer, George Krause, and Chen Changfan. Published and soon-to-be published interviews with photographers include Erika Diettes, Mark Klett, and Brad Temkin. She has also contributed articles to over 150 magazines, books and other catalogues and has lectured throughout the North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Her honors, fellowships, and awards include being selected as “American’s Best Curator” by Time Magazine in 2001 in an issue devoted to America’s Best as well as Randolph-Macon Woman's College’s, Alumnae Achievement Award in 1993. She has been a trustee of FotoFest since 1990 and the Philip and Edith Leonian Foundation since 2016 and served as a trustee of Randolph College between 2008 - 2018.

Linda Benedict-Jones is an independent curator based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In 2015, she retired from Carnegie Museum of Art where she was the first curator of photography.  Prior to this, she was executive director of Silver Eye Center for Photography. She has also served as curator of education at The Frick Pittsburgh and has taught courses in the history of photography at Carnegie Mellon University for 18 years, from 1999 to 2017. Before moving to Pittsburgh in 1993, Benedict-Jones was curator of the Polaroid Collection and director of Polaroid’s Clarence Kennedy Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  In 1982, she earned a Master’s Degree in Visual Studies from M.I.T.