By Erin McFaul
Photographer and Dana Point resident Christopher Bliss brings the grandiose New York skyline and intricate architecture of Europe to the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach with his display of photographs.
The festival’s long history of showcasing work from Orange County’s esteemed artists led Bliss to apply as an exhibitor 25 years ago. Bliss said artists undergo a selective jurying process that requires them to submit samples of their work to be reviewed by a panel of judges.
In his quarter of a century history of participation in the festival, one theme runs throughout his displays—New York City.
Growing up in Long Island, Bliss walked around the bustling city with a camera in his hand. From the towering skyline to bright lights on city streets, Bliss’s fascination with capturing the heart of New York took root.
With his permanent residence now in Dana Point, Bliss continues to return to New York City at least four times a year to document the city’s changes through his camera lens. With skyscrapers constantly joining the skyline, Bliss said there is always something new that captures his attention.
“The whole city has changed dramatically,” Bliss said. “Every time I go there’s something new.”
His photography of “the city that never sleeps” has accumulated in a series of photo books and calendars. Bliss said he is currently working on his next New York photo book that will be released sometime in 2018.
Bliss’s display at this year’s Festival of Arts will feature one of his signature New York pieces as well as pieces that span the European continent. At least once a year Bliss leaves Dana Point to take photos of international architecture. Bliss said through his photography career he has visited almost every major city in Europe.
In large four-foot-five-inch frames, Bliss said his exhibit displays photographs of his travels that include Istanbul, Venice and Rome.
“I usually try to find pictures that have the most appeal and that I think most people will react to,” Bliss said.
Festival of Arts provides Bliss with the opportunity to speak with Southern Californians about his work. As a long time exhibitor, Bliss said the reaction each year from attendees has been wonderful.
“Whenever I’m there, people come up to me and ask all kinds of questions about my photography and the work that I have hanging up there,” Bliss said. “It’s a good place to meet people and talk about my work.”
More than 100 local artists, including Bliss, will continue to showcase their work at Festival of Arts until Thursday, Aug. 31. Attendees can purchase artwork, participate in workshops and listen to live music. Admission prices vary by day and begin at $8 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors.
The Festival is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.