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Women lead at the 2018 Cortona on the Move festival

From Getting Closer, Becoming Mother: About Intimacy and Family © Elinor Carucci

"My small contribution is to acknowledge the numerous women photographers who tread the world to tell stories; to give them space and make them protagonists," says artistic director Arianna Rinaldo

From 12 July to 30 September, the hillside town of Cortona in Tuscany will be transformed into an international festival of photography for the eighth edition of Cortona On The Move. Founded in 2011 by a small but ambitious group of friends who wanted to bring the photography community to the region, the festival has quickly grown into an industry favourite over the years with an impressive programme of exhibitions, talks and events housed in beautiful locations across the historic town.

Faithful to its ‘on the move’ motto, the festival’s mission is to seek out new approaches to form and content. “Contemporaneity and novelty are our keywords,” says the festival’s artistic director, Arianna Rinaldo. “We are interested in how contemporary documentary photography is embracing other formats and allowing stories to be told in multiple, non-static visions.”

This edition sees the inauguration of Arena – Video and Beyond, a new programme element that presents experimental video, installations and multi-platform work, acknowledging the shift in the medium towards new, hybrid forms of storytelling. Curated by Screen Projects, pioneers in the field, the first edition revolves around the theme of ‘Otherness’.

Every year, Cortona On The Move has a focus, and this time it reflects the festival’s mission more directly than before by placing the spotlight on female photographers. “My selection is never a list of ‘favourites’, but rather involves an attempt to listen to what is happening around me, globally, both on a political, social and economic level, as well as in the field of photography itself,” says Rinaldo.

“These past months, women and women’s issues have been at the forefront of discussion in various fields, often in the news and even more on the street – protesting, resisting, demanding. My small contribution to this ‘movement’ is to acknowledge the numerous women photographers who tread the world to tell stories; to give them space and make them protagonists.”

Self-portrait with pancakes, from the series Puree with a taste of Triangles. Russia, 2014 © Alena Zhandarova

With exhibitions at the new locations of Palazzo Capannelli, and the Medici fortress of Girifalco, the scope of these protagonists and their work is wide and diverse. From the personal portrayal of motherhood in Elinor Carucci’s Getting Closer, Becoming Mother: About Intimacy and Family to an evocative rumination on the Syrian civil war told through the stories of women’s bodies in Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Tanya Habjouqa, the projects speak to both the universal and the particular of women’s experience.

The Red Road Project, a long-term investigation into the marginalisation of Native American culture, by Carlotta Cardana and Danielle SeeWalker previously featured in BJP, will also be on view, as will BJP-featured projects Blood Speaks: A Ritual of Exile by Poulomi Basu; The Island of the Colorblind by Sanne De Wilde; Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantanamo Bay by Debi Cornwall; and Fallout by Sim Chi Yin.

Further exhibitions include #instagrampier by Pierfrancesco Celada, the winning entry from last year’s Happiness On The Move prize, and two site-specific commissions: one exploring the Granducale di Montecchio estate by Simon Roberts, the other the Valdichiana Outlet Village by Massimo Vitali. In addition to the core exhibitions, Cortona On The Move has teamed up with various international partners to provide a platform for photographers through three open calls, a programme of portfolio reviews and a summer school.

Cortona on the Move is on show from 12 July to 30 September in Cortona, Tuscany, Italy cortonaonthemove.com This article was first published in the July issue of BJP.

Evereta and her Mustang. When Evereta Thinn, 30, entered college as the only Native American in her English class, she realised that she needed to speak up and not be that stereotypical “shy” Indian that keeps to herself. She works as an administrator at School District on the Navajo Nation and aspires to start a language and cultural immersion school for the Diné (Navajo) people © Carlotta Cardana

Smoke Break, from Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantanamo Bay © Debi Cornwall

From Under Pressure © Guia Besana

From Revising History © Jennifer Greenburg

From the series Blood Speaks: A Ritual of Exile © Poulomi Basu

From Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots © Tanya Habjouqa

Abdallah rides his horse at dusk, a few days after a truce was announced and Operation pillar of Defense ended. Earlier in the week, riding on the beach would have been impossible due to the war. Abdallah works with his brother, together they perform on horseback in weddings and parties across, just like their father used to do. When asked about his future dreams and aspirations he says: To stay with my horse all the time, all my life © Loulou d’Aki, winner of the Photobook Dummy Prize 2017

From #instagrampier © Pierfrancesco Celad, winner of the Happiness on the Move Award 2017