Documentary, Festivals, Picture gallery

FORMAT Festival returns to Derby, UK from 15 March-14 April

For the last five years Casey Orr has photographed young women with a touring pop-up studio in 14 towns and cities across Britain. Each Saturday, traditionally a day of meeting and socialising in public spaces, I invited young women to have their portraits taken. Saturday Girl is a contemporary, playful and celebratory collection of portraits about the styles, tribe identities and desires of youth © Casey Orr

Held in a small city in Britain, FORMAT Festival has a big reputation for interesting international work; next year it's back with a special focus on truth and narrative in documentary photography

Derby is a small British city but once every two years it hosts a big event – the FORMAT Festival. Directed by the well-respected photography specialist Louise Fedotov-Clements and running since 2004, FORMAT has established a firm reputation for interesting international work, and FORMAT19 looks set to continue the good work with exhibitions spread across both Derby and another neighbouring city, Nottingham. Taking place next spring, FORMAT19 is themed FOREVER/NOW and takes on an interesting contemporary question – the role of documentary photography.

“In 2007, while the photography world was still grappling with the idea of photography as an interpretive, non-narrative, non-representational medium, writer Lucy Soutter wrote about the ‘expressive’ versus the ‘straight’ documentary photograph, insightfully characterising the then two sides of the debate,” runs the FORMAT19 press material.

“Since then photography has grown to encompass many manifestations of the ‘crooked’ image through hybrid forms and visual practises and no longer worries about narrative versus abstraction, expressive versus objective. The new generation of photographic artists rush towards the new, embracing the rapid transformation that technology and cultural exchanges bring to it.”

As such it’s not surprising to see that the lead exhibition, a group show titled Mutable/Multiple features the work of Max Pinckers, whose celebrated book Margins of Excess is a look at documentary photography in the ‘post-truth’ era. This show also includes work by Stefanie Moshammer, Amani Willett, Anne Golaz, Virginie Rebetez, and Edgar Martins and has been co- curated by Fedotov-Clements and Tim Clark to encourage “a further re-evaluation of the photographic narrative form”.

Maizi, Runcorn © Craig Easton, part of the project SIXTEEN

Other exhibitions in the festival include newly-commissioned work by Japanese artist Kensuke Koike, and exhibitions drawn from an open call which attracted 10,000 images from 47 countries; FORMAT19 will also host the premiere of SIXTEEN, a multimedia project that asked what it’s like to be 16 in Britain now. Put together by project director Craig Easton and editorial director Anne Braybon, SIXTEEN features work by sixteen photographers and film makers.

Also included is an exhibition of work by industrial photographer Maurice Broomfield curated by Martin Barnes, V&A senior curator of photographs, plus exhibitions by emerging photographers Camillo Pasquarelli, Sharbendu De, Lucia Sekerková, Synchrodogs, and Dylan Hausthor. Laura Pannack’s project Separation, which shows couples affected by the vote on Brexit and which was commissioned by BJP-linked organisation 1854 Media, will also be on show.

The festival opening weekend takes place from 14-17 March, and includes a Photo Book Market curated by Polycopies head honcho Sebastian Arthur Hau, a conference organised by the University of Derby, a portfolio review, and much more.

FORMAT19 is open from 15 March-14 April 2019 in venues across Derby and Nottingham. The opening weekend is from 15-17 March http://formatfestival.com

Orly South airport. From the series All watched over by machines of loving grace © Leah Gordon

Birth, Grayson Perry portrays Mother and Child © Richard Ansett

Angola Cotter. A Blurry Aftertaste focuses on the objects, activities and surfaces that belong to the domestic space, portrayed as an absurd and uncanny theatre defined by the creation of structures and the repetition of labour © Eleanora Agostini

Confiteor. A project looking at child abuse in Italy by members of the Roman Catholic priesthood © Tomaso Clavarino

Dreamatorium © Paulina Otylie Surys

Drunken Forrest Alaska, 2017. from the series Memories of the Future © Benedikt Partenheimer

Girls group, 11th Night Conway St bonfire celebrations, Protestant Loyalist Shankill area, Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 2017. From the series Themmuns © Jens Schwarz

What Photography has in Common with an Empty Vase. Commissioned by GRAIN Projects and in collaboration with HMP Birmingham. Supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University © Edgar Martins

Flowers, from the series If you have to go you still want to stay. The series became a record of the clearing out of Nina Röder’s grandparents’ house after their death. Through a series of surreal and absurd performances by her mother and cousin, made for the camera, her grandparents possessions were incorporated into a new memory, a celebration of their lives and a document of our own grief at losing them and our own past © Nina Röder

Impact, in search of [r]evolution uses the Juarassian independence movement’s archives and suggests connections between the physical expressions of the antagonists in relation to their held ideology. Employing a duality between icons and intimacies Aubrey creates a circular collective memory found in the images. The remains and iconographic traces of a tumultuous past remember the vigour of the fight © Zoe Aubry

Journey to the Interior. A two week trip throughout rural Washington and Oregon during the first two weeks of Trump’s Presidency of the USA. I began Journey to the Interior as a quest to find out about the state of the American Dream, the drive to go west and the ambitions of the ordinary man and to satisfy my own curiosity with the rural landscapes and towns of my home on the Pacific Northwest. I went into these places with the intention of understanding something apart from myself, and in the process, created a picture of America that mirrors my own confusion of navigating a cultural identity that time is moving past © Garrett Grove

Chick and her daughter Leah. From the series In This Place 2016-17 © Margaret Mitchell

During the 1980s, the general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party, Nicolae Ceaușescu, imposed a large-scale re-development of Bucharest, demolishing over one third of the historic city centre to make way for heroic buildings and wide avenues befitting his ambition to be recognised as the emperor of Romania. As a secular dictator, Ceasusescu included the wholescale erasing of all religious buildings that impeded his grand architectural scheme. Yet even under this totalitarian and oppressive rule, the citizens of Bucharest saved seven churches in a process that is as incredible as it is surreal. The seven sacred buildings were lifted, placed on rails, transported and hidden behind housing blocks in the residential area of the city. Withdrawn from the cityscape they were saved from the wrecking ball. In his series Mobile Churches Laub combines contemporary photographs with archival material to reveal this less well known yet dramatic urban and political story of Romania © Anton Roland Laub

Who are all these amazing women asks Caroline Furneaux as she dips into a box of 35mm slide photographs, taken by her father in the 1960s. To Furneaux they look like off-duty movie stars on holiday with her Dad – some are labelled in his familiar angular hand, Scandinavian Trip Summer 1961; Teneriffa Nov ‘68′; Våren 1969. Furneaux imagines all the lives he must have lived before she was born, even before he had met her mother. These are the mothers she might have had; sporty; curvy; coy; animal loving. From the series The Mothers I Might Have Had © Caroline Furneaux

Now is the Time. For nearly five years, documentary photographer Shawn Records has been photographing the sleepy towns along the Oregon coastline where nothing much appears to happen. But the longer Records looks, the more he finds to see and photograph © Shawn Records

Hannah Hughes, Flatlands. The Office of Revised Futures is an installation of the work of five artists working with photography and collage. The exhibition includes existing works and also a workshop where new work is produced as a live event. The connecting thread between the works is analogue photographic collage, a genre that belongs to the imagined sphere. Each of the constructed images in the show is presented as simultaneously complete and fragmented, disrupting photography’s straight relationship with time and representation, creating alternative narratives. Each of the artists presented, work with art created by photographers and writers © Hannah Hughes

Martin Godoy, Construction Time Again. The Office of Revised Futures is an installation of the work of five artists working with photography and collage. The exhibition includes existing works and also a workshop where new work is produced as a live event. The connecting thread between the works is analogue photographic collage, a genre that belongs to the imagined sphere. Each of the constructed images in the show is presented as simultaneously complete and fragmented, disrupting photography’s straight relationship with time and representation, creating alternative narratives. Each of the artists presented, work with art created by photographers and writers © Martin Godoy

A mother of four holding her daughter. The girl, who is 10 months old, is playing with fox skin. The family is interethnic: the mother is Russian and father is half Tungus. Katangsky District, Irkutsky region. Russia, 2016 Almost 300 years ago, people came to colonise Siberia, then assimilated into the Evenkis (little nation) and founded a village in the taiga [the snow forest]. Katangsky District, Irkutsky region. Russia, 2016. From the series Out of the Way © Elena Anosova

The Path of an Honest Man. The project looks at the misaligment between communication and understanding © Alexandra Lethbridge

Protest 4 © Karl Ohiri

Love can bring elation, it can also bring despair. Separation explores the many emotions experienced by London-based couples who, as a result of Brexit, have been forced to contemplate separation. From the series Separation © Laura Pannack

Of Swallows and Ravens. This ongoing series is an exploration into some of the ideas behind what is real or what reality may be and the role photography plays as a technology and observer in creating this reality © Steven Barritt

The Dining Room. In Temporarily Censored Home, Guanyu Xu secretly placed photographs in his home in Beijing to ‘queer’ his parents’ heterosexual space. Using photographs he had taken of himself and gay men from his project One Land to Another; photographs of landscape and the built environment taken in America, Europe, and China; torn pages from film and fashion magazines he had collected as a teenager and images from his family albums, Xu made elaborate installations in the house creating a temporary space of freedom and protest © Guanyu Xu

The Ball. Bachelor and spinsters balls have taken place across rural Australia for many years. Originally designed to overcome the isolation of communities living at great distances from each other, they were formalised social engagements providing an opportunity for people to meet potential life partners. Overtime the emphasis of these gatherings has changed and dissolved into organised chaos and anarchy with hedonism at is centre © Ingvar Kenne

The thousand year old boy © Yvette Monahan

Matthew Arnold’s project Topography Is Fate—North African Battlefields of World War II considers the landscapes of North Africa and the soldier’s relationship to this alien environment. Arnold utilised World War II military maps to follow the challenging terrain from Egypt to Tunisia, taken by the Allies. Seventy years have not yet eradicated traces of the fighting as campsites; trench systems; pill boxes and ration tins can still be found, carrying their marks of battle. More dangerous artefacts such as unexploded shells, barbed wire and mines remain and occasionally claim yet another victim, as if the very land itself is reminding us of the tragedy of war © Matthew Arnold

The Wandering Gaze © Ana Tereza Vicent

You don’t look Native to me is a documentary project looking at the lives of young Native Americans in North Carolina © Maria Sturm