“A festival is about taking risks,” says Louise Clements, founder and director of Format International Photography Festival, which returns this year to celebrate its ninth edition. “Festivals can come and go, but to sustain something for so many years, you have to work out how to make it valuable for its participants and its audience, by giving people something to work towards.”
The city of Derby, in the UK’s post-industrial Midlands, is not large, but over the last 15 years the biennial event has helped place it on the cultural map. Over the course of each festival some 100,000 visitors will gather there – the city’s compact size lending it some advantages. “Derby is small, like Arles [whose 50-year-old Rencontres photography festival remains the blueprint], so there is this critical mass-like feeling,” says Clements. “People are likely to bump into each other, see our bags and totes – the guides see and integrate them, for example, when we work with the local microbreweries.”
Hunger is an experimental project based on Franz Kafka’s short story, A Hunger Artist, about the once-glorious, but now dying, art of performers who starved themselves. Curated by Greek publishing house Void, it involves the work of 28 photographers, both established and up-and-coming, presented in seven broadsheet publications, and in an online exhibition on PHMuseum.com.
2019 marks a quarter of a century since Val Williams’ curated her seminal exhibition, Who’s looking at the family? at the Barbican in London. In photography, a lot has changed over 25 years, including the introduction of new technologies that have reshaped the way in which we make and consume images, and the changing definitions of what constitutes a photographer.
“On the one hand I thought it might be interesting to speculatively chart that development, but also to rethink notions of the family at the same time,” says Tim Clark, editor of 1000 words magazine and curator of this year’s Photo50 exhibition at London Art Fair. “The idea seemed to chime with a lot of people. I think that’s the key point about family, it’s a great unifying subject. Everyone can relate to it.”
Before becoming a photographer, Sean Hillen was a tinkerer. As a young teenager, one of his favourite pastimes was to take apart his grandfather’s old cameras and then piece them back together again. It wasn’t long before he discovered that with a bit of tweaking he could fix a brand new 120 roll of film into an outmoded 620 camera. “I did that, I got them developed, and I was immediately addicted to photography”.
Hillen grew up through the Troubles in Newry, Northern Ireland, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. “It was utter chaos,” he says. “I knew people who got killed, and I knew people who killed other people”. Hillen and his four siblings would lie awake in bed at night listening to gun battles, which were so frequent that they were able to distinguish between the sounds of different weapons.
Seven European festivals make the best of their locations and the late-summer timing to show off al fresco programmes this September – Visa Pour l’Image, Getxophoto, BredaPhoto, Festival Images Vevey, Landskrona Foto Festival, Guernsey Photo Festival, and Brighton Photo Biennial
Arunà Canevascini was nominated by Erik Kessels for the richness of her projects, which merge femininity, domesticity and migration. In Villa Argentina, Canevascini examines these themes through elaborately-designed images in which the domestic settings she photographs are disrupted by intrusions from both the history of art and her own family past.
Christian Boltanski’s After in Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk This recently-opened exhibition in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam is a real must-see. It’s a radical and site-specific exhibition by Christian Boltanski, who is known as one of the greatest artists in the world, with a ouevre that deals with the way we remember and commemorate. In the Oude Kerk, with its eight centuries of history and 2,200 memorial stones, his work is very much at home. The artist is creating a site-specific composition consisting of seven different works that address the existential question of what happens after our life has come to an end. Considering Boltanski made a bet on his own life, a bet which expired this year, this work is very much autobiographical. After is an exhibition that is expected to have a profound impact on the audience. The installations, which are in proportion to the size of the centuries-old church, are invasive and they address the visitor even in a literal sense. Over 50 black tombs, varying in size and height, arise from the …
The British Journal of Photography’s editorial director picks out his top five of 2017 – including Sam Contis’ Deep Springs
Collaborations form a big part of some of the year’s most notable works. We have Rick Pushinsky teaming up with his dad, a keen amateur chef, to put together a collection of recipe cards inspired by the family’s Jewish heritage that are as satisfying and experiential on the eye as they are on the tummy. Elsewhere we have the mischievous pairing of Erik Kessels and Thomas Mailaender who, with Photo Pleasure Palace, brought a tremendous sense of fun to this year’s Unseen Amsterdam photo fair. A fun fair-like atmosphere featuring installations like a Smash Gallery and a Toilet Obscura, this collaboration used a tongue-in-cheek playfulness and spontaneity to make one of our favourite photographic events of the year. From photographic fun fairs to fashion shoots, the unlikely collaboration of conceptual photographer Barbara Probst and luxury fashion brand Marni really struck a chord. By encouraging the models in the brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 shoot to take their own photographs in a very active manner under her watchful eye, Probst sought to recalibrate the balance of power that so …
For three days this week, from 22 to 24 September, the Dutch capital will host the sixth edition of Unseen Amsterdam. With an extensive and exclusive programme, the event prides itself on incubating and exhibiting photography from both established and emerging artists. This year is no different: the old gasworks factory, the Westergasfabriek will host more than 53 international galleries with new additions from Mexico and Lebanon, showing over 160 artists and about 80 ‘premieres’ – brand-new work that will make its debut at the fair, featuring projects by Todd Hido, Gregory Halpern, Peggy Franck and Ricardo Cases. Founded in 2012, the event has always been keen to embrace elements and experiments beyond its primary identity as a fair. This year the Unseen Photo Fair & Festival has become Unseen Amsterdam, drawing together the fair, book market, speakers programme, onsite projects and exhibitions, talent awards, city programme, magazine and website under one umbrella. This change is a move to becoming a multi-faceted photography platform that will function throughout the year with smaller events abroad. A …