All posts tagged: format festival

Issue #7881: Forever/Now

This month, we present a small selection of work that will be shown at Format festival, which returns to the Quad Arts Centre in Derby, England for its ninth edition this March. Under the theme Forever/Now, our edit of notable projects emphasises the festival’s slant towards ‘crooked’ documentary practices, where a lack of subject or search for the unknown is filled by fiction and interpretation.

2019-02-07T14:01:29+00:00

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

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.”

2018-12-24T15:51:38+00:00

The Wonderful World of Sean Hillen

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.

2018-09-27T13:51:23+00:00

Obituary: Pete James, Curator of Photography Collections at the Library of Birmingham, 1958-2018

Peter James was an instrumental figure in British photography, establishing an outstanding collection of photography at the Library of Birmingham over his 26-year career at the institution, and researching and curating exhibitions at the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ikon Galley, the Library of Birmingham, and many more. He was also a modest and affable man, universally known as Pete and as at home over a curry as in a lecture hall delivering an academic paper. As Hilary Roberts, research curator at the Imperial War Museum, put it in a tribute on James’ Facebook page: “Pete has been a wonderful friend and exceptional colleague for more years than I can remember. His contribution to the world of photography cannot be overstated. It was a privilege to work with him and I will miss him more than I can say.”

2018-04-17T11:52:30+00:00

David Moore creates cutting-edge theatre from a 30-year-old project

In the late 1980s, while studying, David Moore made a series of colour photographs depicting the everyday lives of working class communities in Derby. In Pictures From the Real World, since published as a book by Dewi Lewis, we meet married couple Lisa and John, among others. Intrigued by the notion of returning photographs to the contexts from which they came, Moore had the idea for a new imagining of the work as a piece of verbatim theatre (drama derived from unedited spoken transcripts), through which the photographs could be ‘returned’ to the couple. Moore invited Lisa and her now ex-husband John to work with him on what he calls an “archive intervention” – to create new dialogues from the photographs. From this The Lisa and John Slideshow was born, a 45-minute play written and directed by Moore, assisted by Gavin Dent, where actors played the couple.

2018-03-06T10:31:25+00:00

On show at Format: Poulomi Basu’s A Ritual of Exile

It’s illegal, and a tradition that puts women at great risk, but despite this has been normalised, accepted and passed down through generations. In parts of Nepal, a practice called Chhaupadi dictates that women who are menstruating, and those who experience bleeding after childbirth, must live in makeshift huts because they are considered impure and therefore untouchable. Exiled by their communities and families, the women are refused access to water and toilets and must eat food scraps, fed to them as though they were animals. They are exposed in every sense, vulnerable to rape, abduction and assault, and even death from asphyxiation caused by the fires they are forced to light in their tiny, inadequately ventilated huts. In 2013, photojournalist Poulomi Basu travelled to Surkhet District in a remote region of Nepal to meet and photograph some of these women, assisted on the ground by the charity WaterAid. Appalled and outraged by what she saw, she vowed to return. “The first trip was so short and I was frustrated because I realised the scale of …

2017-05-09T12:37:00+00:00

Festival review: what’s hot at Format

In August of 2016, at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town, one of the world’s leading scientists declared we were living at the dawn of a new geological epoch – the human-influenced age. This new era, termed Anthropocene, replaces the current epoch, the Holocene, the 12,000 years of stable climate since during which all human civilisation developed. Format International Photography Festival in Derby, the UK’s largest photography festival, opened this weekend for its eighth edition, aiming to explore this notion of the Anthropocene by asking photographers to respond to the word “habitat”. Featuring more than 200 international artists and photographers across 30 exhibitions, the biennial is situated across independent cinema and exhibition spaces such as Quad, University of Derby and the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The festival’s flagship exhibition, titled Ahead Still Lies Our Future, is on show at art space Derby Quad, and features work by ten photographers, brought together by curators Hester Keijser and festival director Louise Clements. “I wanted to offer up experiences concerning the complexity of our existence on …

2017-03-28T11:46:25+00:00

On show at Format – Jon Tonks’ Cargo

On the eve of the First World War, the British Empire accounted for over 23 percent of the world’s population: some 412 million people spread across nearly a quarter of Earth’s land area. At its very furthest reaches, the map of the Empire showed what looked like a scattering of tiny dots on the great blue expanse of the Pacific. Named Vanuatu, they make up a one-nation archipelago of more than 80 islands stretching across 800 miles of the South Seas. Located more than a thousand miles northeast of Australia, it has a population of less than 300,000 people. It’s a place few Britons have heard of but in Vanuatu, independent since 1980, the idea of ‘Britishness’ has weaved itself into the islanders’ ancestral, and even spiritual, beliefs. “Stories flourish in isolation,” says Christopher Lord, the Istanbul Bureau Chief for Monocle magazine, who has been collaborating with photographer Jon Tonks since the pair worked together on a story in Algeria as the Arab Spring was erupting. The island country has long been a source of …

2017-03-22T13:02:02+00:00

Any Answers: Monica Allende

The London-based curator, producer and educator is currently the director of Format International Photography Festival (providing maternity cover for Louise Clements) and artistic director of Getxophoto in Bilbao, where she grew up. Previously she was the photo editor at The Sunday Times Magazine where she launched Spectrum, the award-winning photography section. This interview was first published in the BJP’s March 2017 issue. I have always been quite self-reliant. I’m a low-consuming, low-impact individual who strongly believes in the social contract, which are values passed to me through my family and my upbringing in the Basque Country. I loved this city from the moment I arrived. Every day I feel excited to be in London; every day there is something new to see, hear, talk about or investigate. There is room to be who you please but as long as you use good manners. I’m just devastated that after Brexit, I might have to leave my life here. Do I miss being on a picture desk? I wish I was working as part of a team on …

2018-11-23T11:34:57+00:00

BJP Staff