All posts tagged: format festival

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 …

2017-04-06T14:45:37+00:00

Format Festival – the low down

This year’s edition of the biennial photography festival Format foregrounds work that describes the world around us at a specific moment in history. Habitat is a broad and yet provocative theme, one that is designed to interrogate not only our physical surroundings such as land, sea, plants, other humans and wildlife, but a range of less tangible and often more visually evasive things – the digital and political worlds, for example, or mass migration – which nevertheless have considerable repercussions on our lives. “I wanted to offer up experiences concerning the complexity of our existence on the planet,” says festival director Louise Clements, interviewed for the March 2017 issue of BJP. “Climate, migration, technology: they all seem to be accelerating and the consequences are quite momentous. We are impacting the geology of Earth. It was important to me to do something vital. As a festival, we’re not just here to celebrate the achievements of the artists; we also want to have some kind of impact.” Work by more than 300 artists and photographers will be …

2017-03-21T16:51:43+00:00

What to see at Format, Britain’s biggest photography festival

Format Festival, the Derby-based photography festival, returns this week with a special theme of ‘Evidence’, taking its cue from the legendary series of the same name by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel. The main exhibition, which takes place at Derby’s Quad arts centre and is co-curated by Format Festival’s artistic director Louise Clements and independent curator and photo editor Lars Willumeit, is a contemporary take on the series and its associated book, Beyond Evidence – An Incomplete Narrative of Photographic Truths. Sultan and Mandel began the projects as young men fresh out of graduate school; gaining access to the picture archives at a California NASA office, they selected and recontextualised archive images from public and private American institutions, agencies and companies, creating a work that seemed to express American frontier mentality in the space race era. [bjp_ad_slot] Format’s exhibition includes work from the 1977 project and adds images by Natasha Caruana, Edmund Clark and Cristina de Middel, to “explore the relationship between image and knowledge, reminding us that not only does the camera test our ability to trust but also provokes us to ask …

2015-04-28T09:34:49+00:00

BJP Staff