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.
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.”
Trained in photography at Westminster University, Patricia Karallis set up Paper Journal in 2013 and swiftly gained a reputation for her discerning eye for images. For five years the magazine ran online only, racking up more than 500 interviews, features, photo book reviews, fashion features, and studio visits, and attracting well over 150,000 followers to its Instagram feed. It’s now gone into print for the first time, and the photographers featured in it reads like a who’s who of interesting contemporary image-makers, including Daniel Shea, Gregory Halpern, Matthew Connors, Senta Simond, Kristine Potter, and Stephanie Moshammer, as well as less familiar names such as Joseph Kadow, Nhu Xuan Hua, and Xiaopeng Yuan.