London Festival of Photography,
Inside out: Reflections on the public and the private
The London Festival of Photography is a celebration of photography in the form of 19 photography exhibitions ranging from international street photography, to the Gaddafi Archives from pre- Arab spring Libya, and 30 events in venues ranging from pop-up shops to the Tate and the British Museum. I often wonder why public spaces aren't used more for photography and art, I see empty spaces as flowers waiting to be pollenated by the contemporary beauty of passing-by art. The LFP is the kind of event that brings more art to the spaces around us and for that I love it. It’s a big-small event that hosts both rare world class exhibits in top London venues and also intimate local and global photography exhibits from new and upcoming artists in smaller or even pop-up venues like the international street photography exhibit at 29-31 Oxford street hosted from 3Space.
My favourite exhibit reflecting on the festival’s theme this year, Inside out: Reflections on the public and the private, was The Great British Public at Dog Eared Gallery. One of the exhibits there was a touching portrait collection of a centenarians generation of brits who share their memories with the viewer - an inspiration of introspection and an opportunity to compare our lives to those lived many decades ago, who have lived long enough to see wars at home and abroad come and go, and loved ones born and die. Another favourite was the International Street Photography exhibit at Oxford street. It’s a small and quick affair but Alexandro Cartajenas feature of workers in the back of trucks brought about a fresh view into a world far away.
So to sum up, the unmissable events for this years festival are:
1. The Great British Public. Dog Eared Gallery, 1-24 June or St. Pancras International 1-30th June.
2. Gaddafi Archives - Libya before the Arab spring. The Warbug Institute, 21-29 June.
3. Masterclass with Chris Steele-Perkins (Magnum). Fitzrovia Community Centre, 13-17 June.
4. Masterclass with Jodi Bieber (2011 World Press Photo Winner). Fitzrovia Community Centre, 7-10 June.
5. Tate Modern screening of the film Edward Burtynsky: Manufactured Landscapes by Jennifer Baichwal, followed by a Q&A with Edward Burtynsky. Starr Auditoriam, Tate Modern, 19th June.
For a full list of events, exhibitions, workshops, and a map of venues visit the LFP website.
Brett J. Stott, Founder of the London Festival of Photography, was kind enough to talk to us about the festival and answer some questions:
Aris: Who is the festival for?
Brett: The London Festival of Photography is an annual celebration of international street, documentary and conceptual photography including 19 exhibitions and over 30 events in diverse venues including Tate Modern, King's Cross Station, the Guardian Gallery and the Museum of London.
A: What's the criteria for inviting artists to participate?
B: We curate or co-curate most of the exhibitions and our curators pick photographers whose work they know, or research new artists based on a theme or idea. We also run a number of Awards where photographers can enter in order to be exhibited.
A: You say [on LinkedIn] "The company's objective is to help to open people's eyes to their surroundings through photography and in turn help to make the world a better place in which to be an active participant." How can we all help do that? and what have you accomplished so far?
B: My feeling is that photography is the most accessible of all the art forms and has the power to change lives. Photography can teach us all to see things in a different way, from simply noticing new things on our way to work to appreciating a detail on a building or how the light falls on rainy street. Photography helps tell important stories and thus helps us question societal behaviour and in this way we can debate and question important issues.
A: Many british artists will love the opportunity to participate and work with LFP. How can they do that?
B: We are a small team and therefore are unable to look at all the work sent to us so we try to filter this through the Awards where we enlist a team of professionals to help us decide who to exhibit.
A: Do you think photographers need to evolve to photo-videographers to continue to participate in exhibitions or be commercially successful?
B: No, but I think it's important to learn new things and to try and stay in touch with technology and trends. Multimedia is one of a number of tools photographers can used to help further engage audiences in their work, but I don't think its required in order to compete commercially.
A: Art can be an enabler for young people from tough environments in developing countries but also here in the UK. Shoot Nations, one of your projects is currently on hold due to lack of funding. Is there hope of it springing back?
B: That depends if one of you readers has deep pockets...
Words by Aris Vrakas