Arts review: Photomonth - east London Photography Festival

16:29 29 October 2012

Best of Show winner was Andrew Perkins with his ‘Girls shadow on beach and three people in deck chairs’

Best of Show winner was Andrew Perkins with his ‘Girls shadow on beach and three people in deck chairs’

Archant

Photomonth east London is an international photography festival spread over dozens of locations around that thriving part of our capital city.

Del Loewenthal aimed to reconstruct Sigmund Freud’s last session in his Viennese consulting room. Here are his glassesDel Loewenthal aimed to reconstruct Sigmund Freud’s last session in his Viennese consulting room. Here are his glasses

Now in its 12th year, more than 100 galleries and venues are exhibiting work by established and emerging photographers.

Radical London is a major theme flowing through this year’s programme with talks at the Bishopsgate Institute.

Major events include the Photofair in Spitalfields Traders Market, Cine-Photo: Photography by Filmmakers and the Photo-open at the Rich Mix.

There is also a whole series of ‘photowalks’ training tours and a wide range of workshops, portfolio reviews, seminars, talks and discussions providing opportunities for everyone to engage in photography.

Sheep shearing and the Union Jack, Falklands Islands’, by Jon TonksSheep shearing and the Union Jack, Falklands Islands’, by Jon Tonks

Festival director Maggie Pinhorn stresses that “the festival aims to demonstrate the diversity of contemporary photography and reach the widest possible audience.

She said: “Photomonth owes a great deal of its success to the open call for exhibitions giving the opportunity for emerging artists to be appreciated in a variety of interesting and unusual spaces alongside leading internationally renowned photographers.

“We are committed to the creative development of photography. The exhibitions present work of the highest possible standard, giving exposure to photographers from the world over as well as those that are locally based or come from other parts of the UK”.

The opening, at the Oxford House community arts centre in Bethnal Green, was a global photography project called 1 DAY 6 CITIES when all the photos were shot on the 11th November 2011 (11/11/11), in London, Dubai, Shanghai, Auckland, San Francisco and São Paulo.

Spencer Rowell's self relection photo at the exhibitionSpencer Rowell's self relection photo at the exhibition

Using word of mouth, email and social networks the co-ordinators put together an international team of photographers to create a unique twenty-four hour snapshot of that day across six very different cities around the globe.

There are more pleasant surprises in store. A walk around Brick Lane and Redchurch Street discloses another dozen venues highlighting the power of the medium.

The Espacio gallery in Bethnal Green Rd. has been hired by the Uncertain States’ ‘lens based, artist led project’ to showcase their work.

The sheer range of practices displayed in this roomy new venue is stunning. There are more than 20 photographers represented here. Del Loewenthal has a series of images to reconstruct the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud’s last session in his Viennese consulting room.

The inner quest continues with Spencer Rowell’s current research project, which seeks to develop a shared narrative both for the photographer and the reader into an artwork that becomes an account of inter-subjective experience.

There is also work by Fiona Yaron-Field, David George and Sophie Gerrard among others.

The collective releases a quarterly magazine that attempts to expand a critical dialogue and promote visual imagery. www.uncertainstates.com

During the following evenings, I have been enjoying a visual banquet: the Association of Photographers’ Open Awards took place at the Dray Walk gallery behind the Truman Brewery.

For everyone who is passionate about the medium, this competition provides the perfect opportunity to gain recognition for their work. There are no categories or themes in the contest – its aim is simply to showcase outstanding individual images, whatever the style or subject matter, so the choice of work submitted is entirely up to the entrant.

This year’s Best of Show winner was Andrew Perkins with his remarkable ‘Girls shadow on beach and three people in deck chairs’, an image that surprises the viewer with its surreal quality. One of the judges, publisher Dewi Lewis, chose instead ‘Sheep shearing and the Union Jack, Falklands Islands’, by Jon Tonks, as his favourite image. He liked the picture for its simplicity and understated peaceful beauty and significance.

With another month of this veritable photo feast to go, there are dozens of shows still to be enjoyed.

Photomonth, at more than 100 galleries and spaces in east London, lasts until the end of November. To see full programme of events visit 2012.photomonth.org

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