This year cafés, bars, restaurants and various other locations in East London’s Shoreditch area are actively taking part in hosting various shows for the festival. These locations will also play home to initiatives like the Shoot Experience, an organisation which encourages amateur photographers to document the London street scene and discover the unexpected in the process.
The program, organised by Alternative Arts, is hosting talks by inspiring guest speakers whilst also showcasing innovative talents and holding traditional photography workshops. Some major exhibitions are running until the end of November or longer, such as James Barnor at Rivington Place and Walid Raad at Whitechapel Gallery. Raad’s archive, The Atlas Group, focuses on Lebanese wars from 1975 – 1998, using photography to bridge the connection between fictional and factual elements during this period. The exhibition masterfully weaves photographs of war and conflict into vivid collages to highlight the multi-dimensional use of photography in telling such a complicated historical story.
James Barnor’s work examines a different part of the world using a far more playful photographic perspective. Now retired, Barnor worked as photographer in Ghana documenting social and public events. His work has been taken out of archives to present an exclusive exhibit at Photomonth alongside photographers like Raad, and Ted Polhemus whose series of street style images are truly beautiful. Polhemus deals with sub-cultural styles in the 1960s in a bid to encourage viewers to embrace the creativity and spontaneity of this era.
Sitting amongst Shoreditch’s vast array of restaurants, bars and cafes, Photomonth’s creativity is perfectly at home here. Viewers will become somewhat inspired by artists like Polhemus, and hopefully explore this multifaceted area whilst taking in some of the groundbreaking photography on show.
Other exhibits include a group exhibition at Studio 1-1; a show made up of five artists who present varying perceptions of time and space in different mediums. The installation examines how photography is so instrumental in capturing snapshots of everyday life. Alongside this is the work of artists like Antonella Fabiani and Mariann Fercsik, the latter of which is featured in the Tornabarakony exhibit, a show dedicated to presenting village life through twelve different inhabitants.
Some artists have even pushed Photomonth beyond photography alone by developing a conceptual and philosophical approach to art. Behind the Image is one exhibit embracing this alternative edge by introducing the developing process to the exhibit. This brings the observer closer into photography, making Photomonth a far more personal and interactive experience.
Above all Photomonth functions as a platform, collaborating with East End London to present urban spaces where photographic talent can exist alongside the area’s vibrant lifestyle. The two-month festival is an interactive opportunity to become educated, engaged and interested in photography with affordable prices. Having survived for a decade, Photomonth has perfected the best way to promote the photographic talents of the present and the future with great results.
Words by Katre Laan