CELIA DAVIES ON CURATING THE BRIGHTON PHOTO BIENNIAL

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Brighton Photo Biennial, which kicks off on 6 October, is the UK’s biggest photography event. Celia Davies, Head of Programme at Photoworks – the photography agency curating this year’s festival – talks to me about the importance of exhibiting your work and what not to do when applying for commissions…

How did you choose this year’s Biennial theme, “Agents of change: photography and the politics of space”? 
We wanted to put on a photography festival that felt pertinent to the times we’re living in. Also, we’re interested in the role of photography in people’s lives: how that operates in the gallery world, in the media, on people’s mobile phones as a tool and as a creative opportunity. Of course it includes professional photographers, photojournalists and artists, but it also includes grassroots activity. Being able to see all those different types of photography alongside one another, within the festival, is a great opportunity to get a sense of how we understand photography now.

Aside from the IdeasTap and Magnum Professional Practice weekend, what is there for emerging photographers at the Biennial?
The Biennial is not just exhibitions. There is a whole public programme running alongside: talks with speakers, such as Julian Germain, and opportunities to meet like-minded people. The Crit is a free alternative portfolio review where people can come along and get feedback on their work. It’s less hierarchical than a one-to-one session with someone high profile in the photography world. There will be high profile people there, but it’s also about everyone pooling ideas. It’s more democratic, an opportunity to network but also to get some honest feedback and develop your project further.


Read the full article on IdeasTap.


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