I visited Derby last weekend and had utmost inspiring two days exploring FORMAT Festival!
On Saturday, I attended photographic discussion hosted by the guardian, with talks by some of the publication’s staff photographers and picture editor Roger Tooth. Special thank you to Antonio Olmos for constructive feedback on my new project from Zambia. Coincidentally, the commission came about from an award I received in 2011 during FOTO8 Summershow opening, when Antonio got the 2nd prize for an images from his series The Landscape of Murder:
On Sunday, I had a chance to explore some of the FORMAT exhibitions – my personal highlights are:
1. Notes Home by The Archive of Modern Conflict at Museum and Art Gallery (on until 5th May):
I am not often drawn to projects consisting solely of archival materials, exploring the past of a place I have no personal connection to, but this exceptionally-well curated exhibitions is engaging, both humorous and nostalgic. It kept me exploring faded images of a holiday resort utopia and read handwritten scribbles on the backs of postcards for hours, until a gallery worker politely reminded that it is ten minutes past their closing time – get there early!
2. Album Beauty by Eric Kessler at QUAD (on until 26th May)
Another exhibition of found photographs, this ‘ode to the vanishing era of the photo album’ brilliantly illustrates the consequences of transition from print to digital image capture. Allowing the viewer to walk into the album, explore it from within by interacting with large-scale prints, it brings back the physical experience of holding, owning and treasuring a photograph.
3. Piece of Cake at Darley Mill (on until 7th April)
A bit off the main track, but worth a walk through a picturesque countryside area, this exhibition presents a range of work by member of the Piece of Cake photographic collective. One of the members, Simon Roberts, also presents his project Let there be a Sign! at The Silk Mill.
Centered around Derby, FORMAT has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and most venues can be easily reached on foot during a days visit (although you are at risk of overdose of great photography!). It was great to see some familiar names on the list of participating artists: my Centrepoint Collective colleague Petra Stridfeldt presenting WANT at the University of Derby, Nick Rochowski & Tim Bowditch showing at Artsmith and Marija Kapajeva, Michele Palazzi and Darek Fortas exhibits at The Chocolate Factory.
The only venue I did not get a chance to explore is the Chocolate Factory, but I will be coming back for the Grand Finale on the 6th April, taking part in Slideluck V curated by Monica Allende (Sunday Times Magazine), enjoying The Developer performance, home-cooked food and great photography. See you there?