The past weekend saw the launch of LOOK13 International Photography Festival in Liverpool, celebrated with an eclectic programme of events, exhibitions and shows.
The festival catalogue highlights half a dozen venues, misleading you to believe that there is not much to see, but do have a look at the parallel programme, advertised on the website or in the separate Light Night brochure (dedicated to the cultural festival that took place on Friday 17th May, it has much more information and a better map, so try to get hold of one if you can still find them!).
However, if you are only visiting for a day or two, make it your priority to go to:
- The Bluecoat:
The festival hub, it has a range of great work on display.
The main exhibition I Exist (In Some Way), curated as a response to the festival theme of identity – ‘who do you think you are?’ presents a selection of work from artists based in Europe, the USA and the Middle East, including Laura El-Tantawy, Larisa Sansour, Tanja Habjouga, Lamya Gargash, George Awde and others.
Also on display is a work of August Sanders and Weegee – two of the 20th centuries greatest photographers – certainly worth seeing!
- Open Eye
Exhibited on the top floor, Eve Stern’s project Drape features found images that have been digitally altered to hide their original subject and bring the background to the central stage.
The main gallery presents the work of French photographer Charles Freger, showcasing a selection of portraits gathered under the title The Wild and The Wise. It’s a hit and miss show for me personally, since I like his series Rikishi, but not some of the other work on display.
- Victoria Gallery & Museum
A bit of a walk from the city centre, but certainly worth the journey is an exhibition of Hong Kong/British photographer Kurt Tong, exploring his family history in a project The Queen, The Chairman and I.
- Walker Art Gallery
Worth visiting to see some of Martin Parr’s and Tom Wood’s early work brought together in an exhibition titled Every Man and Every Women.
Also on display is a rather disappointing show by Rankin, who decided to approach the monumental subject of life and death by photographing people suffering from or rather fighting with terminal illnesses. Aiming to portray them as strong and independent, the photographer applies his usual fashion and celebrity portrait style, which simply comes off as vulgar and distasteful. Alive: In the Face of Death presents oversharpened, heavily-postproduced studio shots of people covered in body paint and glitter that have Rankin’s name mentioned all to often in the captions to suggest that the photographer had any empathy or respect for his subject.
If you have some time and energy left after your sightseeing, make sure to pop in to Fallout Factory and see the exhibition If truth be told… by Fabricate Collective. The show explores the thin line between fact and fiction and I am presenting my recent project Filed Under ‘F’ alongside some great photographic artists.
The festival is on for a month, so make sure to plan a visit and enjoy some great work it presents!