Cass Gallery,59-63 Whitechapel High Street ,E1 7PF,www.eastendarchive.org
Brazilian TV broadcast by TV Globo
Photomonth East London 2014
CATCH IT IF YOU CAN: PHOTOMONTH
Cass Gallery,59-63 Whitechapel High Street ,E1 7PF
Photomonth photography festival sits in East London and celebrates a vast collection of photography in galleries and venues until late November. Based in local areas including Spitalfields, Shoreditch & Bethnal Green in Tower Hamlets and Dalston, Homerton and Hoxton in Hackney you can find an abundance of events, talks, pop-up shops and even a café-crawl that are still on for another month. The festival couldn’t be more different from those events usually held in galleries with white washed walls upon walls. The strength of this festival centring on the variety of locations that include a diversity of work that engages emerging photographers through to seasoned professionals, collections of archives and multimedia material.
I would strongly recommend starting your photographic tour at the CASS Gallery – where the title ARCHIVE: Imaging the East End is recognised with a curated show inspired by the East End Archive, an online photographic resource that collates historic and contemporary collections. Curators of the show were intent on including other local archives to develop public awareness of the culture shifts and differences of the area, with each archive donating an image and text. This strong theme of archival material runs throughout the festival, most noticeably up in Hackney Muesum with the exhibit ‘Strike a Pose: Portraits from a Hackney Photo Studio’. At CASS you get an introduction into Photomonth with a cleanly curated show set in the environment of an old bank with a decorative marble counter, a nice juxtaposition. Here I met and talked with Maggie Pinhorn, the director, who spoke about the history and development of photography in London.
Q: Why was Photomonth created?
A:Originally to assist in the regeneration of the East End. In the 1990s the Old Spitalfields Fruit & Vegetable Market closed down, the local fashion industry was in serious decline and the area was largely bereft of social spaces. Photomonth East London was created to connect people with the area and encourage the development of emerging photographers and galleries.
Q: Why choose Photography to engage and help the area?
A:Well, photography has always been a major art form in the East End, it’s highly accessible and may be shown in various kinds of venues. East London is an extraordinary place, every changing and highly political. Waves of immigrants from different countries with different cultures and ideas have settled here over the centuries and made a huge contribution to our way of life.
I knew about Le Mois de la Photo in Paris and photomonths taking place in other European cities and thought that it would be great to create something similar for London. Small galleries and new venues were gradually opening up and needed an idea that would bring them together and raise their profile. So in 2001 we invited them to host photography exhibitions by emerging and established artists during a given period of time ie from October to November, creating the concept of Photomonth East London and encouraging the public to enjoy exploring the area. In the first year 15 venues participated, by 2012 there were over 200 exhibitions and events held in galleries, museums, libraries, shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hospitals, community centres, churches and in the street.
Q: What is the history of photography festivals in London? Why is Photomonth a success?
A:London has not really had a history of photography festivals. Photo-London did take place in the West End for a couple of years but could not really compete with Paris Photo which is very well established and is not really a festival.
Photomonth’s open call policy has led to its success. Photographers are free to find all kinds of spaces to show their work and present events. Exhibitions are free, events engage the community and workshops encourage participation. The public is happy to view work in social spaces such as cafes, bars & restaurants and previews are open to everyone and not limited to private views by invitation only.
Photomonth includes everyone who wishes to participate from exhibitions by renowned photographers in major institutions to new artists showing work in a corner café, empty shop or street market. We publish the brochure which is very widely distributed, produce the website, and promote Photomonth to the press and media..
Q: This year is the first time that Photomonth has had a theme: ‘Imagining the East End’, can you explain the purpose of this decision and use of the term imagining?
A: We have taken the theme ‘Imagining the East End’ from the specially curated opening show ARCHIVE: Imagining the East End which is inspired by the East End Archive (www.eastendarchive.org) an online photographic resource that brings together both historic and contemporary collections. We wanted to showcase the work of a diverse range of photographers whose work relates to the East End of London. The East End is understood here as both a geographic location and an intangible space, a perpetually shifting frontier within the urban sprawl of London that is part real and part imagined. As a reflection of this approach the images range from documentary practice to works of the imagination.
We have also included other important local archives to develop public awareness and focus on their contribution to our cultural life. In these archives there is a wealth of images to feed the imagination – to perceive the East End way beyond its conventional boundaries and inspire artists to take what has become known as the ‘archival turn’.
A photograph is not just a photograph but a philosophy – it says as much about the artist as the subject, the idea – the story is all there. It explores the territory of the mind, what we see and what we think we see.
James Chris Parker
Cass Gallery,59-63 Whitechapel High Street,E1 7PF,www.eastendarchive.org
A welcome opportunity to submit your own photographs to the east end archive website.
I would like to suggest that the East End Archive organises other events where local residents in Tower Hamlets could bring their photographs to Ideastores and Libraries across the borough.
I would like to see more local photographers profiled by the East End Archive in future events.
Cass Gallery,59-63 Whitechapel High Street ,E1 7PF
Uncertain States Annual exhibition as part of Photomonth East London 2014 at the Cass Gallery (has aslo been known as The Bank Gallery)
Read review here: http://ind.pn/1ycgdSd
Karen Falconer of The Independent
Muxima, Vinarius, Zealand Coffee Bar,E3
The London Column: -
Hoffman Polices London
Hoffman at Peace
The Proud Archivist,Reliance Wharf, 2-19 Hertford Road,N1 5SH
There are so many layers to explore when looking at the series of 'Bumforth Manor' photographs on display at The Proud Archivist (A canal pub that hosts various art related events and exhibitions)
It's a fascinating back story - Nick Simpson, descendant of Gasgoine Simpson, has ostensibly discovered a valise full of old 'Victorian' plates created by his veritable ancestor and is lovingly restoring them and exhibiting them. mmmmh!!
They are a fascinating set of seemingly innocent looking 'Victorian Poses' but on closer inspection things are just a little weirder than you might imagine. The Victorian 'We are not amused' veneer is exceedingly thin and hides some rather bizarre behaviours. I don't want to say too much as part of the joy of this exhibition is spending time really studying the pictures - they contain so much that is often only seen after careful perusal. This is certainly NOT a show for a casual glance around, but a detailed study will be well rewarded with those 'Aha' moments when you get it!
Photowalk with Alina kisina ,Chisenhale art space
I really enjoyed this event led by Alina, as we were taken out and shown practical techniques with a specific focus on reflections. It also brought such a mix of interesting people together who either lived locally and have a passion for photography or just those who had an interest in photography and had to the area previously. Through this group we were shown how to look at our everyday situations and scenery in a completly different light! I couldn't recommend it enough! Very inspiring!
This was an artiist led walk by Ukrainian Photogrpaher Alina Kisina. Although a competent photogrpaher I had not used reeflections before and this opened my eyes to the possibilites of this technique. I was most impressed with Alinas Abstract style, although I am a street and architecutal photogrpher, her vision and enthuisasm opend up a new horizons for me.
As a result of the walk and what I learnt I booked in for her inspirational course which has changed the way I view my photgraphy and has helped me develop my vision and style..
For this I am grateful to Photomonth and Alina.
St Joseph's Hospice,Mare Street, Lonson,E84SA
Moving, brave, important. I would have liked to have seen more images on a larger scale with additional explanatory text. Which I think is what the subject calls for.