Hull International Photography Festival

5th October to 28th October 2018, from The Creative & Cultural Company

HIP Fest may well be the country’s biggest annual Photography festivals and it returns for a 5th year. Turning the city’s largest shopping mall into a cultural centre for the whole month, 12 major exhibitions in converted galleries will stand alongside the usual outfitters, boutiques and chains. It is this unique venue that helped account for  8600 visits to the festival last year.

New for 2018

PhotoCity come to Hull for the opening weekend, following on from their PhotoCity London exhibition & trade show close by St Paul's Cathedral. 

Partners Fujiholics & Redeye will be facilitating on the opening weekend, which will feature more workshops, masterclasses and photowalks than ever before. Making 50 events over the month.

Festival highlights


POP, by legendary photographer Brian Griffin, features his music photography and album covers from the UK’s post punk and new wave music scene

Premier of the intense and personal Stranger In My Mother’s Kitchen exhibition by Celine Marchbank delves the therapeutic power of photography (shortlisted for the Deutsche Bank Photography Awards) 

A world premiere exhibition of fashion icons in Haute Couture to the Birth of Prêt-à-Porter A Fashion Retrospective by Marilyn Stafford

A1 Britain On The Verge by World Press Award-winning photographer  Peter Dench is a homage to Britain’s longest road, captured with Peter’s typical sense of humour and humanity.

50 Workshops and Masterclass include

A masterclass by Youtuber sensation Sean Tucker

Fujiholics director Matt Hart takes us out on a photowalk

Elke Vogelsang is coming from Germany to talk Dogsonality

Tom Stoddart shows how every picture tells a story

HipFest is committed to bringing new talent, and radical and diverse artistic sensibilities, to a curious public. So expect to discover new and intriguing photographers and unforeseen views of the world. There is an open exhibition and learning opportunities for all levels of ability and experience 

This year HIP FEST supports Care International’s Lendwithcare Campaign and will have an exhibition from 5 international women photographers to raise awareness. 

Alan Raw Curator & Festival Director said:

“In just five years, HIP Fest has established its credentials as one of the most significant photography events in Europe.  Thanks to our fabulous volunteers we have put together a stunning celebration of photography for 2018. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming Celine Marchbank and Marilyn Stafford to HIPFest, their work highlights the contribution female photographers have made, and are making, to this most democratic of art forms. There will be something for everyone and plenty to learn, do and enjoy.”

A £5 entry ticket (wristband) gives access to all exhibitions, discussions, the HIPfest Prize Draw, on-site discounts and access to many of the workshops. Premier workshops, master-classes and portfolio reviews require individual additional tickets, available on Eventbrite.

For further details of the festival visit or email:

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An interview with photography graduate and curator Millie Battershill

Norwich University of the Arts photography graduate Millie Battershill recently got in touch to tell us about her route into curation. Millie has had the opportunity to curate one show so far and below she tells us more.

Who are you? What and where did you study? My name is Millie Battershill and I graduated in 2016 with a degree in photography from Norwich University of the Arts.

What’s your photographic work typically about? What themes do you like to explore? My work tends to be fairly abstract; I work with a macro lens the majority of the time if I’m shooting what I would call a ‘proper project’ – that’s one which has a more considered concept. I like to photograph textures, mostly from natural subjects that I find outside. Before this approach developed, I enjoyed photographing landscapes so it makes sense that I’m still interested in nature. The projects often have concepts that I would say are loosely based on time, existence, thoughts, emotions and possibly memory in some cases. 

From the series  Cotton Wool  by  Millie Battershill

From the series Cotton Wool by Millie Battershill

I also photograph on film, however these images make up projects that have less of a concept, and are more related to documenting. That being said, I think that my work has an overarching theme running through it, which is exploring life, the notion of living and existing.

You’ve been gaining experience of curating exhibitions. Tell us how you’ve gone about this? I always thought that if I did any kind of further education after my degree, I would probably study curating. This is what I ended up doing. Mostly, I’ve been learning how things are done rather than actually doing them, but I’m now working on a show with an artist, Charlotte Powell, which will go on show in May. 

What do you enjoy most about the curating process? Curating a show involves a lot of admin work for the curator. This is something that sounds boring but I enjoy making contact with various people and pulling together resources to create something. I also like the process of learning about the artist’s work and discussing how it can best be displayed. 

From the series  Cotton Wool  by  Millie Battershill

From the series Cotton Wool by Millie Battershill

What initially encouraged you, after studying photography, to learn how to curate? If I’m honest I think I got what I needed from my photography degree. That’s not to say that no one would benefit from studying it more, or that I will never benefit from it, it’s that at the current time I didn’t feel I could gain more from studying it further. I still love to take photographs and I’m currently working on my own projects, I’ve simply found a way into the art industry through a different route. Also, it means that when I see photographs that have shot work that I wish I’d shot, I can work with them, if they need a curator that is.

Have you got nay tips, advice or resources to share with new graduates? The first thing I would say is that I still have no idea how I passed my degree, it’s not that I think I’m bad at photography, it’s that the grading matrix used to mark our work is definitely not written for us. Therefore, it’s really difficult to fully understand how exactly you can hit all of the right things you need to get a decent grade. So bare that in mind.

From the series  Cotton Wool  by  Millie Battershill

From the series Cotton Wool by Millie Battershill

My advice to graduates would be things that I didn’t realise upon leaving university. Firstly, if you set yourself a goal to have a specific type of job or to live in a specific place within a year or any amount of time, don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. This doesn’t mean don’t aim for things, just remember there’s no time limit apart from the ones you set yourself. Success really doesn’t happen overnight. 

Secondly, do what you love, not what you think someone else will love. People can tell if there’s no passion in your work. 

And my last piece of advice would be this: don’t stop making things.

What are your aspirations as a curator? I’d love to curate an exhibition which lasts a few weeks and involves audience engagement or includes events of some kind, that’s the aim but I’m mostly just happy working on exhibitions and learning more about my individual process. I’m working on my first curatorial show currently, so my main aim at the moment is ensuring that is a successful as it can be.

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Photobook Review: 'Coalville Photographed' reviewed by Lucy Bentham

We're constantly thrilled and excited that Photograd has the ability to bring together creatives and form unique collaborations. Graduate and working photographer Chris Mear created Coalville Photographed last year and recently approached independent curator and photographer Lucy Bentham to review the publication.

Here are the results.

Coalville Photographed by Graham Ellis: A series of short films and photographs by Christopher Mear

Self published edition of 25

At first glance, the cover of this book gives little detail as to what might be found within the pages. A series of eight QR codes are neatly arranged above the title suggesting, perhaps, that this book contains a cold, technological study of something, well, cold and technology based. The reality is quite different. 

In fact, the book contains fifty images made by both the author and the photographer he has collaborated with to construct this narrative. Mear has followed a fellow photographer making photographs in his local area in order to become closer to the place and this has resulted in a deeper understanding of both the place and methodology. Initially, this method of documenting place becomes twice removed from the subject as Mear puts himself of the position of the documenter documenting the documenter. I am drawn to this notion in the way that if only we could document ourselves as we undertake a project, our methodologies would be in the spotlight, and what becomes of our chosen subjects?

It is clear, throughout the book, that Mear is continually questioning Ellis about his methods and position as a photographer and vice versa:

‘How much do you want to be an ‘excellent’ photographer? Is it something you want to do or is it something you’re going to do? But what’s the difference?’

Ellis asks this of Mear and Mear asks a number of questions pertaining to photography as an art with a series of interspersed quotations from famed photographers throughout. 

We pursue Mear following Ellis during the series of moving images (found on YouTube via the QR codes) and, if you can see around the few technical issues – like the increasingly maddening flatlining sound from the van, or the obstruction of road noise drowning Ellis’ voice – then these monochrome records deepen our connection with Ellis. In contrast to the sense gauged from the book, the moving image additionally distances Mear from his associations with the place, presenting mostly as the cameraperson with a few indications that he remains as the camera occasionally wanders off to the side to look at something he is interested in, not Ellis. Because of this apparent distinction, I question whether the book and the moving image are unified from the perspective of the viewer. The moving image existing without the book makes Mear invisible and puts him in the sole position of the cameraperson – yet his presence is palpably felt within the pages of the book. 


This book, and the project it contains, is achingly familiar as a documentary project of place. But it goes much further in positing a breadth of questions regarding the role of the photographer and the relationships held between practising photographers. Especially considering those making projects about the ‘same’ place or subject, it has to be noted that this book also defines the distinctions between how crucial the position of the photographer is, how our subjectivities are central to what we see, and the varieties of experience we bring to each enquiry or investigation.  

N.B. As ever, this is a subjective review of a piece of work I am considering through my lens as a photographer and curator as well as reader/viewer.