The state of Photography: Symposium, 11th October 2019, Birmingham City University

THE STATE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Symposium
Friday 11th October 2019
9:30 am – 17:30 pm
Birmingham City University, The Parkside Building, B4 7BE

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The State of Photography will consider, explore, debate and review how photographers and photography practice develops and responds in this political moment. How do we look at our world today, how do we collaborate and work with communities and what does the world look like to photographers?

We invite acclaimed and outstanding photographers, artists, writers and curators who work collaboratively and in the fields of community photography and socially engaged photography to join us, to give important historical context, to debate contemporary approaches and to talk about their practice at this time of political uncertainty, international crisis and creeping right wing ideologies. Each have different approaches to making their work, to engaging with individuals and communities and to telling stories. They have been artist, story teller, observer, collaborator, explorer and researcher.

Some collaborate closely with community members, marginalised groups and those with little or no opportunity to speak out, others offer a more external perspectives on social issues and situations. Does one offer a better more ethical way? Is it important to come from a community or do you become too involved? Is objectivity important? How do we ensure the engagement is sincere and does not exploit? And where does the artist and author feature in the work?

The role of photography is changing, particularly as work is commissioned and made for exhibition and gallery settings. Photography can impart the greatest truth of our times and sheds light on injustices, inequality and other aspects of our society. It has been and remains one of the strongest vehicles for change as photographers explore polities, gender, society, sexuality, diversity, economics and environment. It seems today – a time of political unrest, flux and crisis – more essential than ever to explore the role that photography can play.

During the Symposium we will hear from the perspective of the photographer, curator and academic. They share our concerns about the present and offer a diverse range of practices, experiences and stories that document the state of humanity and the world today.

The State of Photography Symposium aims to present new bodies of work, question and challenge ideas, as well as offering advice and talking about positive approaches to influence change, provoke, prompt and give a voice. We will hear from and celebrate those that create self-initiated projects and commissioned bodies of work and see a range of photographic practices that are at the cutting edge of photography now.

Speakers Include:

Prices:

  • Concession: £18

  • Standard: £25
    *Please note prices include tea/coffee in breaks but do not include lunch. Book your tickets here

Image Credit: (c) Daniel Meadows. Portrait from the Free Photographic Omnibus. Barrow-in-Furness, November 1974.

Introducing FORM

In this blog post we introduce you to FORM, a lens based collective who create and communicate on issues concerning altered identity. FORM are currently calling for work for an exhibition in Derby. FORM Fringe will coincide with FORMAT International Photography Festival 2019 which will consist of a series of exhibitions, events, and a photobook stall. Click here to find out how to submit. Deadline Sunday 24th February 10am and entry is free.


What is FORM? FORM is a collective of artists based across the UK who all work with photography. Our specialisms range from graphic design, creative writing, artist book making, event planning, product photography, socially engaged practice and teaching. Our core aim is to support the production of new projects by sharing skills, collaborating and creating a community of artists.

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Tell us about the members of FORM. Have you all studied photography? FORM is made up of Becky, Cath, Jo, June, Liz and Rachael. Becky and June both studied Photography at MA level, at London College of Communication and Westminster respectively. Jo also studied at LCC for her BA in Photography, and Rachael also studied BA Photography but at Manchester School of Art. Liz studied her BA in Brighton, which allowed her to produce image and text for her dissertation and Cath studied on a Creative Arts degree and now teaches Photography A Level.

Who or what motivates members to continue making new work? We all motivate each other, that’s one of the huge benefits of working as a collective. Photography can be very solitary, and even though we all produce work at different rates we all benefit from feedback from the rest of the group and having a deadline.

How did FORM come to the surface? We were established in response to Redeye, the Photography Network’s ‘Lightbox’ program; a creative development course where photographers are grouped into collectives and supported through talks, workshops and provided a mentor. FORM were matched with Nicola Shipley of Grain Photography Hub and since the program ended have continued to work together and with Nicola to make new work.

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What is the collectives biggest achievement to date? Our first exhibition together at Brighton Photo Fringe is the biggest project we’ve worked on to date. All of the members developed new projects responding to the title of ‘Form’ while organising the fundraising, curation and promotion of the exhibition. We were based in the Collectives Hub alongside some brilliant fellow collectives and projects and received some great feedback on the show.

Tell us about the conversations you produce for your website. What's your aim for them? The conversations started initially to informally introduce the members and give us all the opportunity to know each other better, but that format suits us perfectly because it represents how we want to work as a collective.

How can photographers get involved in what you do? If you like what we do please follow us on Instagram! FORM is currently looking to work with other photographers as part of the fringe at FORMAT International Photography Festival, details of this can be found on www.formcollective.co.uk.

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Give one tip to new photography graduates. Work with other creatives! Find people who you can work with to motivate each other, get honest feedback and collaborate with. Even if they aren’t a photographer, having someone to push you to keep making work and applying for opportunities is invaluable.

What does 2019 have in store for FORM? We have recently received Arts Council funding to produce work and exhibit in a fringe alongside the FORMAT International Photography Festival. We are all continuing to develop new work for more FORM exhibitions and events, and we want to meet and work with new people. We are also very excited about the launch of Landform, a platform for female landscape photographers run by Cath. Landform will be having their first events in 2019, and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in photo walks and socials this year.