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Photo North Festival #4 Lands 24-26 March

- 1 year ago

Curators, Peter Dench and Sharon Price, have prepared an all-killer, no-filler line-up for the fourth instalment of the most excellent Photo North, which takes place n just a few days. This year’s roster of creatives being highlighted at the festival includes iconic names such as Chris Floyd, Richard Ansett, Joanne Coates, Roy Mehta and Tessa Bunney. Read on for more.

Hosted entirely at the iconic venue, The Faversham, Leeds, 2023’s Photo North Festival boasts a backdrop of book & zine stalls, talks and screenings, a licensed bar and plenty of networking opportunities. Photo North will play host to exhibitions championing photography and will be open to the public for a full three days.

©Richard Ansett

See Richard Ansett’s work during the festival. Richard, who took first prize at the Sony World Photography Awards for A Portrait of Grayson Perry titled, ‘BIRTH’, will be exhibiting a selection from his reportage FAT. The subjects are more than participants in a photojournalistic study; they are allegories, ‘the discarded by-products of a progressive society,’ says Ansett. The images are the documentation of a group of contributors days before they were due for surgery, a unique moment in time when they were detached from the shame and humiliation of their obesity and were looking forward to a new life promised by surgery. These are, in editorial terms, the ‘before’ images intended originally to be compared to the ‘after’ but with the after removed.

Sharon Price, co-founder & curator, said: “We’ve chosen thought-provoking works that provide relevant social commentary on some quite hard-hitting issues. We also have the beautiful and the poignant, that will appeal not only to enthusiasts seeking to be challenged, but also to those seeking a feast for the senses.”

A particular highlight of this year’s festival will be the inclusion of works from Chris Floyd. Chris’ rise to fame took hold during the heights of Britpop and he has since become one of the most in-demand celebrity portrait photographers in the world. Chris will be at this year’s Photo North Festival exhibiting a selection of portraits from his book Not Just Pictures, a visual memoir dedicated to his 30-year career. Chris will also be imparting selected career highlights and insightful recollections, first-hand accounts of, in his words, ‘unique encounters on the confrontation and collaboration line’.

©Chris Floyd

Joanne Coates will exhibit her remarkable Daughters of the Soil: Women make up 28% of the farming industry in the UK and their contribution is significant but often overlooked, with underlying barriers such as access to land, class, motherhood, and lack of clear leadership roles contributing to this. Despite playing a central role in agricultural progress throughout history, documentation of female farmworkers is slim. Daughters of the Soil aims to redress this and create a powerful portrait of the role women play in contemporary farming practices.

Other exhibitions include: Going to the Sands, stunning photographs by Tessa Bunney of Morecambe Bay fishing families and BELONG by Dean Belcher, intimate photographs inside Working Men’s Clubs. Taken between 1989–1993, Roy Mehta’s exquisite black and white photographs from his reportage, REVIVAL, capture the daily rituals of the London borough of Brent’s various communities, most notably the Afro-Caribbean and Irish, engaged in seemingly simple activities at home, in the street and at church. Return, O Backsliding Children by Sofia Conti is a multimedia-based collaboration with communities in the East End of Glasgow, documenting how crime encroaches upon their daily lives and Postcards From the Edge is a group show celebrating the colour and character of the English seaside with contributions from Barry Lewis, Peter Dench, Heather Tait, Gisela & Craig Szlatoszlavek, Hannah Cassidy and Dawn Mander.

Festival co-founder & curator, Peter Dench, said: “We recognise people are passionate about photography. Photo North Festival aims to introduce or advance understanding of the medium through our programme of exhibitions – to inspire and engage debate. We have one perfect venue, with headline events and renowned photographers confirmed and the list is growing. The creativity in planning the festival format, talks and screenings is something unique to offer people in the north of England and beyond.”

Photo North has secured this stunning lineup to deliver a thought-provoking, lively and inclusive festival that will appeal to the professional photographer, photo-enthusiast, keen amateur and anyone who engages with the timeless appeal of the medium.

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About the author

Read Photo North Festival #4 Lands 24-26 March

Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.