Belfast Exposed Photography
Belfast Exposed Photography
The Exchange Place
23 Donegall Street
Founded in 1983 as a community photography initiative, Belfast Exposed Photography now functions as a gallery for contemporary photography with emphasis on commissioning and publication of new work. It holds a community photography archive and runs an extensive educational outreach network.
The production of socially and politically engaged work and dialogue is the driving force behind all aspects of the Belfast Exposed project. A policy of project origination and publication, the exhibition, screenings and talks programme and provision of photographic facilities and training all fuel this process.
Belfast Exposed has traditionally focused on the development and exhibition of community photography. Through training it continues to encourage local communities to use photography to record and understand their environment. It has compiled an archive of half a million images, a proportion of which are accessible online.
Gallery opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 11am to 5pm - Saturday 11am to 5pm
Please contact venue for details
NORTHERN IRELAND: 30 Years of Photography
Developed as a partnership between Belfast Exposed and the MAC, Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography is a major exhibition, which brings together significant works by key photographers to examine the phenomenon of new photographic practices in Northern Ireland. Since the 1980s Northern Ireland has produced a distinctive body of photographic work by photographers from within and outside Northern Ireland. Many of the photographers to be included in the exhibition have established global reputations, but have not previously been considered in any sustained way as group of photographers interacting with each other’s work.
Taking a historical and thematic approach, the exhibition begins with the media imagery of ‘The Troubles’ that compelled photographers and artists to intervene in the flow of press photography that dominated a global, visual portrayal of Northern Ireland in the 1970s. From this response, an engaged and often polemic aesthetic emerged, individual to each photographer but also shared across diverse photographic practices. With the Peace Process in the 1990s a new dynamic entered the scene which required photographers to think about the social and political past and future of Northern Ireland, and which also offered new opportunities for exhibiting and publishing work.
While presenting an analysis of its broad aesthetics, the exhibition also questions the extent to which the theme of conflict has dominated our view of Northern Irish photography. The photographers presented in the exhibition have formulated their visual language and its way of seeing Northern Ireland from wider photographic influences and from the gradual acceptance of photography as a gallery-based art form. Through the inclusion of work by photographers with a keen sense of trends and debates in the wider contexts of contemporary photography and art, the exhibition presents photography in and from Northern Ireland as a reflection of place in the broadest possible sense.
Photographers include Craig Ames, Sylvia Grace Borda, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Ursula Burke, John Byrne, Victoria J. Dean, Willie Doherty, John Duncan, David Farrell, Malcolm Craig Gilbert, Paul Graham, Philip Jones Griffiths, Anthony Haughey, Kai-Olaf Hesse, Sean Hillen, Claudio Hils, Daniel Jewesbury, Peter Marlow, Gareth McConnell, Patrick McCoy, Moira McIver, Mary McIntyre, Sean McKernan, Eoghan McTigue, Jonathan Olley, Mark Power, Paul Quinn, Paul Seawright, Victor Sloan, Mervyn Smyth, Hannah Starkey and Donovan Wylie.
The exhibition is curated by Karen Downey, Senior Curator at Belfast Exposed. Karen also works as an independent curator. In 2009 she curated Northern Ireland’s presentation at the 53rd Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition by Susan MacWilliam, and in 2011 she curated Versions and Diversions at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin. In 2012 she was Lead Curator and Editor for Into the Light: The Arts Council – 60 Years of Supporting the Arts.
The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial publication, Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography by Colin Graham. Colin Graham lectures at NUI Maynooth, and was previously Reader in English at Queen’s University Belfast. He is the author of Ideologies of Epic and Deconstructing Ireland. He is co-editor of the journal The Irish Review, and of three collections of essays. He has published articles in many journals, including Cultural Studies, Third Text, Journal of Visual Culture, Irish Studies Review, The Dublin Review and Source.