Brighton Photo Biennial takes cutting edge for 2010

By Ben Miller | 22 July 2010
A photo of a young man lying on his side

(Above) Susanne Opton created a series of portraits of soldiers on home-leave from Afghanistan and Iraq, displayed on billboards around the US to mixed public reception. Her work, including Soldier: Claxton – 120 Days in Afghanistan (2004) (above), will form part of the Brighton Photo Biennial. Image © the artist

Festival: Brighton Photo Biennial 2010, various venues, October 2 – November 14 2010

Sealife scooped from the sea, a documentation of the thriving queer scene in Brighton and conceptual photography from Algeria, Argentina and beyond will feature in a global-thinking fourth edition of the Brighton Photo Biennial with a key focus on the new and futuristic, organisers have announced.

Taking to venues across the city and the South-East, the 2010 edition – called New Documents – stars five exhibitions curated by Martin Parr, including commercial and non-commercial photographers and the "new generation" of practitioners, from Johannesburg club bouncers and Senegalese portraitists to Mexican taxi drivers and local talent from the University of Brighton. More than 85,000 visitors are expected to attend.

A photo of a young Kenyan person in a blue leotard-style piece of clothing

Dutch artist Viviane Sassen spent her childhood spent in Kenya as a doctor's daughter. Africa has formed the subject of her photography. Prosper, from the series Flamboya (2006). Courtesy Motive Gallery, Amsterdam

"I want to make this festival fresh, distinctive and focused on Brighton and Hove," said Parr, calling the city's bohemian backdrop "the ideal venue" for his ideas.

"All the work will be newly produced or newly rediscovered and on the cutting edge of photography. This festival will be about the process of discovery, with opportunities to see and engage with exciting contemporary work."

The historic Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Brighton’s central Grand Parade gallery and the serene former church building turned contemporary art gallery, Fabrica, are among a set of host venues taking part, with a programme of related exhibitions heading to Chichester’s highly popular Pallant House, Eastbourne's Art Fund Prize-nominated Towner, Aspex in Portsmouth and the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea.

A photo of children playing on swings as a parent looks on outside a house

Joseph Heinrich Darchinger (Germany) shot for The German Ministry of the Interior during the 1960s and 1970s as part of an effort to present the rebuilding of Germany. Wirtschaftswunder, © Archive of Modern Conflict

The geography of the core festival has been designed to be easily walkable, with digital prints freed from frames by being pinned on walls.

In Strange and Familiar, three artists present different responses to Brighton and Hove, starting with Hackney-based Stephen Gill’s ploy of dropping seaweed and local plant life discovered around the city directly into his camera, allowing insects to crawl across the film emulsion and become an integral addition to the final pictures.

Japan's Rinko Kawauchi follows flocks of starlings and groups of people through the streets for Murmuration, her first commission in the UK, and Alec Soth unites residents and local newspaper headlines in Brighton Picture Hunt cortesy of photo commissioning and publishing agency Photoworks.

Americans Molly Landreth and Zoe Strauss portray the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities of Brighton at Lighthouse, and another pairing – Argentineans Alejandro Chaskielberg and Esteban Pastorino Diaz – present A Night in Argentina at the University's Gallery, comprising communities illuminated by the moon above the River Tigres, near Buenos Aires, and the Fascist nature of 1930s and 1940s architecture in the country.

Fabrica gets The House of Vernacular, an installation of dreamlike designs with contributions from amateur American family snapshots, archive photos of litter bins, interior shots from African dictators' private jets and films created for German ministries during the Cold War. A full programme of events and education activities are also planned.

Visit the Biennial online for full listings and more.

2010 is Year of the Museum in the South-East, discover a museum at and find out about the Beautiful South campaign at

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