Martin Parr, Richard Billingham and friends in vibrant Guernsey Photography Festival 2011

By Laura Burgess | 03 June 2011
A black and white photo of a young woman and a large dog staring into the camera
© Nelli Palomäki
Festival: Guernsey Photography Festival, St Peter Port, Guernsey, June 1-30 2011

It’s the beginning of summer which can only mean it’s the start of festival season and the return of the Guernsey Photography Festival to the streets and squares of St Peter Port.

Once again there will be some high-profile photographers exhibiting their work, including the likes of Martin Parr, Richard Billingham and Samuel Fosso alongside a retrospective of influential 1960s British documentary photographer Tony Ray Jones.

A photo of a man standing in a crowd wearing a yellow suit
© Francesco Giusti
This year’s event will explore the theme of identity, with participating photographers sharing their own interpretations on the concept, whether socially or politically. Many local photographers will contribute and give an insight as to what identity means to them living on the small island.

Parr will share work from his ongoing series Small World, which offers a biting satire on the homogenisation of worldwide tourism during the past three decades. He will exhibit his larger-than-life observations of holidaymakers around the globe.

A photo of a man in a multicoloured outfit crouching in front of the camera
© Samuel Fosso, Courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Galerie
Billingham’s controversial portraits, Ray’s a Laugh, depict an honest account of his parents’ troubled home life, presented alongside new work portraying his own young family. There will also be a series of videos produced by the artist in the late 1990s.

As one of Africa’s most eminent photographers, Fosso will exhibit his African Spirits and Tati series of self-portraits. African Spirits presents the artist inhabiting various icons of black cultural identity, from Martin Luther King and Malcolm X to Muhammad Ali.

A photo of people daubing a freedom sign on a house on an estate under grey skies
© Adam Patterson
The Tati series shows Fosso dressed up as fictionalised characters, and both projects reflect his ongoing experimentation with the techniques of portraiture.

“The festival is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most promising and high calibre festivals in Europe, capturing the imagination of islanders and international visitors alike,” says founder and director Jean-Christophe Godet.

“This year we expect in excess of 20,000 visitors, attracted by the opportunity to see exhibitions from world famous photographers and attend major talks and events in the beautiful surroundings of Guernsey.”

There will be more than 20 exhibitions and dozens of recreational and educational events.

Many of the exhibitions will be staged outdoors, with locations including the main square of St Peter Port and the bus terminal and airport.

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