Burning boats, glass plates and mass observation as Brighton Photo Biennial returns

By Christian Engel | 22 July 2014

Preview: Brighton Photo Biennial 2014: Communities, Collectives and Collaboration, various venues, Brighton, October 4 – November 2

Ro, Backbend© Erica Scourti
Comprising the work of 45 photographers and artists, this year’s Brighton Photo Biennial will revolve around artistic collaborations – not only with other photographers, but also with environmentalists, scientists, young people and online communities.

Under the slogan Communities, Collectives and Collaboration, the sixth edition of UK’s largest international photography festival will take place throughout Brighton and Hove, showcasing works produced by innovative partnerships between individuals and practitioners from different fields.

Simon Faithfull will set a boat on fire close to the sea from Portland in August. After the vessel has sunk, five cameras installed on board will transmit the boat’s final journey to the bottom of the sea live.

Hull-wide© Simon Faithfull
The recordings will then be transmitted on Faithfull's website for a year.

Photographers Kalpesh Lathigra and Thabiso Sekgala depict the two South African communities Marabastad and Laudium: the former was a culturally and racially diverse community before it was forced to relocate in the late 1940s, Laudium proclaimed an Indian Township under Apartheid in 1961.

Stories Seen Through A Glass Plate portrays The Reeves Studio in Lewes, thought to be the oldest continuously operated photographic studio in the world, where Edward Reeves took his first studio portrait in 1855.

Today run by his great-great-grandson, its archive of more than 200,000 images, half of which are glass plate negatives, is a unique living record of the daily life of the Lewes community.
The Mass Education Project invites visitors to explore archive boxes of autobiographical accounts, diaries, photographs and flip books through texts and pictures created by members of schools and community organisations in the South East.

The Mass Observation Archive - to which anonymous individuals have been submitting entries about their private lives since 1937 to portray British Society - has given creative workshops on how to express oneself in documents like text and photography.

Ten photo essays, commissioned by FotoDocument, respond to the sustainability principles of the initiative One Planet Living in the form of site-specific installations in high profile public spaces.

Among them are Equity and Local Economy at Brighton's Community Football Stadium, Sustainable Transport in the Brighton Railway Station and Sustainable Materials at Emmaus Brighton.

Vintage Workshop, Kemp Town© Amanda Jackson
Artist Erica Scourti ponders the question of custodianship by working collaboratively with online communities.

In her exhibition, So Like You, she addresses the impact that new technologies have on transforming photography and its relationship to audiences.

In Five Photography Collectives, contemporary views on photography provide a route into the resurgence of photography collectives, featuring the varying styles and approaches of ABC, Burn My Eye, Ruido Photo, Sputnik Photos and Uncertain States.

  • Visit bpb.org.uk for more and follow the Biennial on Twitter @photoworks_uk.

Click on the picture to launch a gallery from the Biennial

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More from Culture24's previews section:

American Impressionism: A New Vision at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Buddha exhibition shows incredible journeys at Cambridge Museum of Archaeology

Royal Albert Memorial Museum explores sexuality through the Wellcome Collection
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