All posts by ARitson

Photographer Talk: John Kippin

Join us to hear John Kippin talk about his exhibition ‘Romanitas’ and his work in greater depth on Wednesday 6 June at 6.30pm at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

The event is free but booking is requested HERE

Romanitas reveals a brand new body of work created in Rome since 2012. It was made before the rise of the far-right on both sides of the Altantic, but after the austerity imposed by governments across Europe that has allowed parties such as Northern League in Italy; the Front National in France; Golden Dawn in Greece; the Freedom Party in Austria; the Party for Freedom in Holland; the Alternative for Germany, all to flourish.

In Romanitas, Kippin reflects upon both the state of contemporary politics, in relation to that what WH Auden called the “low, dishonest decade” of the 1930s. In Romanitas Kippin dwells on the image of the future built by a far-right nationalist regime that still exists, to picture the daily life lived amongst it. The work can be read as a kind of portrait of Europe in our time. Kippin’s starting point in creating the work was Winston Churchill’s famous phrase: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”.  More about the exhibition HERE

John Kippin’s artwork is represented in three of the UK’s national collections of contemporary art, having recently been acquired for the Arts Council Collection in 2018, and having works in the Victoria & Albert Museum and British Council Collection.  John Kippin’s career began in the early 1970s when he was a key figure in the co-operative of young artists who ran 2B Butler’s Wharf at Tower Bridge. In this decade he was instrumental in presenting artists’ film, performance, and installation projects in public and gaining recognition for new media in the visual arts. In the 1980s Kippin began to receive widespread recognition for his own photographic artwork, exhibiting in public venues from the Serpentine Gallery in 1981 to the Laing Art Gallery in 1989. In the 1990s he was awarded major one-person exhibitions at venues including The Photographers’ Gallery, London and his work was acquired for the permanent collections of national institutions. He also exhibited across Europe, North America and Asia. In the 2000s he undertook research residencies at places from the military base Greenham Common to the stately home Compton Verney, and published a sequence of ground-breaking artist’s books. Since then he also exhibited bodies of work at venues from BALTIC to the Imperial War Museum.

Kippin is Emeritus Professor in Photography at the University of Sunderland and is chair of the visual arts organisation Locus+.

The talk is programmed in collaboration with Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

 Image: John Kippin, Untitled from Romanitas, 2013-2016.

Artist Talk: Fiona Crisp

Join us to hear Fiona Crisp talk about her exhibition Material Sight, and her practice in greater depth on Wednesday 9 May at 6.30pm at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

The event is free but booking is requested HERE

Fiona Crisp explores how we might encounter spaces where the frontiers of knowledge are being expanded. Material Sight is a new, large-scale commission that uses photography, moving image and sound to approach the material environments where experiments that challenge the limits of our imagination are carried out. For nearly two years Crisp has worked with three world-leading research facilities for ‘fundamental science’: Boulby Underground Laboratory, sited in the UK’s deepest working mine, Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, the world’s largest underground laboratory for particle physics, housed inside a mountain in central Italy.

Material Sight runs until 13 May 2018 at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and will then tour to Arts Catalyst Centre for Art, Science & Technology, London from 7 June – 14 July 2018.

Fiona Crisp is an artist known for creating installations of large-scale photographs that question the presence of the photographic object as an unstable and deeply equivocal phenomenon. Her projects have been created by spending intensive periods of time in particular locations. Previous projects have included working in the Early Christian catacombs of Rome, and in a Second World War underground military hospital. Crisp studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. The project Material Sight has been supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. Crisp’s work is held by several national collections of contemporary art, including Tate, the British Council, Arts Council and Government Art Collection. Fiona Crisp is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.

This event has been programmed in partnership with NGCA: as part of our series exploring the relationship between photography, science and technology, Observe. Experiment. Archive.

Image: Fiona Crisp, Osservatorio Astronomico di Campo Imperatore, 2018.   Giclée print from colour transparency.  Image courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery, London.


DEVELOP Graduate – Professional Development Event

Image: Helen McGhie, Wanderer 2017

DEVELOP Graduate is a two-day professional development event organised by graduating students from the Northern Centre of Photography with NEPN.

The event has been co-designed to support emerging photographers and artists using photography, offering a space to think about next steps and build professional networks.

The programme comprises a keynote photographer talk by Hannah Starkey on the evening of Thursday 28 June and a full day of talks and discussion on Friday 29 June, with contributions from photographers including Liza Dracup, John Kippin, Sarah Pickering, Helen McGhie, Othello De’Souza-Hartley and Julian Germain as well as curators including George Vasey and Charlie Gregory.
You can find speaker Bios HERE.

Thursday 28 June, 6.30-9.00pm.
Photographer Talk by Hannah Starkey at Hope Street Xchange, followed by preview of the John Kippin exhibition ‘Based on a True Story, Works 1984-2018′ and book launch at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (free transport provided).

Friday 29 June 2018, 9.30-6pm.
Photographer talks; panel discussions offering photographer/curator perspectives on topics including:  balancing personal and commissioned projects;  building a community of practice; sustaining a creative practice.

Venue: Hope Street Xchange, Sunderland.

Advance registration is requested.  Please click here to book.

Attendance costs £20 (including both days) which is highly subsidised by the Higher Education Academy, NEPN and University of Sunderland Development Trust.

NEPN is the recipient of a national award in recognition of its work in connecting pedagogy and professional practice, engaging students of the Northern Centre of Photography with the photographic and wider cultural sector and NEPN’s offer.  The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence was awarded by the Higher Education Academy.

For information or any queries please email:



Photographer Talk: Wendy McMurdo

Wendy McMurdo will be giving a talk about her practice on Wednesday 25 April as part of our new project Observe. Experiment. Archive which will explore the links between photography, science and technology.   The talk starts at 6.30pm in the Lecture Theatre and will be followed by a Q&A and informal conversation in the Library.

Mining Institute (Lecture Theatre), Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE.   Please book HERE.

Wendy McMurdo was born in Edinburgh where she initially trained as a painter.  She left the UK in the mid 1980s for the Pratt Institute, New York.  While studying there, she turned to photography and on returning to the UK, began to work for the first time with this medium. After completing an MA at Goldsmiths College, London, she was awarded a two-year fellowship by The Henry Moore Foundation.  These two years were to prove critical in her development and in 1993 she produced her first major solo exhibition In a Shaded Place. Working for the first time with the computer, she produced a series that explored the intersection between autographic photography and the digital image.

The rapid proliferation of computers in schools provided the context for the development of her next body of work that looked directly at the influence of computers on early years education. Working closely with local schools, she explored the role of the child within the school, the growth of the Internet and the development of networked play. In related projects, she shadowed school parties on educational visits to various local museums, a process which evolved naturally from photographing in the classroom. From this, she produced series of works that explored the ways in which children related to the museum and its objects in a world of increasing simulation.

Wendy’s work has been shown throughout Europe in exhibitions such as The Anagrammatical Body: The Body and its Photographic Condition curated by Christa Steinle and Peter Weibel for ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Uncanny, curated by Urs Stahel for the Fotomuseum Wintherthur and Only Make Believe curated by Marina Warner for Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK. In 2017, her project Indeterminate Objects (classrooms) was commissioned for The Photographers’ Gallery Media Wall in London.

In 2014 a mid-career retrospective exhibition of her work Digital Play was included as part of Generation –  25 years of contemporary art in Scotland, a nationwide programme of exhibitions and events celebrating the last 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland. This comprehensive exhibition brought together works from several of her film and photography projects.  In 2015 she was awarded a PhD by publication by the University of Westminster for her work exploring the relationship of children and photography to the computer.

Please note that disabled access to the Lecture Theatre is gained at the rear of the building and it is best to telephone the Mining Institute ahead on (0191) 232 2201.




Indeterminate Objects (classrooms) - Production still, 2017
From Skaters, 2009



Observe. Experiment. Archive


NEPN is pleased to announce a new project for 2018/19, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by the University of Sunderland.

Observe. Experiment. Archive. will explore the relationship between contemporary photographic practice, science, technology, health and wellbeing, through a series of talks, screenings, seminars and new commission opportunities, culminating in the presentation of new photographic works in Sunderland.  Programme partners for the project include Royal Horticultural Society, Kielder Observatory and Sunderland Living Lab, as well as cultural partners Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Breeze Creatives.

Photography emerged from the creative innovations and networks of knowledge pioneered by 19th century scientists. Ever since, its history has been enmeshed with scientific and technological endeavour; through science and photography we explore the world and communicate our understandings.  Key developments in each discipline have often been concurrent, from the harnessing of chemical processes and techniques by Victorian photographic entrepreneurs, to the shared exploration of the mysteries of light, the development of artificial light and the use of lenses as a means of mediating and examining experience.  In our digital present, extensive communities of practice exist around both scientific and photographic endeavours, which now incorporate a spectrum of citizen, amateur and professional approaches. A democratization of knowledge and tools has enabled the rise of citizen science, citizen journalism and shared creative expression of lived experience.

Our first event is a Photographer Talk with Wendy McMurdo on 25 April 2018, more information about this and the programme to be announced in Spring.



Dark Skies/Blue Skies: Call for Proposals

Artist Call for Proposals, 21.02.18

The Cultural Spring and NEPN invite proposals from a lead artist, collective or arts organisation for an innovative participatory project with and for the people of Sunderland.
The commission is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.  Please download the full brief Dark Skies Blue Skies Call for Proposals

Main Purpose and Aims

The project will see high-quality photographic artists working with community members to imagine and give creative form to future-facing aspirations through publicly sited artworks and/or publications. The project aims to create confident cultural activists who recognise their own creative potential.

The project is inspired by the creative and scientific desire to explore the world and understand our place in it, and by the wish to imaginatively explore the future. We are particularly keen to receive innovative proposals that fuse currents of creativity shared by science, technology and photography. Proposals could incorporate a journey through early traditional photographic process as a means to record and imagine the world (photo-grams, cyanotypes, stereo-grams) as well as contemporary photographic technologies such as mobile phones with which we share and communicate our lived experiences.

This commission will be developed through community consultation, using a collaborative methodology and shared sense of ownership of the project. We will commission an artist(s) for whom social engagement is integral to their approach.

Project outcomes should be:

  • Innovative and ambitious in scope
  • of the highest artistic quality
  • Relevant, diverse and inclusive for the communities of Sunderland

Additionally, they should:

  • Raise aspiration and represent the experiences and future hopes of Sunderland residents
  • Increase the profile of culture, specifically photography, locally, nationally and internationally.

Commission Details

May 2018 – November 2018 (7 months), with the final public event/s in November 2018

Commission Fee: The Lead Artist/Organisation fee for this commission is up to £25,000 (expected to be at least 70 days, inclusive of VAT and expenses (travel/accommodation)).

Deadline for proposals: Monday 26 March, 5pm. 

Please download the full Dark Skies/Blue Skies Call for Proposals here.



Bläue (Blueness) by Kerstin Schroedinger

NEPN and Breeze Creatives present a screening of Bläue (Blueness), a film by artist Kerstin Schroedinger on Wednesday 7 March at 6.30pm at Bamburgh House, Newcastle. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with the artist.

Juxtaposing images of the production sites of the pharmaceutical-chemical industry with speculations on the historical, social, and material conditions of Cyanotype photography, Bläue (Blueness) probes into the (gendered) politics of materiality and the (violent) historicities of its form.
 The film follows a figure that proceeds through the stages of exposing and developing a Cyanotype. They revisit sites in Seveso, Italy, and Basel, Switzerland that both relate directly to the history of Prussian Blue, a blue synthetic dye.
In the latent period, when the images are exposed but not developed yet, the figure searches to define their body as both commodity and consumer of pharmaceutical products. This body is modelled on the productive body of Fordist labour. Yet like the industrial sites that appear as remnants of an older mode of production, this body has been fundamentally reconfigured to conform to post-industrial working conditions.
Subsequently, the figure aims to perform against pharmaceutical substances and prepare against a neoliberal take-over of their movements, lingering between the roles of researcher, scientist, athlete, pharmacist, patient, woman. (Schroedinger, 2017). 

Bläue (Blueness) was supported by and premiered at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in 2017.

Where: 8th Floor, Bamburgh House, Market Street East, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6BH.  Bamburgh House is fully accessible.  All welcome. FREE. Film duration 48 mins followed by Q&A.

Kerstin Schroedinger is an artist based in Berlin working in film/video, sound and performance. Kerstin’s historiographic practice questions the means of image production, historical continuities and ideological certainties of representation. Schroedinger is a member of feminist film distribution group Cinenova in London. 
Her work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives New York, Images Festival Toronto, Short Film Festival Oberhausen, International Film Festival Toronto, Gasworks London, and exhibited at MIT List Visual Arts Center Boston, Photo Cairo #6, Les Complices* Zürich, The School of Kyiv – 2nd Kiev Biennale, Kunstpavillion Innsbruck, amongst other places.



Michael Daglish reflects on his attendance of Singapore International Photography Festival, October 2016

In October I was given the opportunity to visit Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF). This opportunity came in the form a travel bursary via NEPN, supported by Arts Council England.

DECK Gallery, Singapore 2016

I applied for this opportunity as I wished to further explore a longstanding interest in methodologies of approach to conceptual photography, with regards to an international stage.  The perceived audience of photographic work – their cultural backgrounds and presumed knowledge base is, more often than not, fixed within the artist’s own personal understanding. This can at times struggle to translate within their own local and national contexts, so how does this play out on a world stage, crossing multiple cultural divides?  There was also the other massive potential for personal development expanding my network far beyond its current reach.

I arrived a couple of days before the official opening of the festival as I had booked onto a workshop with Boris Eldagsen. I wished to see how Eldagsen used his slightly bizarre method of approach using in camera trickery to deliver his story. I was also drawn to the fact the he refers to his images as poems.

Through the time spent on the workshop, I was able to learn the technicality of process around Eldagsen’s images. He showed us how to adapt his process, building a layered narrative into each image, whilst making the viewer question what it is they are actually seeing. He describes his method as, photographing a black cat in a black room with the lights turned off. His work shows us a post-truth; an experience that steps beyond the realm of reality, into that of the unconscious mind.

Image by Michael Daglish created during Boris Eldagsen, Hijack the Night workshop Singapore 2016

I saw Eldagsen present his work on three separate occasions to three different audiences. What I really found interesting, aside form the work, was the manner in which he addressed each audience. He was showing the same work, but became very adaptive in his description of the work, processes and methodologies used. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but it really showed me how a piece of work can sit on many different levels, making it accessible to a much larger audience. When considering my own practice this certainly gave me an insight into approaches to presentation and appropriate language/conceptual use with regards to audience.

Boris Eldagsen Lecture at Nanyang Technological University, 2016

SIPF itself had work situated it both galleries as well as public spaces. The vast majority of open call work could be seen either along one of the MRT lines (similar to the tube) or on and in shipping containers at the Open Plaza of the National Library Building.

SIPF Open Call, Open Plaza, National Library Building 2016

The opening night of the open call show proved to be an excellent opportunity to build networks with the artists exhibiting, as well as visitors and and curators alike. One of the great things about the way the festival was geographically programmed was that as you moved between shows during the week you inevitably bumped into people you have previously met at openings. This made for a small community feeling and helped to strengthen connections that had been made.

Donna Chiu, Somewhere Only I Know @ Rochor MRT Station 2016

Opening night of Daido Moriyama: Prints & Books from 1960s-1980s @ Deck 2016

Aside from visiting SIPF whilst in Singapore I was able to see a number of other established and still establishing parts of the art scene. What really blew me away was the sheer size and scale of the scene held within such a small area. I visited two of the universities, one as guest shown around the whole site and the other as a member of the public visiting their gallery spaces. What was immediately apparent was the high level of equipment and facilities, as well as the freedom offered to the students to truly explore their own practice. Students are also given spaces to exhibit and grants and bursaries are made available for research and production.

The exhibition I saw at the Praxis Gallery of ICA Singapore LASALLE College of the Arts was an excellent example of high quality exhibition space being used to show student work made possible through a large multi-student practice-based travel grant.

Christabel Ngoi Moving Thoughts 2016 @ Praxis Space, LASALLE College of the Arts

Nanyang Technological University offered a very similar format to that which I’m used to seeing in the delivery of its photography programme. As I found out later in my trip, this format of teaching and acceptance of photography as conceptual art is not common practice in this part of the world.

I did meet two ex students of Nanyang, Lavender Chang and Noor Iskandar. Both had been chosen to exhibit as part of The Singapore Art Show. This show is programmed by Helutrans, an art transportation company, in their permanent gallery space to the side of the warehousing facility. This ‘virtuous circle’ is a perfect example of giving back which seems common practice in Singapore, a company making it profits from the transportation of art works in turn investing in emerging artists.

Noor Iskandar discussing his series How Dust Floats 2016

Lavender Chang, one of the artists exhibiting at The Singapore Art Show, also offered to show me Gillman Barracks. Gillman is an area given over by the government to be used an arts village, housing both artists studios, galleries and offering a meeting place in the form of cafés and restaurants. The scale of it is truly outstanding as is the quality of the work produced and exhibited. It really does offer a very freeing space in which an artist is able to think, create and explore. This space does also help to give an understanding of what we could have here in Sunderland with the development of the creative quarter, all be it on a smaller scale.


Entrance to Gillman Barracks

 I didn’t only visit the multiple galleries and art spaces around Singapore as a viewer, but I also carried around with me a portfolio of my own work, showing it to whoever was willing to take a look. This process was at times brutal, hearing things I really didn’t want to hear, having work repositioned far outside of the context I had originally intended. This re-contextualisation of the work by those viewing it did however help me to understand the differences in showing work to an Eastern audience as opposed to a European one. I was able to further understand the subtleties in image reading and how the influences of Chinese painting with its large blank spaces for breathing translate across to the production and reading of photographic images.

This said I did also take a lot of positives from showing my work, and will use the advice I was given to further develop projects, as well as re editing projects for presenting in portfolio format.

After spending time with artists and curators from around the world discussing the art and photographic scene within an Eastern context, referencing it back to compare and contrast against European contexts, I found there to be a number of differences when considering audience and their engagement with the work. Most obviously the idea of photography as conceptual art is still in its infancy in Singapore. Galleries like DECK and Mizuma are doing a lot to help position work in this way, as is the teaching now taking place at Nanyang and LASALLE. Teaching within Singapore has tended to work very much along the lines of the American formula, with photography being a technical tool rather than an artistic practice. This has its benefits in raising the production values and technical level of work produced. A number of lecturing staff are now coming from a European academic background and bringing this to the young emerging artists such as Lavender Chang and Noor Iskandar.
Magazines like Voices of Photography attempts to cross this divide being produced in Taiwan by Lee Wei-I. Although a small independent publication it has an international level of respect for the work it publishes and the manner in which it disseminates. Then there is Daniel Boetker-Smith with the Asian Pacific Book Archive. Daniel takes work from around the Asian Pacific area worldwide. Allowing artists to show work in places it would not otherwise be seen. It also gives international viewers an insight into the work produced in this area of the world, setting context whilst showing themes of exploration.

The experience as a whole left me with a greater understanding of the international photographic art scene as well as a much wider and diverse network of contacts. This will without doubt assist me as I push both my own practice in the future as well as the students I work with.

I’d like to thank NEPN and Arts Council England for making this possible. I’d also like to thank Gwen Lee from DECK for welcoming me, Ang Song Nian, Lavender Chang and Alex Supartono for their invaluable local knowledge which assisted me on my whistle stop tour.

Michael Daglish, Photo Courtesy of Lavender Chang

Michael Daglish was one of two selected photographers of the DEVELOP International Travel Bursaries 2016.

This initiative is designed to encourage photographers based in North East England to engage with the international photographic community and to take a pro-active approach to developing their practice and their networks.  The Bursaries are supported by public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Michael is a visual artist based in Sunderland. He is interested in the experiential aspects of being. The work he produces looks at the phenomenology of human experience, questioning our interactions with those around us as well as the environment we inhabit, be it momentary or long lasting.  Aesthetically his work sits within an area of construction. Although not always fully produced, it acts as a temporary intervention within a space.


Karolina Maciagowska reflects on her attendance of Landskrona Foto Festival 2016

Landskrona is a relatively small Swedish city but aims high in photography.  This year’s festival featured everything from exhibitions, an international seminar, artist talks, outdoor installations to portfolio reviews, photo book fair, guided tours and film screenings. The majority of exhibitions and lectures were held at the institutions like Landskrona Konsthall (art gallery), Landskrona Museum and Landskrona Theatre. In addition there were exhibitions in Landskrona Citadell, small galleries and empty shops premises.

When you think about a photo festival – you generally think about the theme. This year’s festival curators: Christian Caujolle and Jenny Nordquist have chosen not to develop the theme and allowed the criss-crossing of expressions through the confrontation and coexistence of different opinions and approaches, creating an ambitious platform encouraging audience to think about the image and its current issues, transformation and development. Another aim was to present photography which has rarely or never received any attention in Sweden. The Festival featured over 150 artists, lecturers and curators from all over the world, including internationally acclaimed Cat Phillips and Peter Kennard (kennardphillips), Joan Fontcuberta, Elina Brotherus and SMITH, Cristina de Middel, Jason Larkin, Tomasz Kizny and Dominique Roynette, Fred Ritchin and many others.

Wonderful Occupations, Svetlana Khachaturova

International Seminar and The Great Terror

Fred Ritchin speaking at the International Seminar ‘How Digital Consumption is Changing our Perception of Memory’

Landskrona Foto Festival started on Friday morning with an International Seminar: Media Consumption and Memory Loss in a Digital Age, hosted by Lars Mogensen – a freelance journalist and a radio producer, interested in social affairs, culture and philosophy. Through analysis and experiences in the fields of photography, media and communications speakers questioned digital technology, how it changed photography, the world, the concept of time related to the huge number of pictures which flow incredibly fast through the networks, notions of memory and history. The seminar was followed by a discussion with speakers. During the seminar Fred Ritchin, Dean and also founding director of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at ICP, shared his views about challenges and possibilities implicit in the digital revolution and how digital consumption is changing our perception of memory.

Tomasz Kizny speaking about ‘The Great Terror’

Tomasz Kizny, acclaimed photographer, journalist and researcher studying the history of crimes under the communism, spoke about the collective image of a society in time of terror.  In the years 2008-2011 Kizny worked on The Great Terror 1937-1938 project in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, dedicated to the memory of victims of crimes against humanity. Crimes were committed between 1937-1938 in former USSR, where 750 000 people were killed within a period of 15 months. The Great Terror exhibition, curated with Dominique Roynette ,held at Landskrona Citadell, was divided into three parts and included portraits of terror victims taken by NKVD before the execution, contemporary photographs of the sites of executions and graves and portraits of victim’s descendants, all accompanied by multimedia pieces (slideshows, sound and video).

The Great Terror at Landskrona Citadell, Tomasz Kizny and Dominique Roynette

Who? A dialogue between Elina Brotherus and SMITH (Dorothée Smith)

Elina Brotherus at the Landskrona Konsthall

SMITH (Dorothée Smith) at the Landskrona Konsthall

This exhibition was curated by co-director of Landskrona Foto, Christian Caujolle and took place at Landskrona Konsthall, featuring work on the theme of identity from two prominent European female artists. The work of both artists was shown side by side, creating a dialogue between them which. The exhibition really opened my eyes to the tension between the work and the power of the visual medium; questioning the possibilities of expression, reflecting on appearance and disappearance, past and future.

Photo Salon and Karolina Jonderko, Lost  

Swedish newspaper Helsinborg’s Dagblad teamed up with the festival to present the ‘Photo Salon’ open call – resulting in displays in various locations, including shop fronts in Landskrona’s city centre. Selected photographers who sent their submissions were invited by photographer and curator, Nygårds Karin Bengtsson, to exhibit their work in full.

Karolina Jonderko, Lost

Polish artist Karolina Jonderko presented Lost – a series of photographs which portray rooms and interiors that have been left untouched, sometimes for many years, after their owners have been reported missing. This incredibly moving project was divided between two parts – photographs were accompanied by a slideshow, which included images of letters ‘addressed’ to each missing person written by their family members (polish+english translation). Lost was a part of a group exhibition entitled It’s so Hard to Live Without You.

AgNO3  – Histories of Science and Photography in Sweden

AgNO3 at Landskrona Museum

If you ever wondered what happened to the cameras taken to the Moon, what allows scientists to conduct a research on rare collections of insects or how criminals should be pictured to be easily recognised or you are generally interested in the use of photography in science and research during past 150 years, AgNO3: Histories of Science and Photography in Sweden is definitely a must-see exhibition (showing at Landskrona Museum until 29 January 2017).   Photographs, video and multimedia installations and objects accompanied by text, which added a further dimension to the viewing. All items were carefully arranged and displayed across 12 rooms, creating 30 stories based on a variety of themes including: medical experiments, photographs of crime scenes and suspects, museum objects reconstruction process, military authorities documentation, planning and project design of the Stockholm metro system, Finnish population research, photographs of nature and birds or video records of birds and bats movement studies.   One of the presented objects that caught my attention was modified Hasselblad 500 EL which has not been taken to the Moon, but used by the astronauts for training purposes in Houston. All thirteen cameras used on the Moon between 1969-1972 were left there to minimise the weight of the space capsule on the journey ‘home’. Astronauts brought back the exposed film rolls only.

AgNO3 at Landskrona Museum

AgNO3 at Landskrona Museum

Worth mentioning is also Joan Fontcuberta’s ‘Science and Friction’ exhibition (Landskrona Museum), at which artist presented three bodies of work: ‘Herbarium’, ‘Hemogramas’ and ‘Lactogramas’. In ‘Herbarium’ photographs of non-existent plants are presentes in a context of a scientific research. ‘Hemogramas’ and ‘Lactogramas’ were created without the camera. Artist made negatives by deposing drops of blood or milk onto transparent glass slides. Specific scientific instruments and tools are presented next to the photographs as an important part of all installations.

Joan Fontcuberta, Hemogramas and Herbarium

About the experience

 I always thought that photo festivals are only for established artists – and I was wrong. I would encourage every emerging artist to look for opportunities which may be part of international photo festivals – whether it is a portfolio review, book dummy award submission, Photo Salon (open call) or simply networking (those great chats during the photo book fair!). I have gained some very valuable insight through the festival and ways that photo festivals are being curated. I had a great opportunity to discuss artwork and get an advice from internationally acclaimed artists, lecturers and experts. It helped me to understand how artists are working on their projects and exhibitions, what may interest or influence curators, how curators work with the archival materials and objects, discover new ways to engage the public, how empty premises can be turned into mini art galleries or how artwork can be presented (for example in a form of an outdoor installation).

And finally… Thank you!

I would like to thank Arts Council England, University of Sunderland and NEPN – Amanda Ritson, Dr Carol McKay and Jemma Gibson – for their hard work, enthusiasm, energy and fantastic Landskrona Foto Festival opportunity, which was an absolutely mind-blowing experience.

Karolina Maciagowska was one of two selected photographers of the DEVELOP International Travel Bursaries 2016.

This initiative is designed to encourage photographers based in North East England to engage with the international photographic community and to take a pro-active approach to developing their practice and their networks.  The Bursaries are supported by public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Karolina is a fine art photographer and video/multimedia artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Karolina’s work brings together imagery and text inspired by the imagination and memory and the depiction of real objects, situations and ordinary moments. Her images are carefully constructed records created by observation and an ongoing investigation of the world and her surroundings.

The editing within her grid installations is crucial to her work and the final results are never left up to chance, aiming to lead the viewer into finding the extraordinary within the mundane and discover the visual poetry of photographic language.


Video of ‘Joseph Swan and Photography in Sunderland’ event

Nat Wilkins of Canny Productions produced this smashing film which gives a sense of the mood and magic of our Joseph Swan and Photography in Sunderland event which was held in February in partnership with Breeze Creatives.  Our Victorian Athenaeum evening combined ‘learning and entertainment’, with photographic talks, demonstrations of old and new photographic processes and work by photographic artists Karolina Maciagowska, Andy Martin, Lucy Carolan and Richard Glynn of The Lostness Club and students of the Northern Centre of Photography.

Most people know Joseph Swan as the inventor of the incandescent light bulb. But he was also a photography entrepreneur and businessman, with connections far and wide. We’re celebrating this story in Sunderland, the town where he was born and grew up and where he encountered photography for the first time.

The event formed part of a collaboration between Breeze Creatives and Sunderland BID who presented three events in the Athenaeum Building on Fawcett Street, Sunderland as joint-winners of Sunderland’s 10×10 project connecting cultural and commercial partners.  More on the event here