Copyright Simon Faithfull, 2014


The Brighton Photo Biennial 2014 launches today and runs until 2 November in and around Brighton with shows also taking place in Hove, Lewes, Hastings and Bexhill.


Brighton Photo Biennial is the UK’s leading curated photography festival and promotes new thinking around photography through a commissioned programme of events and exhibitions. The festival, now in its sixth edition, is themed COMMUNITIES, COLLECTIVES & COLLABORATION and is produced by Photoworks, an organisation dedicated to enabling participation in photography, the most democratic medium of contemporary visual culture. Photoworks’ programme includes commissions, publishing and participation. In collaboration with local, national and international partners, Photoworks connects outstanding artists with audiences and champions talent and ambition.


Photoworks who organise the Biennial, have this year broken with the single curator model and instead are working in close partnership with a host of regional, national and international collaborators to develop a series of new projects on the theme of Communities, Collectives & Collaboration.


BPB14 embraces novel perspectives and fresh approaches to generate commissions, new work and represent archive material.Designed to inspire, challenge and celebrate the most democratic medium of our age, BPB14 takes place online and in public spaces, galleries and pop-up venues across Brighton & Hove and beyond, involving more than 45 photographers and collaborators all bound by a common approach.


From collusion and intrusion in paparazzi photography, to live underwater cameras recording the creation of an artificial reef; to connect and disconnect in communities; to explorations of national and international photography collectives, to ambitious participatory projects, BPB14 presents previously unseen perspectives on photography.


Prompting questions around custodianship, authorship, mythologies, image-making, sharing and collaborative processes, BPB14 explores photography’s role in relation to these larger ideas. Featuring re-discovered archives, premiering new commissions, BPB14 addresses the role of photography across genres and includes established and emerging talent, across communities and continents. Photography is explored as prints, projections, pixels and pages.


The core programme takes place throughout October and runs until 2 November. It promises a packed schedule of workshops, talks, screenings and other events to complement the exhibitions, ensuring everyone – whatever their level of interest or expertise, can participate in BPB14.


With various visual arts organisations and galleries across the region taking part in the Biennial, a few of the key shows from the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (SE) include:


REEF @Fabrica, Brighton 4 October – 23 November 2014

On the 4 October  REEF opens at Fabrica, Brighton (Preview 6-9pm 3 October, exhibition continues until 23 November 2014). The gallery programme includes 13 Fathoms, a performance lecture by Simon Faithfull, and From Wreck to REEF, a discussion event about the how and why of artificial reefs and the making of Faithfull’s REEF project.


Photo by Gavin Weber. Copyright Simon Faithfull, 2014


In August, artist Simon Faithfull sank a boat in Weymouth Bay on the South Coast of England. From the moment the boat began its journey to the bottom of the sea, onboard cameras have been transmitting live video images so online viewers can witness the boat’s slow metamorphosis into a new underwater ecosystem, in the form of an artificial reef. The cameras continue transmitting for a year with the images relayed to exhibitions in Brighton, Calais and Caen.


REEF is Faithfull’s most ambitious project to date representing a unique collaboration between the artist, arts organisations, marine industries and conservationists, divers and specialist technicians. Collaboration with partners in Portland, Dorset, most notably Wreck to Reef, a not-for-profit organisation seeking to regenerate an area of the seabed near Portland has been key to the development and success of REEF.


Film footage of the sinking event and live video streamed from the seafloor forms the basis of a complex installation in Fabrica. The architecture of Fabrica (a former chapel) is reminiscent of a huge upturned boat and suspended beneath its rafters two large projection screens will show excerpts of the boat smoking and sinking beneath the waves. At ground level, a series of bulky monitors will show the mysterious images coming from the drowned boat.


REEF will then tour to northern France as one element in a major two-site survey of Faithfull’s work showing at FRAC Basse-Normandie (5 December 2014-15 February 2015) and Musee des Beaux Arts, Calais until June 2015


One Archive: Three Views Magnum @De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill 4 October 2014 – 4 January 2015

Leonard Freed, Women’s Liberation March at City Hall, NYC, 1970 © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos


For the first time in its history, the iconic photography agency Magnum has opened its London office’s resin print archive to three contemporary practitioners. Guided by the former Magnum Photos archivist Nick Galvin, historian and anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards, photographer Hannah Starkey and artist Uriel Orlow were invited to reinterpret how social, cultural and political inclinations have shaped the content of the archive.


Edwards, Starkey and Orlow chose 130 rarely seen photographs from 68,000 prints, which collectively present an imperfect history of photography from 1940 – 2000. Edwards addresses how the experiences of people and their engagement with the world are inscribed in the photograph. Starkey’s interest is in how the female perspective has resulted in a narrative linked across the decades, and Orlow teases out the blind spots of history in the margins of crisis. Starkey’s interest arises from the female perspective and how work is subsequently engendered; Edwards investigates narrative gaps and absent histories, while Orlow teases out pictorial associations.


Martin Parr, Rusholme, Manchester, England, 1972 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos


Twenty-seven photographers whose work is presented in the exhibition include Abbas, Eve Arnold, Rene Burri, Elliott Erwitt, Stuart Franklin, Leonard Freed, David Hurn, Peter Marlow, Inge Morath, Martin Parr, Chris Steele-Perkins and David “Chim” Seymour. One Archive, Three Views is the first time the resin coated print archive has formed the basis of a curated exhibition. The archive presents a snapshot in time, an imperfect history, and the selectors have worked individually and jointly to look beneath the mythology of Magnum.