The Belfast Photo Festival returns to the city offering alternative perspectives on our world

The grounds of Belfast City Hall, Botanic Gardens, Queen’s University, Queen’s Island, Belfast Harbor Quay and Stormont Estate will provide a backdrop for captivating visual arts as the Belfast Photo Festival returns in town next week.

From June 2 to 30, this year’s festival, under its theme The Verge, explores untold stories, underrepresented narratives and too often unseen perspectives on the world, through captivating and immersive exhibitions in galleries and public spaces throughout the city.

The Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast is hosting A Bigger Picture, an exhibition of emerging photographic artists from the feminist and LGBT+ communities who invite us to see Northern Ireland from a different perspective.

Artists include Shannon Ritchie, Gareth Sweeney and 2021 Turner Prize-winning Array collective member Emma Campbell.

“Northern Irish photography has established itself internationally as having a distinct and recognizable sensibility. However, it remains widely seen as a male terrain, dominated by male voices.” remarks the curator of the exhibition, Dr Clare Gallagher, lecturer in photography at the Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster.

“The images that define this place have largely been captured through the male gaze. What this exhibition offers is a counter-text, an alternative perspective that addresses omissions in representation, not just in Northern Irish photography, but in the tale of what it means to be from here.”

Other highlights of this year include Alternative Ulster, a new body of work by acclaimed Japanese artist Kensuke Koike that draws from the photographic archives of the National Museums NI and the Public Records Office to present an alternative view of Ireland’s past. North.

Featuring the works of Victor Sloan, Tabitha Soren and Alexandra Rose Howland, Against the Image at Ulster Museum examines the authority of photography in the age of mass media and mass (dis)information. Featured artists challenge and expose the highly subjective and mediated nature of photography, distorting and manipulating images to expose often unseen narratives.

From Covid and the climate crisis to global conflicts and the mass displacement and migration of people, Capturing the Now in Botanic Gardens is dedicated to the work of photographers who offer an inside look at the most pressing events of our time as we live through history. historic global moment of environmental, political and social upheaval.

Commenting on this year’s programme, Clare Gormley of the Belfast Photo Festival said: “Celebrating photography that goes against the prevailing social, cultural, historical and visual frameworks, this year’s festival showcases the work of artists who find themselves, both conceptually and aesthetically, on the verge of new territories. They bring new perspectives on the world we live in, the past we inherit, and lead us to the brink of something entirely new.”


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