Inside Out - A Showcase of Contemporary Photography Exploring the Public and the Private

Monday, December 17, 2012
The premier photographic event of the year returns in June with the theme Inside Out: Reflections on the Public and the Private. Launched last year as the London Street Photography Festival, this year the festival maintains the strong links to street photography and the theme for 2012 reflects this. The photographers this year have really pushed the boundaries between the public and the private and this constantly shifting concept. These talented practitioners demonstrate the social consequences of this idea in their photography promising for an exciting and eye-opening festival. Alongside the exhibitions there will be plenty of talks and workshops to take part in, including an exclusive master class with the 2011 winner of the World Press Photo Award, Jodi Bieber. The festival promises to be a great showcase of photography, exhibited in some of London's best venues. LFP is one festival of 2012 definitely not to be missed.

The main mixed artist exhibition The Great British Public is a snapshot of public life, documenting the daily lives of the British in the public eye. Documentor of British life, Peter Dench features in this exhibition with his images of people and the relationship with their surroundings. Here the 'real' English are documented, the weird and wonderful characters that occupy the country. His clever juxtapositions of the seemingly normal alongside the bizarre provide the viewer with an eclectic overview of characters. "Motivations to take pictures are to make people laugh, make them think, and where possible, have a drink along the way.... Primarily I'm driven by an unquenchable thirst, the thrill of primary colours and the commitment to document the often plain bonkers behaviour of people as they negotiate through life."
LFP 2012 brings together some world exclusives; including the intriguing is The Gaddafi Archives: Libya Before the Arab Spring. This exhibition, being held at The Warburg Institute holds a carefully curated archive of recent Libyan history, starting with the reign of King Idris, spanning the regime of Gaddafi up to the Arab Spring. This collection displays the tensions between the public and the private of the regime, images from Gaddafi's private residences, as well as photographs from photojournalists collated by the Human Rights Watch. Bringing together a recent history of a country whose politics and uprising was thrust onto the world stage despite various attempts made to block media communications, the project is a fascinating documentation of a truly memorable period of time.
In contrast to this, a photographer whose work will be shown demonstrates the economic landscape of the UK. The work of Simon Roberts in his exhibition Let This Be A Sign explores the physical, political and social effects of economic change. The self-taught photographer says that he's not much interested in the aesthetic, but more in a meaningful insight. "I am currently interested in the changing economic landscape of Britain... being able to mine a rich seam of social commentary that motivates me, so that I can look in detail at how we live now, and how our environment informs our actions and vice versa. I suppose the thought of leaving a legacy, however humble, of who we were, in 2012 or whenever, is an inspiring one because it's about having a voice. Places, events and ideas are continually reframed, redrawn and renegotiated depending on the artistic viewpoint of the photographer."
Another photographer featured demonstrates a slightly different angle on the festival's theme turning the inside out; Wasma Mansour's photographs in her show Single Saudi Women encourage a dialogue about the representation of the self as a public or private figure. Global mass media have not exactly helped the stereotypes of Saudi women. In fact they seem to have suppressed their efforts in trying to reconcile their identities and assert their individualism. Mansour's work argues against this suppression, and it's her curiosity that drives her work. "Sadly, media coverage often reduces Saudi women to a mere object of gendered political voyeurism, muting their voices and subjugating their images. The challenge is to assert the Saudi woman's humanity, aesthetically narrating the multifarious ways in which she asserts her subjectivity, creating and interacting with her world. My concern has been to represent that rich world in a plethora of settings and spaces, transmitting some of its texture and flavour."
The results of Masour's images display, the seen/unseen of the women, their identities concealed and revealed by their possessions in their own spaces, the aesthetic and the political in harmony together are strikingly honest and beautiful.


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