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Hastings Pier, East Sussex, 2010, from the series Pierdom (© Simon Roberts/courtesy Flowers Gallery).

PhotoHastings stakes new claim to town fame

The Hastings and St Leonards area has a long-established tradition of fine art, painting and music. But until recently, Hastings’ photographic talents have been partially overshadowed by the bright lights of Brighton. Though not for much longer, as PhotoHastings 2014 is about to be launched. HOT reporter John Cole spoke with PhotoHastings coordinator Cathryn Kemp about the exciting developments for photography in the Hastings creative area.

“PhotoHastings 2014,” said Cathryn, “is designed to be a democratic season, in the spirit of Hastings and the region we all love and work within. The emphasis will be on exhibitions and talks to promote artistic excellence within the region and offer opportunities for anyone to join in and participate.”

The photographic season launches in October and November of this year and will boast exhibitions, events and workshops in and around Hastings and St. Leonards, with some events even further afield in Brighton and London.

There will be a number of high-profile photographers exhibiting and giving lectures during the festival. Internationally acclaimed photographer Simon Roberts, who spent over three years documenting Britain’s piers (including Hastings’), will give a talk about his work entitled ‘Landscape Studies of a Small Island’ at the Stade Hall on October 16 at 7pm. St. Leonards’ very own Bob Mazzer will exhibit his forty-year documentary project, Underground, which was recently exhibited in London to rave reviews from the Guardian. Also, Evening Standard photography critic Sue Steward will guest-curate a PhotoHastings collaboration with Brighton Photo Fringe and Professor Val Williams will curate ‘Postcards from Roberts’ at UAL the Photography and the Archive Research Centre in London.

But it is not just the established photographers who will be on display during the season. “PhotoHastings is an incredibly exciting opportunity for photographers at all levels in our region to show their work alongside established and emerging names,” said Cathryn.

Emerging talents, such as Stuart Griffiths, who won the Brighton Photo Fringe Open in 2010, and Georgie Scott, who has created a powerful body of work, ‘Mwana, Miracle of Dawn,’ about maternal and child health in Africa, are but two of the younger generation of photographers to be featured during the festival.

Mother and child, Sierra Leone, from the project "Mwana, Miracle of Dawn', © Georgie Scott/VSO 2011

Along with the exhibitions and workshops, there will be a film festival, with a screening of Martin Parr’s Turkey and Tinsel about a group of pensioners on a pre-Christmas coach trip, as well as the highly acclaimed documentary Finding Vivian Maier about the US nanny who secretly photographed thousands of striking images.

 

PhotoHastings, which is run and delivered by Photo Hub Group, has won funding from Arts Council England, as well as funding and support from Fairlight Arts Trust, East Sussex County Council, the Photography and Archive Research Centre (PARC) at UAL in London, Martel Colour Print, PhotoFusion and Metro Imaging.

 

“We are proud of the new season which will promote Hastings and St. Leonards as the new photographic hub of excellence within the UK,” said Cathryn. “It truly is an exiting time for Hastings!”

Sentiments echoed by Professor Val Williams, who said, “There is a wealth of photographic talent and expertise in Hastings.” Hastings Borough Council Arts & Culture Officer Michael Hambridge also commented, “Hastings produces photographic talent that is truly international.”

In short, this is a festival not to be missed for anyone interested in seeing the huge breath of photographic talent in Hastings creative hub. For more information and details about events, please click onto the PhotoHastings website.

Posted 11:06 Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 In: Photography

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