PhotoEast Festival 2018 programme launched

PhotoEast, East Anglia’s biennial photography festival, returns for the second time to Ipswich between 24 May and 24 June 2018.

This year’s Festival is curated by Emma Bowkett and Josh Lustig, Director and Deputy Director of Photography, Financial Times Magazine who have brought together over 30 internationally renowned photographers around the 2018 Festival theme of Belonging. The work will be exhibited and presented in gallery spaces, shipping containers, cafes and outdoor billboards along the Ipswich Waterfront during the month-long event.

Topping the bill in the University’s Waterside Gallery is Mark Power’sShipping Forecast’, an ode to the BBC’s eponymous radio broadcast and a uniquely British institution. These haunting images take us to the places behind the familiar names – Biscay, Viking, German Bight – and serve as a physical reminder of our isolated, island existence.

In Sian Davey’s beautifully tender portrait of her step-daughter, Martha, we witness a girl becoming a woman. The teenager’s struggle to find a sense of belonging within her family, within her group of friends, and within herself, is laid movingly bare.

From the USA, Matt Eich reaches delicately beyond the stereotypes of a post-industrial poverty-stricken community in the Appalachian mountains to portray a people who proudly cling to family, community and land with an admirable tenacity despite their circumstances.

In her own response to the question of what it means to belong, Giulietta Verdon-Roe takes us coast-to-coast along the seemingly arbitrary line that divides England from Wales and Scotland, examining the physical landscape that plays a part in shaping who we are as individuals and as a ‘nation’.

On a local note, Julian Germain returns to PhotoEast to curate an exhibition that explores the tribal allegiance of the football supporter. Drawing on photographs, memorabilia and testimony from Ipswich Town Football Club supporters old and young, The People’s History celebrates the heritage of ITFC in the town, from the FA Cup Final win in 1978 to the present day.

The Festival’s opening weekend (Saturday 26 May) presents a free day of talks. workshops and events with appeal for the professional and the enthusiast. Contributing photographers including Sian Davey and Mark Power will be joined by Tom Hunter in a day of free public talks hosted by former Guardian Picture Editor Eamonn McCabe at the University of Suffolk’s Waterfront campus.

New for 2018 is PhotoEast’s Open Call Instagram competition #ibelong18. Images uploaded on the festival theme will feature in a live gallery at and a selection will be exhibited in a public outdoor exhibition throughout the festival.

Adrian Evans, director of PhotoEast and Panos Pictures who are supporting the Festival says:

“We are thrilled to be returning to Ipswich for a second time and are confident that PhotoEast 2018 has something for everyone with an interest in photography. It is a privilege to combine high calibre globally-recognised photography with the work of practitioners, students and enthusiasts from closer to home. This year’s festival is bigger and better than the first in 2016 and is bringing us a step further towards our goal of establishing putting Suffolk on the map for photography.”

Emma Bowkett says:

“What all these photographers, in their myriad photographic styles seem to show is that regardless of the changing shape of our societies and despite our sophisticated communications technology, our sense of belonging comes from those same key places it has always come from: our families, our friends, our landscapes, and the choices we make about how we choose to bring them all together.”

PhotoEast Festival 2018 programme launched

Scotland/England border from the Border Walks series. © Giulietta Verdon-Roe

PhotoEast Festival 2018 programme launched

Damaged photograph from the Drowned Project © Seba Kurtis