Photo|Frome is a new, independent festival of photography dedicated to showcasing and celebrating all levels of photographic endeavour from local, national, and international photographers. The inaugural festival in 2022 covered 7 venues, 75 photographers in solo or group shows, and received over 6,000 visitors. We had talks, workshops, portfolio review and started an annual monograph series. The 2023 edition had 15 venues, 175 photographers and over 500 photographs exhibited. We received over 13,000 visitors.
There are three strands to the curation approach: Thought-provoking national and international work, photography showcasing the history of the southwest, and representation of regional photography.
Photo|Frome’s 2023 programme had more venues, and added a 2 day symposium, outdoor exhibitions, an open book call and student photography awards. Our concept is loosely based on the long-standing Les Rencontres d’Arles, aiming to fill the Frome community with photography rather than a purely galleried approach. We want Photo|Frome to put photography firmly on the map in the South West of the U.K. – and, eventually, make Frome a destination on the international photography circuit.
As a registered Community Interest Company (CIC 13912579), the involvement of local and regional student and community institutions is integral to Photo|Frome’s mission to help inspire the next generation of photographers. We also partner with many local businesses to help sustain the community.
Photo|Frome aims to support photographers from all backgrounds and to be as inclusive as possible. We acknowledge that there are many considerations around inclusivity, including race, religion or belief, gender and sexual orientation, age, disability, civil status, pregnancy and maternity/paternity rights.
For our first Festival, Photo|Frome 2022 was a three-and-a-half-week series of events running from 21 June to 15 July 2022.
The 2023 festival will run from 24 June to 12 July.
Photo|Frome is an inclusive festival of contemporary photography for anyone with an interest in the medium, whether they’re professional photographers, art lovers, students, or just looking to learn. It is a celebration of modern photography in all its glorious forms and genres, featuring serious work alongside fun activities, and catering to both young and were-young-once, those who have only just picked up a camera and those who’ve forgotten how long they’ve been holding one.
Photo|Frome is a community driven organisation with diverse activities appealing to all age groups. That said, in the proper representation of contemporary themes, some photography may include nudity and other work might include thought provoking and perhaps occasionally distressing adult documentary photoessays.
The theme of Photo|Frome 2022 was ‘The Independent Eye’. This celebrates photography as an art-form that stands alone from others. Photography offers artists a unique ability to present personal viewpoints and perspectives, reflections on the world, and new artistic and technical approaches. This also reflects Frome’s long-standing themes. ‘The Frome Independent’ market is the largest in the South West, and the town proudly has had an Independent Council since 2011 (‘flatpack democracy’).
The theme of Photo|Frome 2023 is ‘Decolonising Environments’ which explores the complex and often conflicting relationships between human communities, places, and the natural world. Encompassing a range of styles, subjects and genres, Photo|Frome invites photographers and audiences to contribute to discussions around the social and environmental impacts of longstanding political, cultural, and economic ideas about our world. Find out more on the 2023 page.
The annual Frome Festival of music, theatre, and arts has been very successfully established for two decades. Photo|Frome complements this with a dedicated, standalone photography-centric agenda, and partners with Frome Festival on many fronts.
Frome is a vibrant and engaged community, steeped in history and creativity. There are more listed buildings than any other town in Somerset, as well as a renowned thriving Arts and Crafts community. There is plenty to explore, including a museum, 17th and 18th century housing, shopping and more. There is the long-standing Frome Independent market every month, who we partner with on Faces of Frome. The town also has Arts & Crafts markets, numerous restaurants, artisan cafes, and has a thriving town centre of independent stores of all kinds.