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What did Photo|Frome mean to the photographers?

Here is a short video of Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz, Danny North and Vanessa Fairfax-Woods explaining what the inaugural Photo|Frome festival meant to them as photographers. Thanks to the staff and students of Boomsatsuma College and University in Bristol who have been brilliant partners throughout the festival, and who made this video.

Let’s talk about Alice

Alice Seeley, later Lady Harris, lived in Frome for many years, and Frome Heritage Museum featured her in the ‘Celebrated Women of Frome‘ exhibition. Alice’s pioneering photographer shocked the world in the early 1900s. She photographed appalling human rights abuses in the Belgian Congo in the pursuit of rubber, which eventually led to King Leopold’s withdrawal. The images of atrocity still shock today. Alice was the first to use photography in a major, global humanitarian campaign, although initially Alice’s husband, John, got credit, making her yet another of history’s forgotten women. In later years she asked not to be called ‘Lady’, not wanting the borrowed interest of her husband’s knighthood. Alice and John used magic lantern shows in the UK and across the USA to publicise the cause, a first in the world of audio-visual documentary and using a carefully prepared script. The campaign attracted such luminaries as Mark Twain, who wrote ‘King Leopold’s Soliloquy’. Yet despite this undoubted good, the legacy of empire and missionary work in Black Africa is highly problematic and not without controversy, often brushed aside and not properly confronted today.

Alice’s story encompasses it all – humanitarian causes, ethical behaviour, photographic innovation, depiction of atrocity, the role of women, and the dark shadows of empire and abuse.

David Lassman is an historian and author, and Curator of the ‘Celebrated Women of Frome‘ Exhibition at and Trustee of the Frome Heritage Museum. Mick Yates is Chair and Curator of Photo|Frome and Visiting Professor, University of Leeds, Interdisciplinary Ethics Applied.

At the Assembly Rooms, Frome. Monday, 11th July, 19:30 – 21:00. Big thank you to Jon Durrant for making the video.

Does photography still mean anything?

Joss Barratt and Martin Wade debated the meaning of photography, in an interactive discussion, moderated by Mick Yates. Audience participation is not only welcome but needed! The hope is that as a group, and maybe more importantly, as individuals, we ask ourselves whether, in a world so awash with images taken by so-called professionals and amateurs alike,  covering every aspect of life, it’s all become rather meaningless. Is there anything new to say? Or do we just say the same things over again with different technologies and effects? And does that matter? Is this not what every age has struggled with?

Joss is a professional photographer primarily shooting stills for the  film and television industry. Originally a photojournalist, his quick eye for story telling pictures blends a personal approach with the particular demands of film sets and varied commercial assignments. He has worked with many different directors including Michael Winterbottom, Shane Meadows and has worked on over 20 films with Ken Loach. ‘My pictures can arrive from any quiet moment  or take a team of stylists, art directors and technicians to produce a simple portrait.’ There is a slideshow of Joss’ work here.

Martin is a photographer who works principally in black and white using analog materials and old 5×4 or 10×8 inch film cameras necessitating tripods and some time to set up. He does not work commercially, photography being more of a meditation when not working. He does not specialise in any particular genre although some know him for his Vanitas and Nature Morte or Still-lifes utilising  bones, found objects etc. There is a slideshow of Martin’s work here.

At the Rook Lane Chapel Gallery, Frome. Tuesday, 12th July, 19:30 – 21:00. Big thank you to Jon Durrant for making the video.