This October, as a prequel to next year’s biennial festival of photography, Brighton Photo Fringe is pleased to present From Here, an open-submission exhibition for photographic artists. Three emerging curators, Chloe Hoare, Max Houghton and Yasmina Reggad, were chosen to work with mentor curator John Gill to select an exhibition from over 4000 images submitted from all corners of the globe. The resulting exhibition, From Here, is a celebration of current photographic practice by the truly diverse and widespread community that makes up Brighton Photo Fringe.
The Big Brother era may already have passed, but society still has a voracious appetite for surveillance of the human condition. Reality TV has spawned Reality in the mall, Reality on the bus, and so on. Aspects of life previously considered private are increasingly made ‘real’ by filming or photographing using ever-changing devices. It now seems that the act of looking and recording validates experience, as well as controlling it.
Photographs are made for many purposes, yet are united in just one: to be looked at. In From Here, our curators have selected a body of work that not only asks to be looked at, but invites the spectator to consider the act of looking itself. Through a variety of techniques, including surveillance photographs, family snapshots, television screen-grabs and staged photographs that reveal the construct beyond the frame, the gaze of the spectator is disrupted and displaced. Becoming aware of themselves as active participants, the relationship between spectator, photographer and subject start to merge and fluctuate.
By acknowledging and drawing in the spectator, From Here makes us aware of our role in looking and exposes our complicity in the act of representation. Within this unsettling body of works, the photograph almost disappears until what we are looking at is representation itself.