Photo|Frome is now closing after a 3 ½ week run. The founders are both humbled and excited by the hugely positive public response to this inaugural festival of photography.
There were 6,000 visitors to the exhibitions, talks, workshops, and portfolio reviews, twice the forecast. People came from across the UK to attend. Individual venues reported record daily visitor numbers for any form of visual arts exhibition.
Photography of all kinds is alive and well in Frome!
There were solo shows from world-class photographers and four group events. 75 photographers were exhibiting in 7 venues, 2 of which had not held exhibitions before.
The world-renowned documentary archives of James Ravilious and Chris Chapman worked together beautifully at Black Swan Arts Tower. Rook Lane Chapel had excellent examples of the breadth of today’s contemporary photography. This ranged from the music photography of Danny North, the documentary of Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz on the Russian-EU border, Robert Huggins’ insightful street portraits in East London – and onto to Olga Karlovac’s haunting images of Zagreb, stunning photography of NASA astronauts by John Angerson, and Vanessa Fairfax-Woods’ exploration of the role of women in the home, often tinged with humour.
Photography from Ukraine during the current war of special installations in schools by world-renowned sculptor Aljoscha was particularly timely.
A large number of talented local professionals, amateurs and college students also exhibited in group shows across the town.
Almost all of the talks were ‘full house’. These ranged from Robin Ravilious moving yet deeply insightful discussion of the work and life of her late husband, James, to a spirited public debate about the meaning of photography between professional Joss Barratt and fine artist Martin Wade.
Chris Chapman shared his deep respect for the people and past lifestyles on Dartmoor, and a joint talk with the Frome Heritage Museum led to a re-assessment of Frome resident Alice Seeley. She was the first to use photography in her successful humanitarian campaign against the atrocities committed in the Congo Free State.
A fantastic response greeted the ‘Faces of Frome’ project run in partnership with the Frome Independent. 100 groups of families and friends had their portraits taken in a pop-up studio run by students, starting a long-term archive of our vibrant community, with every participant getting a free digital image.
Photo|Frome would like to say a huge thank you to our lovely exhibition venues – Black Swan Arts, Rook Lane Chapel, Gallery at The Station, Makers Yard, 23 Bath St, Frome Town Hall, and Frome Library.
Frome has a brand-new festival, an energised photographic community, and next year’s venues are already being booked!