Previous years, UNSEEN showed a strong focus on the development of the photographic medium, exploring it’s boundaries. Playing around and challenging the traditional use of photography, seeing to which extend it can be modified and combined with the use of other media while still calling it photography. Looking at the list of participating artists this year, I think it can be expected that this year’s fair will continue down the same path.
Magnum Contact Sheets
Before you visit UNSEEN, which I definitely recommend, you might want to visit FOAM also known as the photography museum. This month FOAM opens a new exhibition called ‘Magnum Contact Sheets’. The expo invites you behind the scenes of world’s most iconic images, showing the photographs that have dominated the news in the past decades. The original contact sheets from which the photographs were chosen are also presented alongside.
The contact sheets, which are basically thumbnailsized prints of all negatives on a film roll, provide extremely valuable context for the photo selected by the photographer, news agency or politicians. According to Andrea Holzherr, exhibition manager of Magnum, Henri CartierBresson (cofounder of the Magnum Cooperative), might have opposed the idea if he were still alive: ‘If you invite people to eat a meal that you’ve cooked, you don’t present them the recipe’. The exhibition will serve you as a history lesson in world events and photojournalism. Furthermore it illustrates the gradual transition towards the appreciation of photography and photojournalism as an art form.
Don’t let your tour end here. The UNSEEN festival programme takes you to ‘Image District’ at Volkshotel, where a number of young and emerging photographers are presented.
One very exciting contribution comes from a 20 year old South African photographer who is in fact mentored by some of the Magnum photographers on display at FOAM. Lindokuhle Sobekwa will present a powerful and intimate selection from his photographic essay on Nyaope addicted youth in his hometown Thokoza.
Westergasterrein and throughout the city
Magnum Contact Sheets FOAM Museum
Emmelie Koster (28) is founder and curator of No Man’s Art Gallery. For her gallery, she crosses the globe in search of emerging artists and organises temporary exhibitions in every city she visits. When she is not roaming the world, she spends her days in Amsterdam where the gallery has a permanent exhibition space. Also an independent art advisor, Emmelie is always up to speed of who is showing where, and what not to miss. Discover her top art picks in her monthly Volkshotel blog.