Beyond Gender

This year’s Belfast Photo Festival challenges the gender binaries of pink and blue that are commonly assigned to newborns at birth. The month-long festival, running from 1-30 June, actively explores the topical themes of sexuality and gender, in particular how they result in specific perceptions and expressions of identity constructs. Through a selection of images from international practitioners, the 2017 programme expands upon the pivotal role that photography plays in shaping identity and selfhood. A total of 25 venues spread across the city will host a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibitions, talks, workshops, screenings, masterclasses, reviews and tours.

Special collaborations with publications including Hello Mr. and Dazed, alongside a selection of esteemed artists, lead the discussion on issues of representation, self-portraiture, ideology, the body, fashion and community within the medium. The Ulster Museum will host Fashion – A Matter of Attitude, curated by Diana Edkins, former Curator at Conde Nast Publications; Juno Calypso’s startling photographic mission, The Honeymoon Suite will be on show; and the Royal Photographic Society’s International Print Exhibition opens. Vogue Picture Editor Mike Trow will also be present at the Ulster Museum to discuss how some of the fashion magazine’s most iconic images were created.

In addition to this diverse programme, the festival’s open submission features entries from artists across the world, selected by photography industry experts including representatives from MoMA, New York Times, MACK, Foam, Magnum Photos, British Journal of Photography, IPA (Invisible Photographer Asia) and Belfast Exposed. Located in a dynamic and creative city, the festival is a forum for industry professionals and emerging artists to, as Festival Director Michael Weir puts it “network, develop, exchange and promote the visual arts in Ireland.”

Belfast Photo Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Arts & Business Northern Ireland, Alexander Boyd Displays, Victoria Square, Ministry of Culture Taiwan, The Korean Foundation, Sasakawa Foundation, Frame Finland and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Belfast Photo Festival, 1-30 June, venues across the city of Belfast.

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1. Juno Calypso, Sensory Deprivation, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Belfast Photo Festival.