SSHoP is delighted to be hosting an exhibition of highlights from the 2019 FLOW Photofest at Gallery 525. Below, Matt Sillars (Chair of FLOW Photofest) tells us more about the festival and the significance of this past year’s theme.
FLOW Photofest is a biennial, month-long festival celebrating photography in all its forms across the Highlands and Islands. The Festival focuses on photography of the North, from the North and which looks to the North, situating the North of Scotland at the heart of contemporary photographic practice.
The theme for FLOW Photofest 2019 was BORDERS – a very apt title -acknowledging both our shifting political and personal boundaries and also how photography is evolving as art and document. We presented new and recent work by Scottish and international photographers, promoted new collaborations, and engaged a diverse array of visitors. The theme addressed the full range of cultural, social, territorial, geographical, political, sexual, racial and psychological phenomena.
Following on from the success of the 2017 Festival, we were able to increase the number of venues with exhibitions in Stornoway, Ullapool, Thurso, Inverness, Findhorn, Forres and Elgin, as well as offering artist talks, workshops, portfolio reviews, a photography themed film festival and guided tours of shows. Two photographers from the 2017 portfolio sessions went on to have solo exhibitions at the FLOW Photofest Gallery at Eden Court Theatre during 2018 – our new permanent gallery which is important in sustaining year-round dialogue with Scotland’s photography community. We also collaborated with other agencies and partners, such as the new Inverness Darkroom, which ran courses on cyanotypes, photograms and bookmaking, and Highland Print Studio running photogravure workshops. Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, in particular, as well as An Talla Solais in Ullapool and An Lantair in Stornoway, were also instrumental in the success of the festival.
It gives us great pleasure to collaborate with SSHoP and to bring a selection of work from the 2019 Festival to Edinburgh to showcase to a new audience. We hope to rotate some of the work to encourage visitors to pop back over the next few months.
We would like to thank the Inverness Common Good Fund, Inverness Impact HUB, Street Level Photoworks, our Crowdfunders, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Elgin BID, Highlife Highland, the Scottish Society for the History of Photography and the Inverness Camera Club for their help and assistance to make it all happen.
We are now focussing on finalising the programme for the September 2021 Festival – watch this space!