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Photomonth 2008

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PHOTOMONTH has become the largest photography festival in the UK. With over 100 exhibitions and events taking place in more that 60 galleries and spaces in East London and featuring up to 500 photographers, Photomonth gives recognition to photography as the dominant medium in contemporary art.

This year, Photomonth is running a new Photofair in the Spitalfields Traders Market (October 7 to October 26), providing the opportunity for a dozen emerging photographers a day to show their work, and the Photo-Open will be held at the Dray Walk Gallery, Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane (October 29 to November 9) with global submissions sponsored by Flickr.

The popular Portfolio Reviews take place over a whole weekend at the Whitechapel Gallery (November 1 and 2) with reviewers from the national press, magazines and galleries, and a new programme of Photography Workshops will be held at London Metropolitan University (October 15, 16, 22 and 23).

Tom Hunter, the first photographer to have an exhibition at the National Gallery, will give the keynote Photomonth Lecture at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (October 30); Stephen Gill makes a special presentation at the Round Chapel in Hackney (November 8); Magnum exhibits a retrospective of Eve Arnold portraits; and the Barbican Art Gallery features War Photography with the work of Robert Capa and Gerda Taro.

Indian photographer Laila Vaziralli explores identity with a group of young Bengali and Somali girls at Oxford House: Rehan Jamil profiles sixteen Muslim Londoners at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation; and Peace and Dave Sinclair present us with the real Liverpool at the Foundry.

Many independent galleries and photographers participate in Photomonth. Exhibitions examine war, modern slavery, hidden human catastrophes, acknowledging the vital role played by photojournalists, and explore the urban environment, our racially mixed communities, feelings of loss, struggle, conflict and survival and raise questions about representation and photography.

There is experimental and constructed imagery, work challenging bourgeois culture, revealing shabeens and drag queens, absent history, domestic routine, carnival and religion, the metaphysical and the mysterious, and the changing face of East London.

For 2008, Photomonth is linking with Chobi Mela V, the international Festival of Photography in Dhaka, Bangladesh, directed by Shahidul Alam of Drik Picture Library and images will be exchanged at the Photo-Open.

Regular updates and full details of the Photomonth programme can be found on the Photomonth website.