Here in Oxford, a new international photography festival seeks to look at just these questions around the power and the purpose of photography, opening up debate about the many issues which surround it in the current climate, aiming to bring world-class work to a new audience and to elevate awareness and appreciation of the form to a level long-since enjoyed by painting, sculpture, and the other visual arts. On Sunday 14 September, colleges, museums, art galleries, and even a giant safe, will welcome visitors into more than 20 free exhibitions showing the work of internationally-renowned photographers, alongside a film programme mixing documentaries and feature films which have images and their use at heart, and a series of talks and panel discussions.
The exhibitions range widely, from powerful photojournalism such as Laura El-Tantawy’s images of a post-Mubarak Egypt, Robin Hammond’s work inside Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, and the Document Scotland collective’s recording of this truly decisive moment in Scottish history, to Yann Layma’s stunning macros of butterfly wings and Mark Laita’s vibrant images of brightly-coloured snakes; from Susanna Majuri’s elaborate photographic fictions, hovering somewhere between dream and reality, to the vibrant architectural images of Matthias Heiderich; and from Mariana Cook’s portrait series of those who risk their lives for justice to Paddy Summerfield’s moving documentation of the final years of his parents’ 60-year marriage. The UK debut of this year’s World Press Photo award features prominently, alongside French photographer Bernard Plossu’s first-ever British show, and a showcase of work from members of the Helsinki school, including the eminent Pentti Sammallahti and Arno Minkkinen.
Photography Oxford Festival 2014 runs from 14 September – 5 October 2014, in venues across Oxford. – See more at: http://blog.oup.com/2014/09/what-good-is-photography-oxford-festival-2014/#sthash.uHF2yNst.dpuf