Belfast Exposed Photography: Contacts from the Archive
Curator: Mirjami Schuppert - 17 Dec 2010 to 29 Jan 2011
Title: Contacts from the Archive
Curator: Mirjami Schuppert
Artists: Michael Farrelly, Kathryn Foster, Yvonne Kennan & Laura McDowell
Opening: 16 December 7pm
Exhibition Run: 17 December to 29 January 2010
Contacts from the Archive†is an†exhibition of contact sheets from Belfast Exposed’s community photography archive which houses over half a million images.
Contact Sheets are working documents that aid photographers in selecting which images to print and are not intended for publication or exhibiting. Each sheet is 10 x 8 inches in size with up to 36 images. While the contents of the contact sheets vary, the format stays the same and this repetitiveness gives the artists a freedom to explore the various themes reoccurring within the archive.
The history of the Belfast Exposed archive and the city is written in each of the contact sheets. Over the past 30 years numerous photographers, artists, community workers, researchers and archivists have accessed the archive for various reasons, leaving their trace by marking the prints with pens and stickers, cataloguing selections or imposing their own intuitive archival structures on the surface of the contact sheets.
In this exhibition each artist was invited to select and respond to a contact sheet, resulting in an exhibition which questions the constructed narratives of photography, contact sheets, and the archive. The reoccurring themes within the archive, such as editing process, commissions, photojournalism, digital versus film and public versus private, have been explored through the chosen contact sheets.
The exhibition allows the audience to view the contents of the archive in alternative, unexpected and challenging ways. The selection has been made by the gallery’s archive intern team Michael Farrelly, Kathryn Foster, Yvonne Kennan and Laura McDowell.
Notes to editors
1. Artist Biography
Mirjami Schuppert is currently working on a Doctorate in Art and Design at the University of Ulster. Her research focuses are curation and photography archives. She also works as an internship manager at Belfast Exposed.
Michael Farrelly has completed a B.A. Honours Degree in Fine Art and is currently studying for a M.F.A. in Photography at the University Of Ulster. Michael is currently researching constructed spaces in the rural landscape and will exhibit the work at the University of Ulster in June 2011.
Kathryn Foster has completed a B.A. Honours Degree in English & History of Art and a M.A. Honours Degree in Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies. She is currently working in The Ulster Museum.
Yvonne Kennan has completed a Higher Degree in Fine Art with Limerick School of Art and Design and a Masters of Fine Art with the University of Ulster. Recent work will be exhibited in PS2 Gallery Belfast in April 2011.
Laura McDowell is currently in her final year of study for a B.A. Honours Degree in Photography at University of Ulster and works as project co-ordinator for Belfast Exposed Photography.
2. About Belfast Exposed
Based in the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast Exposed maintains two galleries and a photography bookshop, alongside a substantial image archive, educational programmes for artists, schools and community groups, and provides photographic training and services.
Socially and politically engaged work and dialogue remains the driving force behind all aspects of Belfast Exposed. We encourage individuals and communities to collaborate and use photography as a means of recording their experiences.
Belfast Exposed is a non profit organization, the galleries and the community engagement programmes are generously supported by the Northern Ireland Arts Council, Belfast City Council, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
3. About the Archive
Belfast Exposed Photography maintains a photography collection of half a million negatives and slides in trust for the community. The collection, compiled over the past thirty years through contributions from professional and amateur photographers and communities represents a valuable historical document recording political, cultural and social change in Northern Ireland over four decades.
The physical archive is currently undergoing a major transformation to make it more accessible to the public. This work is supported by an internship programme which addresses the physical care of the negatives and contact sheets, an education programme delivering newly commissioned learning packages for schools, and an exhibition and events programme located in the newly built Belfast Exchange gallery space.
Over 3,000 slides and negatives have been scanned and researched and are available for viewing, without appointment in the gallery via the Gateways interactive browser, which also holds a selection of photographs from the archive of Belfast Exposed and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
4. About the Archive Intern Programme
This exhibition is the result of a six-month internship completed by the artists, who have been working with the photographic archive in Belfast Exposed.
During the internship the interns have been cataloguing, rehousing and digitising the Belfast Exposed photographic archive, which dates from the late 1970’s. This unique collection of photographs presents Belfast’s recent history through the eyes and lenses of some of the key players - Northern Ireland’s communities.
5. For more information, pictures and interviews:
Contact Kiri Barker (Marketing Manager)
028 9023 0965