From the star-studded hills of Hollywood, to Ukraine’s military camps, Russia’s Caucasus region, and the gloomy streets of Thatcher-era England, the programme for this year’s Portrait(s) festival covers a wide breadth of both geography and context, united under the banner of portrait photography. The French photofestival returns to Vichy for its seventh edition this summer, with exhibitions by Philippe Halsman, Tish Murtha, Michal Chelbin, Bastiaan Woudt, Turkina Faso, Benni Valsson, Ambroise Tézenas, and an intriguing show about selfies, curated by Olivier Culmann.
Selfies, Equal/Egos presents a mixture of amateur photography and artists who explore the phenomenon in their practice. Both serious and offbeat, the exhibition examines the mechanisms of virality, and the repetitive nature of the image economy in a digital age.
Portrait(s) will present seven solo exhibitions that take place across the city. Self-taught artist Bastiaan Woudt – one of BJP’s ones to watch in 2016 – will exhibit his breakthrough black-and-white portraits of African villagers, while an exhibition of Tish Murtha’s work casts us back to 1980s Newcastle, where an idle and rebellious youth roam the gloomy streets of Thatcher’s England.
Michal Chelbin will present a series of portraits taken Ukraine’s military camps, where children are taught to comply with heightened gender roles. Elsewhere, fashion and documentary photographer Turkina Faso will exhibit her ten-year project that documents the coming-of-age of her sister Alice, against the untamed landscape of the Caucasus region in Russia.
Also on show is the work of Philippe Halsman, the photographer who invented “Jumpology” in the 1950s. From Dali to Brigitte Bardot, and François Mauriac to Grace Kelly, whether it was for Vogue or Vu, the celebrities of the day jumped for Halsman’s shot. Included in the lineup is another photographer known for shooting high-profile celebrities, Benni Valsson. Valsson will be exhibiting a personal project made in his home country, Iceland. His sober portraits of Icelandic creatives shot against the rural landscape will be shown for the first time at Portrait(s).
This year’s artist in residence, Ambroise Tézenas, will presents a series that focuses on the buildings of Vichy, to coincide with the city’s application this year for UNESCO world heritage status. Also included in the programme is an exhibition of work by local school children in the lobby of the Vichy Cultural Center, as well as the winners of the ninth Vichy portrait content.
Portrait(s) festival will run in Vichy, France, from 14 June until 08 September www.ville-vichy.fr/portraits