2018 marked the launch of Futures, a network dedicated to emerging photographic talent, launched by Unseen Amsterdam. This year, the initiative returns, bringing together 12 cultural institutions from across Europe to promote emerging photographers, and culminating in the ING Unseen Talent Award, in which one participating photographer will be crowned the winner.
Futures, the European Platform of Photography, will occupy its own space at this year’s Unseen festival inside the Westergastheater. Here visitors will be able to view the work of the 69 emerging talents with a programme of showcases, talks, lectures and meetings. The talents were selected by 12 of Europe’s leading photography institutions; British Journal of Photography (UK), The Calvert Journal (UK), CAMERA (Italy), Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center (Hungary), FOMU (Belgium), Hyères Festival (France), Fotofestiwal Lodz (Poland), PHotoESPAÑa (Spain), PhotoIreland (Ireland), Photo Romania Festival (Romania), Triennial of Photography Hamburg (Germany), and the Unseen Foundation (Netherlands).
“Futures seeks to empower the existing talent programmes of some of these organizations,” explains Menno Liauw, the strategy director at Vandejong, which is coordinating the strategy of the project. Photographers featured in FOMU’s .tiff publication, which is dedicated to Belgian photographers, as well as artists from British Journal of Photography’s annual Ones To Watch round-up, will be represented at Unseen as part of Futures. “We also create talent programmes where there are none,” says Liauw, “as in the case of CAMERA, Unseen, Hyères and Photo Romania.”
The work of the 69 participating artists explores an array of subjects, including identity, exile, and the environment. The exhibiting practitioners also employ a range of mediums that extend beyond photography, and include video, virtual reality, text and painting. Among the artists are BJP’s Ones To Watch Charlotte Schmitz, Mous Lamrabat, Raphaël Barontini, Olgac Bozalp, and Karolina Wojtas.
Wojtas is also one of the five talents selected as finalists for the ING Unseen Talent Award; the remaining four comprise Elena Aya Bundurakis, Ulla Deventer, Irene Fenara, and Kevin Osepa. Together, they are creating a new body of work, which will be on show at the exhibition Nature of Change during Unseen.