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Brand new photography from talented up-and-coming photographers is on display at a range of unusual venues as part of LOOK/13 International Photography Festival. 22 photographers have linked into four collaborations, and will show work on a ship, a bridge, in bird cages and hanging from the roof of a building, as well as some more conventional venues. Meanwhile one of the groups challenges the people of Liverpool to swap an object they own for a photograph of that object – which one is preferable?

All the work has emerged from a nine-month course called Lightbox, delivered by Redeye. Lightbox has grown to be one of the leading independent courses of its kind, launching the careers of some of the UK’s most promising photographers.

Paul Smith, chief executive of Liverpool Biennial, said about work produced through the Lightbox programme: [this] “will really be the model for the Liverpool Biennial about how to use space ... how to engage with the local arts and contemporaries, and bring that independent spirit.”

Paul Herrmann, Redeye’s Director says: “We’ve built Lightbox up over the past 10 years to provide the best possible chance for photographers to break into the exhibiting, publishing and professional world. This year’s groups have worked together well to produce some great new photography.”

And one of the participants commented: “...I felt more inspired by it than I had been by any other educational / cultural event I’ve had an opportunity to participate in over the last few years. It really demystified so many areas of photographic practice and of the institutions behind it for me...”.

The groups that emerged from Lightbox 2012-13 were mentored by:
• Julian Germain (international photographer and editorial board member of Useful Photography)
• John Darwell (international photographer and Reader in Photography at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle)
• Dewi Lewis (publisher and founding director of Cornerhouse)
• Anne Tucker (co-founder of Manchester International Arts and organiser of numerous festivals such as Mintfest and Garden of Delights).

Blind Spot Collective’s show Stranded revisits the stories of retired Royal and Merchant Navy seafarers who served during the Second World War.
Using this year’s 70th Battle of the Atlantic commemorations and LOOK/13 Festival’s conceptual theme ‘Who do you think you are?’ as a backdrop, members of the Blind Spot Collective will explore these stories through a range of photographic practices. Wall art will be displayed as well as banners visible from a docking station and hanging from The Mersey Planet Light Vessel, now a museum and beacon to the Merseyside Maritime Heritage. The Planet or LV23 Light Vessel as it was known on its station in the English channel, was the last Manned Light Ship on the Mersey Bar and the last Manned Light Vessel on the English Channel.

The Lamp Post Collective emerged from five experimental photographers' shared desire to display photographic art in a different way to that usually seen behind glass in a gallery. Inspired by the use of lampposts and billboards, their aim was to create work that engages with a broader public and resonates with the surrounding environment. The collective's work is created specifically for The Brink in which the show is displayed. Some works will be shown hanging from girders and others in birdcages hanging from the scaffolding, which forms an integral part of the venue.

As part of LOOK/13 Possessed will use their venue as a swap shop. The space is used to display images of possessions they have given up. Visitors will be challenged to give up their objects/possessions to be displayed in photographic form with the space. If visitors are prepared to give up a valued possession, they will receive a photograph and the image will also be displayed online and within the exhibition space. Any possessions received will be donated to charity. Swap shops take place on 18, 19, 22, 29 May and 9 June 2013 at 79 Renshaw Street – everyone is invited to bring a possession to swap.

“The photographers involved in the conception and production of Possessed prove once again how much great talent is out there. It has been a pleasure and an honour to work with them and I have no doubt both the ‘Possessed’ exhibition and their future careers will be well worth viewing. I wish them much deserved success for all their hard work. Long may they flourish!” – John Darwell

Fabricate Collective’s first group show, If Truth Be Told…, is a diverse exhibition that explores the boundaries between fact and fiction: what is real and what is not real, inspired by the LOOK/13 theme ‘Who do you think you are?’. Memory and identity, history and experience are just some of the themes developed through a range of visual media - photographs, maps, books, found drawings and text.

Documentary storyteller and artist Tina Remiz says, “I gained a lot from this collaboration. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m proud to be part of a show.” The group has worked closely with internationally-recognised photography publisher, Dewi Lewis, in preparing for the exhibition.

Dewi Lewis will chair an Artists' Talk at The Fallout Factory on Saturday 18 May at 1:30pm. All welcome.

For full details about the collectives, exhibition details and opening times please see the links below.

Blind Spot Collective: Stranded
Corner of the Strand and James St, Liverpool and The Mersey Planet Light Vessel

Lamp Post Collective
The Brink, 15-21 Parr Street, Liverpool L1 4JN

The Arts Café, 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool L1 2SJ

Fabricate Collective
The Fallout Factory, 97 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2JD

Image: 'Filed Under 'F'' project, Fabricate Collective. ©Tina Remiz

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