Photo North Festival is set to return to Leeds for its fifth edition, and we are proud to be a media partner! This year’s programme includes exhibitions from the likes of Martin Parr, Aneesa Dawoojee, Harry Borden, Carolyn Mendelsohn and Barry Lewis. Plus, Tracy Marshall-Grant has curated a bespoke exhibition featuring women in documentary photography.

The festival will be running from 12-14 April 2024 at the Carriageworks Theatre, Millennium Square, Leeds. Visit for more information.

From Photo North Festival, January 2024:

This spring the photography industry spotlight will shine on the historically proud and culturally vibrant city of Leeds for the fifth edition of Photo North Festival.

Exhibitions by legends of the profession will be on display alongside up and coming photographers against a backdrop of talks, networking, screenings, food, drink and more.

Martin Parr will exhibit a selection of images from Chew Stoke, a Year in the Life of an English Village courtesy of the Martin Parr Foundation. In 1992 Parr shot hundreds of rolls of film to capture the Milk deliveries, school drop-offs, gardening, keep fit classes, cups of tea, pints in the pub, jars of home-made lemon curd and jumble sales that defined the community. An exhibition was held at the village hall. A new edit was published in the book A Year in the Life of Chew Stoke by RRB Photobooks in 2022.

British documentary photographer Peter Mitchell known for documenting Leeds and the surrounding area for more than 40 years will be exhibiting specially made prints.

Bespoke for the festival, renowned Arts Director, Curator & Producer Tracy Marshall-Grant has curated Voices, an exhibition combining three award winning women working at the forefront of documentary photography and photojournalism: Jillian Edelstein, Carol Allen-Storey and Kirsty MacKay. The exhibition focuses on work by each photographer which not only visually illuminates social, political, and healthcare issues but also gives voice to those in the images and empowers their stories to be told.

Chris Batcheldor Grenfell from the series Fighting Spirit of South London
Chris Batcheldor Grenfell from the series Fighting Spirit of South London © Aneesa Dawoojee

In partnership with The Royal Photographic Society, Photo North deliver The Fighting Spirit of South London by Aneesa Dawoojee to a northern audience. The Fighting Spirit of South London delves into the lives of martial artists and combat sports athletes from gyms near Aneesa’s home. Through her lens, Aneesa has captured the indomitable human spirit as these individuals confront life’s challenges head-on.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be part this year’s Photo North Festival with ‘The Fighting Spirit of South London’ collection, a very personal exploration of community, resilience, hope, and social discourse, told through the lives of martial artists and combat sports athletes from South London.”  

“When I started photographing this series, I wanted to show how ordinary people can unite and really make a mark in life, whether it be for themselves, their children or social group, and that there is always a way forward, however hard life becomes. I’m still driven by that, so I have tried to capture the indomitable strength of human spirit shown by these individuals as they confront life’s challenges head-on. I hope that these photographs stand as a striking and honest tribute to their unwavering determination as they craft their own path of inspiration to others.”

“Following the success of my RPS solo exhibition Only Human: Aneesa Dawoojee, I am grateful that with the support of the RPS, and collaboration with PhotoNorth this project is able to reach a new audience.” 

Harry Borden’s On Divorce is the debut title in a new portrait photography series by The School of Life. The photographs and accompanying texts were captured and recorded over two years by Borden (himself divorced). The images are a mirror that can help to correct some of what we think we know of divorce and pull us in a different direction: towards compassion, identification, curiosity, self-reflection and empathy.

Taking inspiration from the Brontës, Hardy and Free by Carolyn Mendelsohn is a celebration of women in the landscape that means the most to them, whether an open hillside, quiet expanse of water or an urban oasis.

John Bolloten’s gritty series Tbilisi Raw goes deep inside the Georgian underground with a rare and intimate insight into the secretive and closed world of the Elita football hooligans of FC Dinamo Tbilisi.

GULAG, a new book of photographs from his 1991 journey into the darkness of Stalin's Siberian prison camps.
© Barry Lewis, from GULAG

Barry Lewis will exhibit from GULAG, a new book of photographs from his 1991 journey into the darkness of Stalin’s Siberian prison camps.

Specialising in reporting across Russia and the Former Soviet Union, travelling 50,000KM mostly by motorcycle, award winning Jeremy Nicholl has photographed the thousands of memorials that remain of Lenin across the country.

Windrush: A Voyage through the Generations by Jim Grover was created to honour the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in Britain 1948. The work explores how subsequent generations are living their lives today in terms of the distinctive culture and traditions that the first Windrush Generation brought to the UK.

The ‘Home. Perspectives’ exhibition brings together diverse projects of Ukrainian photographers who offer distinct ways of seeing and thinking about Ukraine, inviting contemplation on Ukraine’s history and contemporary visual culture. Launched at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, where both curators are based, presenting it to the diverse audiences at Photo North is a fascinating opportunityCuratorsViktoria Bavykina and Max Gorbatskyiexclaim “We’re thrilled to join the discourse of the festival’s 2024 edition, seizing the opportunity to further cultivate cultural connections with Ukraine right here in the North.”

Gurushots global community will host their Art of Photography photo-challenge winners.

The Channel 4 picture team will have a presence at the festival for portfolio drop-ins and a Saturday take-over of industry chat, presentation and inspiration with confirmed guests Simon Webb & Tom Barnes.

Photo North Festival Founders

Festival co-founder & curator, Peter Dench, says: ‘We recognise people are passionate about photography. Photo North Festival aims to introduce or advance understanding of the medium through our programme of exhibitions – to inspire and engage debate. We have one perfect venue, with headline events and renowned photographers confirmed and the list is growing. The creativity in planning the festival format, talks and screenings is something unique to offer people in the north of England and beyond.’

Sharon Price, co-founder & curator, says: ‘We’ve chosen thought-provoking works that provide relevant social commentary on some quite hard-hitting issues. We also have the beautiful and the poignant, that will appeal not only to enthusiasts seeking to be challenged, but also to those seeking a feast for the senses.’

Sharon and Peter have secured the sensational line up to deliver a thought-provoking, lively and inclusive festival that will appeal to the professional photographer, photo-enthusiast, keen amateur and anyone who wishes to engage with the timeless appeal of the medium.

Once again, Photo North Festival promises to be one of the most exciting and engaging European photo events.

12-14 April 2024 –  The Carriageworks Theatre, Millennium Square, Leeds UK.

Featured image credit: Carol Allen-Storey

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