Backlight Photo Festival OPEN CALL – deadline 15th March !

10. märts, 2014

168021 200277193321474 4668 nOpen call to Backlight Photo Festival is open until 15th March. Selection of artists will be made by jury. The invited members of jurying process are Miha Colner (Slovenia), Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh (Iran), Issa Touma (Syria) and Tuula Alajoki (Finland).


Backlight ´14 is to explore the forces and binds holding societies, communities, families and friends together and apart. We wish to address and explore different visual representations of alternative practices and immaterial values dealing and breeding within social, political and creative engagement in the era of social, spiritual and economical depression and uncertainty. Our focus is on the phenomena of peoples´ solidarity (and the lack of it) that incorporates individual as well as collective responsibility.

The historical lessons indicate that economically impoverished and unstable societies are prone to adopt narrow and negative discourses and therefore blame the Other [ethnic and religious groups, sexual minorities…] for the unfortunate state of affairs. Thread of ones own culture been shaken by uncertainty, dissatisfaction on future prospects, distrust of political and financial administrators and stratification of society has led to the same unfortunate intolerance also in places that have been since the end of WWII based on the idea of equality and social welfare.

Yet, nearly as un-planned counterforce people are forming open communities based on belonging and trust. They value trust and immaterial values as a form of social capital. Therefore several questions have been raised. Which forces hold societies, communities, families and friends together? What are the binds that one values and grabs onto? What are the prospects of civic unity in a long run? How do we picture trust and confidence in the world that seems mainly to value money and power? How are these issues represented through the contemporary photography?

Announcing jury members 

Miha Colner (1978, Slovenia) is art historian who works in different fields of contemporary art as an independent curator, writer and editor. Specialised in photography, video and various forms of media art he is engaged in number of local and international projects focusing on research, analysis and curatorial presentation of significant currents in recent art making. Since 2006 he has worked as a curator and programme coordinator at Ljubljana based Photon – Centre for Contemporary Photography.

Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh (1962, Iran) is the director and owner of Silk Road Gallery in Tehran.  She is specialized in photography and she works as an independent curator at Silk Road Gallery, which she established in 2001. Ghabaian Etehadieh is well known for her work with Iranian photography and she has curated various exhibitions internationally. In 2009 she was the Artistic Director of Photoquai – the biennial of the images of the world – for the Quai Branly museum, Paris. In 2011 she published La photographie iranienne, Un regard sur la création contemporaine en Iran (Iranian photography, a contemporary look at art in Iran).  She has written several magazine articles in credible outlets throughout her career.

Issa Touma (1962, Syria) is a self-taught photographer, who established the first photography gallery in the Middle East in 1992.  In 1996 he founded Le Pont Organisation and Gallery to promote freedom of expression and stimulate the art scene through international events in Aleppo. In 1997 he launched Aleppo International Photo Festival (AIPF), which is said to be the first event in Western Asia to focus on contemporary international photography. Issa Touma has organized the Aleppo Festival every single year, also during the crises. He has worked actively for bearing daily crises through with art. He is a co-founder for Art Camping, a peaceful movement running workshops for young refugees displaced by the Civil War.

(Eventual Issa Toumas presence in the selection process of Backlight open call is due to his abilities while in Aleppo, Syria.)

Tuula Alajoki (1975, Finland) is a curator and project manager for Backlight Photo Festival. She has been involved in Photographic Centre Nykyaikas’ actions since her graduation as visual artist in 2001. Alajoki has worked widely on culture field both Finland and abroad, from art management to puppet films. Nowadays she concentrates mostly on photography exhibitions and curating. For Backlight she has worked in various positions since 2008, while also finishing her master degree in Art – Visual culture. Alajoki has curated both Finnish and international photography exhibitions in Finland.

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