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Photo 2022 returns! Full program out

Melbourne’s Photo 2022 International Festival of Photography is running again this Autumn, from April 29 to May 22, with headline exhibitions from iconic photographers Helmut Newton and Cindy Sherman.

Untitled Film Still, 1980. Source: Photo.org.au. Photo: Cindy Sherman.

After postponing its inaugural event in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the biennale hastily re-branded from Photo 2020 to Photo 2021, and now returns as Photo 2022.

In its second run, Photo 2022 has adopted yet another theme: ‘Being Human’, after the last theme was ‘the truth’.

Self-appointed as ‘Australia’s largest photography biennale’, 123 local and international photographers will show work in 90 exhibitions across Melbourne, as well as in some regional Victorian areas.

Photo 2022 is also big on exclusives and commissions, and this year there are 50 world premieres that includes 24 specially commissioned projects.

Exhibitions show in galleries and indoor venues, as well as on the streets in locations ranging from iconic gardens, parks and lane ways to random alleys, street corners and on construction sites. There are 38 participating indoor venues, including ACMI, NGV Australia, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Monash Gallery of Art, Jewish Museum of Australia, Geelong Gallery, Horsham Regional Art Gallery, and Benalla Art Gallery.

‘From contemporary artists to street photographers, Photo 2022 is an opportunity for people to be inspired by photography as an art form and to question the role it plays in our everyday lives,’ said Mark Henry, chair of Photo Australia. ‘We are proud to be supporting the sector in Australia through commissioning artists and raising the profile of Melbourne as a global city of photography. It is also a time to collect photography, with the city’s leading commercial galleries premiering new work by Australian artists.’

Let’s jump into the big two drawcards, with Photo 2022 ‘honouring’ these two trailblazing photograpers.

Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still will show outdoors at the Atrium in Federation Square. The 70 black-and-white self portraits were shot over three years, between 1977 and 1980, with Sherman posing as Hollywood female role stereotypes. This was Sherman’s breakthrough series that gained her international recognition, and she is now known as the ‘Queen of the Self Portrait’.

Untitled Film Still is the largest single work at Photo 2022, installed across the entire Flinders Street facade of the Atrium at Fed Square that overlooks Hosier Lane.

Work by the late Helmut Newton, a polarising figure who some consider a feminist icon while others call him a pervert, will show at the Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Centre of Judaica.

Elsa Peretti, New York, 1975. Source: Photo.org.au/Helmut Newton Foundation. Photo: Helmut Newton.

Helmut Newton: In Focus will cover the fashion icon’s most recognisable work, while also delving into his early life as a youth in Berlin, escaping Germany at the outbreak of WWII, and landing in an internment camp in Tatura, an agricultural town near Shepparton, Victoria. It’s ticketed, with entry $20 a pop.

Along with Sherman and Newton, there are a range of familiar, not-so familiar, and up-and-coming photographers showing work. Here’s a random list of names from the program:

Alan Stewart, Alana Holmberg, Ali Choudry, Annie Wang, Ashley Gilbertson, Atong Atem, Aziz Hazara, Christian Thompson, Dana Claxton, Devika Bilimoria, Ezz Monem, Florian Hetz, Gillian Wearing, Hoda Afshar, Ioanna Sakellaraki, J Davies, James Bugg, Luis Alberto Rodriguez, Luvuyo Equiano Nyawose, Madeline Bishop, Mark Smith, Martine Gutierrez, Massimo Vitali, Naomi Hobson, Otis Burian Hodge, Patrick Pound, Peta Clancy, Philip Montgomery, Ponch Hawkes, Sara Tautuku Orme, Sarah Pannell, Talia Smith, Thandiwe Muriu, Tony Albert, Warwick Thornton and Zoe Croggon.

There are additional events, ranging from artist talks, photo walks and tours, and workshops.

Inside Imaging attended the first Photo 2021 festival, and while pulling together an impressive program the festival felt fragmented and confusing to visit in just one day. Read our review here.

It appears organisers have made some effort to address this issue by describing it as a ‘festival of exploration’ with five precincts, Town Hall, Parliament, State Library, Fitzroy/Collingwood.

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