Tuesday 31 August 2010

Noorderlicht International Photofestival 2010

Fresh back from my trip to The Netherlands, it gives me great pleasure to share some information with you about Noorderlicht International Photofestival 2010, which will take place from 5 September-31 October at Fries Museum and Blokhuispoort, Leeuwarden.

Noorderlicht is a multi-faceted and international podium for documentary photography. It is a place for photographers who explore their world and in their work picture its big events and everyday occurrences, and everything in between. There is scope for all genres of photography in the program, with documentary photography as the basis. If success begets success then the 17th edition is going to be quite special.

The Noorderlicht International Photofestival 2010 will open on Sunday, 5 September, in the Fries Museum. In Land: Country Life in the Urban Age, Noorderlicht looks at the consequences that urbanisation has for the countryside. Simultaneously, Warzone, an exhibition examining the experience of war on the part of soldiers dispatched to conflict areas, is to be seen in the Blokhuispoort. The opening, which begins at 5:00p.m., is led by the writer Arno Haijteman, chairman of the Silver Camera and photography reviewer for de Volkskrant. The festival runs from 5 September through to 31 October.

Land – Country Life in the Urban Age

Since the beginning of the 21st century, more than half of the world's population live in cities. What are the consequences of this shift for the countryside? Is it possible, against all economic logic, to accord new value to rural life?

Drawing on the work of some thirty photographers, Land – Country Life in the Urban Age exposes the symbiotic but unequal relation between the city and countryside. Agriculture is organised around large-scale production at minimal cost, the growing demand for agricultural products quickens the cutting of rainforests, and whole regions are allocated new uses as a result of increasing need for water. Add to that the continuing exploitation of ever scarcer natural resources, and the economic and demographic consequences of immigration to the city, and one thing is clear: the countryside is facing serious challenges in the 21st century.

In 2011 Groningen will be the location for the second part of this diptych: Metropolis – City Life in the Urban Age.


Blokhuispoort Verdun, Omaha Beach, Srebrenica, Fallujah: names of places that are anchored in our collective memory.

Places where the once serene landscape changed into a battlefield, where young men and women fought for their faith, politics or ideals, lost their innocence, and sometimes their lives.

Military cemeteries and history books may remind us of them yet, but the battlefields themselves are transformed after the conflict is over. Time erases the evidence – the rubble is cleared, the shell craters become overgrown. But is the inner landscape of the soldier as resilient as the landscape in which he fought?

On the basis of work by top photographers including Ad van Denderen, Martin Specht, Paul Seawright, Peter van Agtmael and Antonin Kratochvil, Warzone pauses to examine the experience of soldiers who have been dispatched to conflict areas in recent history.

The official launch of the photo book Warzone will be on 25 September in the Blokhuispoort. The book contains work by about forty war photographers and essays by Hans Achterhuis, Ko Colijn, Auke Hulst, Sebastian Junger, Jeroen Kramer, Jaus Müller, Joris Voorhoeve and Désirée Verweij.

© Jackie Nickerson