The power of photography, and the stories behind the photo combine with a call to take social action at the exhibition
By Adriana Dancu
The NonFiction Photo Festival 2020, part of the internationally renowned World Press Photo Exhibition, is back to Groningen and will take place from November 19 to December 6 at the Synagogue Groningen. The Festival also brings together five Northern photographers to display their works in the Rise Up exhibition, and start a conversation about global issues in the past year, and to inspire change.
Reality meets photography
The NonFiction Photo Festival will focus on the most news-making events throughout the year. The Rise Up exhibition is enhanced by an Academy program, which “is designed to provide depth,” into the social themes addressed by the festival, says Andrea Hooymans, the director of NonFiction Photo Groningen.
The exhibitions, and their meaning will be discussed by the photographers, and by researchers from the University of Groningen. They will also speak about the power of photography in general: the festival serves as a conversation starter to inspire the audience to take action on different social issues.
The themes prevalent at the festival will be explored through guided tours and events. One of the events, A Night at the Exhibition, will focus on discussions about photography and protests. The event is organized in collaboration with Amnesty International Netherlands and will take place on November 26.
Corona virus latest measures will be respected, however, as the program “is designed to ensure that people can keep enough distance,” says Hooymans, “tours and events are still possible, but in smaller groups.”
Protests in the North
Over the past year, various protests took place all around the world. This is an important theme of the 2020 exhibition. Rise Up focuses on social activism in different forms in the North.
The power of unity and support, while addressing a serious social issue can be seen in the ‘Demonstratie Groningen tegen politiegeweld VS,’ by Siese Veenstra. The photo depicts a sit-in demonstration on the Grote Markt, Groningen on June 2. The demonstration aims to draw attention to violence against black people in the US and Europe, as a result of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, US.
The festival depicts Dutch people’s dissatisfaction regarding certain issues as well. ‘Boerenprotest Groningen,’ Siese Veenstra depicts farmers’ violent protest at the Provincial House. Likewise, ‘Nasleep van de containerramp,’ by Remko de Waal shows the beaches of Schiermonnikoog affected by litter.
The Rise Up festival is a great opportunity to see the power of photography, while at the same time engage in challenging discussions, and get inspired to make a change. Book a ticket from their website!
Image: a photo of the beach at Schiermonnikoog following the MSC Zoe container disaster, entitled ‘Nasleep van de containerramp’, 4 januari 2019, Schiermonnikoog, ANP. By Remko De Waal, via NonFiction Photo