This booklet of essays is the product of a first-time collaboration of the International Photo Festival Leiden with the master’s program Film and Photographic Studies of Leiden University.
Each semester the students follow a course on theoretical debates in photography, where they are invited to read seminal texts by well-known authors in the field such as Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag and Allan Sekula and apply those theories to a specific, often contemporary, photographic project.
For the spring semester of the academic year 2017-2018, the students have been asked to situate the twenty series of the selected photographers for IPFL 2018 in these theoretical debates. The themes of the twenty series featured in the festival are varied, from a focus on the Dutch identity (carnival, the city of Almere and typically Dutch products) to one’s own identity, from mythology to reflections on the “mythology” of the medium of photography itself.
Similarly, the focus and approach of the seventeen essays in this booklet are as diverse as the themes of the series. Some authors have made comparisons between two series featured in the festival, comparing the approaches of the photographers to their subjects and evaluating the similarities and differences.
Others relate the work of these recently graduated photographers to established names in the field, such as Rineke Dijkstra. Important concepts in photography theory are also addressed, such as space and place, identity and temporality, but also more general concepts such as liminality and memory.
The essays have been written by: Maarten Bezem, Melissa Blandino, Elisa Daniel, Ish Doney, Zeynep Erol, Carles Hidalgo Gomez, Valerie-Anne Houppermans, Zipporah Nyaruri, Dominique Princen, Benjamin Schoonenberg, Roozbeh Seyedi, Sara Sallam Sherif, Lauren Spencer, Daniela Matute Vargas, Boudewijn van den Broek, Andrew van der Ven and Francesca Warley.
We would like to thank Philipp Goldbach and Helen Westgeest for all their assistance on this project.
Enjoy the read!
The IPFL team