Five questions

Five questions with Francesca Genovese

We catch up with Francesca Genovese – founder of the Francesca Maffeo Gallery to talk inspiration and plans for 2017.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a mother and I am a photographer. I am also the founder and director of Francesca Maffeo Gallery.

My background is as a contemporary photographic artist and a lecturer in photography, my family and sibling relationships are key influences in my work.

Prior to founding the gallery I managed photography departments in further and higher education.

What was it that first inspired you to open the gallery?

I have been asked this many times and of course it is a valid question, however, I find it one which is difficult to answer – there is not one defining moment which led me to open the gallery.

I had always hoped to open a gallery one day, however, it had many incarnations throughout the years.

The vision I had in my early 20s is very different from what the gallery is today, some 17 years later.

The years in between were spent teaching photography and developing my own photographic practice and this time proved an essential experience in the model I have developed for Francesca Maffeo Gallery.

The Francesca Maffeo Gallery

How do you source the photographers you represent?

I look, I research, I read, I go to exhibitions.

I have to respond and react to the work, I have to believe in it and stand by it as a curator.

The majority of the photographers I currently represent work predominantly with analogue/film, I think this is something I feel an affinity with.

This was not a conscious decision, albeit I suspect it is subconscious as it is an aesthetic and a visual language I recognise and relate to.

The gallery is now in its seventh month and it has been commented that I tend to select photographers who work with documentary/social documentary.

However, this is purely incidental and perhaps is more a reflection of the current landscape of ‘contemporary photography’? I don’t know, but the gallery does not have a thematic agenda.

Talk us through the procedures involved in producing an exhibition

It really is different for every exhibition – but the photographers are always very much involved in the process, at every stage.

Working with artists in resolving a body of work into an exhibition is always an extremely rewarding exchange.

The ‘curation’ encompasses every aspect of the process – there is so much involved in the production of an exhibition – from the initial meetings, discussions and developing of the proposals to the PR, marketing, design and installation.

We are a small team and get involved with every aspect, for me the editing process is something I look forward to, the dialogue with the artist and the debate is always wonderfully dramatic and passionate!

The Francesca Maffeo Gallery

What do you have planned for 2017?

We are currently showing ‘The Dialogue of the Dogs’ by Richard Page, which runs until February 25.

The project draws its inspiration from Miquel de Cervantes’ world and is set in Central Spain.

We have a lot planned for 2017 – showing David Chancellor, Jordi Ruiz Cirera and Matthew Finn to name a few.

We are planning exciting group exhibitions and developing our events and education programme to tie in with these.

PhotoLondon 2017 is something we are really excited about – showing as part of the Discovery and presenting a fantastic selection of our represented artists.

The Francesca Maffeo Gallery, showcasing the work of emerging and established artists, is at No 284, Leigh Road, Leigh on Sea, Essex.

Call 01702 474300 or email for more information.

Copy editing by Sheena Campbell.

Images: copyright Francesca Maffeo Gallery