Kurt Tong at Recontres d’Arles

Recontres d’Arles celebrates 50th edition

The 50th edition of Recontres d’Arles is on until September 22 with another packed exhibition programme.

Founded in 1970, the festival has earned an international reputation for showcasing contemporary photography in stunning heritage spaces.

Nearly 40 exhibitions are held in around 20 venues each year. Here are just some of our highlights from this year’s festival.

Home Sweet Home at Recontres d’Arles
Installation shot: Kent Grant, Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

This group exhibition brings together the work of 30 artists from different generations.

It allows the viewer to share the intimacy and everyday life of Britain from the 1970s until the present day through the filter of homes.

This almost voyeuristic look into properties sheds light on the different social, cultural and political realities of Britain.

With the idea of home being so close to our hearts it is the perfect way to highlight the diversity of photography in our country.

Home Sweet Home, 1970-2018: The British Home, A Political History, Maison Des Peintres, until September 22.

Helen Levitt's work on show at Recontres d’Arles 2019
Installation shot: Observing New York’s Streets, Helen Levitt

Observing New York’s Streets

Helen Levitt began photographing street life in New York’s underprivileged neighbourhoods in the 1930s.

She stepped away from traditional photo journalism, viewing photography as a form of artistic impression.

The result is images which show New York’s street scenes as almost mythical.

Many of the 130 images on display have never been shown before, making this a rare opportunity to gain greater insight into Levitt’s work.

Observing New York’s Streets, Helen Levitt, Espace Van Gogh, until September 22.

A series of pictures from Tom Wood's Mothers, Daughters, Sisters exhibition
Installation shot: Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Tom Wood, Recontres d’Arles

Mothers, Daughters, Sisters

This exhibition brings together images from Tom Wood’s time photographing the streets of Liverpool and postcards from his personal collection.

Seeing the two together gives the viewer a unique opportunity to put Wood’s prolific photographic practice into the context of the collection which impacted his work.

Wood’s work often captures the seemingly mundane details of everyday life.

However, a deep sense of intimacy and feminine relationships runs throughout this exhibition.

Spectrum Photographic produced colour hand prints for the exhibition.

Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Tom Wood, Salle Henri-Comte, until August 25.

The Saga of Inventions exhibition includes more than 30 years of images chronicling innovation
Installation shot: The Saga of Inventions at Recontres d’Arles

The Saga of Inventions

Between 1915 and 1938 a national policy to encourage scientific and industrial research saw thousands of photographs and films produced in France.

Although not widely known, the images are a visual record of more than 20 years of research and invention.

While the focus shifts from wartime to domestic life, each plays its own part in a history of innovation.

This exhibition, curated by Luce Lebart, celebrates not just the inventors but those who mastered capturing and archiving their creations.

The Saga of Inventions, From The Gas Mask To The Washing Machine, CNRS Archives, Croisiére, until September 22.

Installation shot: The Faithful, Alys Tomlinson

The Faithful

In this exhibition, Alys Tomlinson explores the life of Orthodox Christian nun Vera in greater detail.

Vera’s portrait sits at the heart of the Ex-Voto series which provides a broad background to The Faithful.

This exhibition combines photographs and film to give greater context to the portrayal of living a life of faith.

It combines portraits of nuns with photographs taken at Christian pilgrimage sites across Europe and images from the Vera series.

The Faithful, Alys Tomlinson, Ground Control, until September 22.

Kurt Tong at Recontres d’Arles
Installation shot: Kurt Tong, Combing for Ice and Jade

Combing for Ice and Jade

Kurt Tong writes a love letter to his 87-year-old nanny Mak with this exhibition.

Mak was a Comb Sister – a Chinese woman who took a vow of chastity and renounced her obligations to her parents and men.

Many Comb Sisters travelled across South East Asia to work as nannies and domestic help. Mac was one of them.

From a starting point of the eight photographs Mak had of herself, Tong has created an exploration of her extraordinary life.

The pair worked closely together on the project for eight years. Mak’s story is slowly revealed through Tong’s family archive, found photos, new photographs, Chinese ink works and women’s magazines from the past six decades.

Combing for Ice and Jade, Kurt Tong, Ground Control, until September 22.

Recontres d’Arles

Recontres d’Arles 2019 opened on July 1 with around 19,000 professionals, journalists and photography lovers attending the first week alone.

Exhibitions continue until September 22.

For a full programme of events visit www.rencontres-arles.com.

Main picture: Installation shot, Kurt Tong, Combing for Ice and Jade

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