Past Belfast Exchange Gallery Exhibition

Belfast Exchange Gallery - Contacts from the Archive

Artists: Belfast Exposed Archive Interns - 17 December to 18 January 2011

Opening: 16 December 7pm

Contacts from the Archive is an exhibition of contact sheets from Belfast Exposed’s community photography archive which houses over half a million images.  

Contact Sheets are working documents that aid photographers in selecting which images to print and are not intended for publication or exhibiting.   Each sheet is 10 x 8 inches in size with up to 36 images.  While the contents of the contact sheets vary, the format stays the same and this repetitiveness gives the artists a freedom to explore the various themes reoccurring within the archive.

The history of the Belfast Exposed archive and the city is written in each of the contact sheets.  Over the past 30 years numerous photographers, artists, community workers, researchers and archivists have accessed the archive for various reasons, leaving their trace by marking the prints with pens and stickers, cataloguing selections or imposing their own intuitive archival structures on the surface of the contact sheets.

In this exhibition each artist was invited to select and respond to a contact sheet, resulting in an exhibition which questions the constructed narratives of photography, contact sheets, and the archive. The reoccurring themes within the archive, such as editing process, commissions, photojournalism, digital versus film and public versus private, have been explored through the chosen contact sheets.

The exhibition allows the audience to view the contents of the archive in alternative, unexpected and challenging ways.  The exhibition has been curated by Mirjami Shchuppert, with the selection of images made by the gallery’s archive intern team Michael Farrelly, Kathryn Foster, Yvonne Kennan and Laura McDowell.

Mirjami Schuppert is currently working on a Doctorate in Art and Design at the University of Ulster. Her research focuses are curation and photography archives. She also works as an internship manager at Belfast Exposed.

Michael Farrelly has completed a B.A. Honours Degree in Fine Art and is currently studying for a M.F.A. in Photography at the University Of Ulster. Michael is currently researching constructed spaces in the rural landscape and will exhibit the work at the University of Ulster in June 2011.

Kathryn Foster has completed a B.A. Honours Degree in English & History of Art and a M.A. Honours Degree in Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies. She is currently working in The Ulster Museum.

Yvonne Kennan has completed a Higher Degree in Fine Art with Limerick School of Art and Design and a Masters of Fine Art with the University of Ulster. Recent work will be exhibited in PS2 Gallery Belfast in April 2011.

Laura McDowell is currently in her final year of study for a B.A. Honours Degree in Photography at University of Ulster and works as project co-ordinator for Belfast Exposed Photography.