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‘Believe [whakapono]’ is the theme for 2024’s Auckland Festival of Photography

Auckland Festival of Photography (30 May-14 June, 2024)

“We’ve all seen photographs that have made us ask ‘is that real’?” says AFP Founder Julia Durkin, MNZM. “Over time we have developed greater skepticism of the medium as a ‘window to the truth’.

“We only need to review the global interest in the British Royal Family’s ‘edited’ family portrait, or closer to home, Brian Brake’s famous constructed ‘documentary’ image of the ‘Monsoon Girl’ to know that photography has never been an objective purveyor of reality. So, with the growth of AI as a tool in the ‘artists studio’, the question has become: how does photography maintain its role and credibility in reflecting society’s philosophical, ideological, religious or political beliefs?”

“The often-seamless images of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can make us assume what we see is real, or start to question the reliability of any image. All this, in an environment of social media disinformation or ‘fake news’, makes us question who or what we are to believe.”

Many of 2024’s Believe [whakapono] themed exhibitions will be presented in a series of outdoor experiences along the city’s waterfront promenade: from Te Komititanga Square Lightboxes, Queens Wharf Fence, Karanga Plaza at The Viaduct, Wynyard Quarters’s Silo Park Gantry and Silo 6, and Silo 7.

Jon Carapiet -NZ

In Legacy (Silo 7, Wynyard Quarter), Jon Carapiet uses A.I. to re-animate screenshots from videos, exploring themes of celebrity and power, and challenging conventions of photography and portraiture.

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Taro Karibe - Japan

Japanese artist Taro Karibe’s series Aim an Arrow at the Rock in the Ocean is a fusion of deconstructed digital camera photographs rebuilt using an AI tool into a new image. “The algorithms of recognition, the procedures for seeing things, are defined by humans and, therefore, are not free from bias,” says Taro Karibe. “Given that the human brain’s neural pathways serve as a model for AI development, it wouldn't seem unreasonable to compare the human and technological experience of seeing. My interest in this intersection of vision and technology led me to explore a cognitive psychological experiment using AI biases to make the machine’s eyes see illusions"

Jenna Eriksen - NZ

During Jenna Eriksen’s 2023 Kōwhai Residency in Yoga, Tokyo, the Wellington-based multidisciplinary artist was drawn to Japan’s national flower, the chrysanthemum to create her new series of works, these stand tall on the premise of the residency to assist to build intercultural fluency for NZ artists during their residency. "My imagination started to spark seeing all these incredible live species and the awe-inspiring scale of thousands of blooms." She set about capturing the intensely coloured blooms, using post production techniques to make strong, bold images. First exhibited in Tokyo, Japan at the end of year, 2023. NZ premiere.

The Kōwhai Residency in Yoga, Tokyo is a unique dedicated NZ photography project between Auckland and Tokyo. As cultural ambassadors, the residency artists’ encounter with and pursuit of artistic excellence promotes Aotearoa in a way that develops the potential of New Zealand’s arts infrastructure and creative industries internationally.

Aim an Arrow at the Rock in the Ocean and Kōwhai Residency new works are presented as lightbox arts outdoors in Te Komititanga Square (opposite Britomart Station), 24 May - 14 June. Thanks to Auckland Council and the City Centre targeted rate.

NASA James Webb Telescope - Deep Space

NASA James Webb Telescope Deep Space (Queens Wharf Fence) features the most detailed - and extraordinary - images of distant spiral galaxies. If seeing is believing, then NASA’s imagery from the James Webb telescope speaks viscerally to what we feel when contemplating deep space and humanity’s existence in the vast expanse of the galaxies. Using infrared technology, Webb’s NIR-Cam has captured millions of images and transmitted them about 1.5 million kilometres back to Earth. What else do we believe is out there? This selection of images is being presented exclusively by the Auckland Festival of Photography here down on earth, as part of the ‘Believe’ theme.

BUTOH by Yulia Skogoreva

Fine art and documentary photographer Yulia Skogoreva (Russia) has been based in Tokyo for more than ten years, and been inspired by Butoh, Japanese dance theatre - which encompasses diverse activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement, influenced by various belief systems, anti establishment, some religious, some queer; it's an ever evolving avant garde dance practice which took the 1950's post war Japan, in shock from the atomic bombings, by surprise. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw it. Based on my first impression, I would say it is something scary but something you can’t take your eyes off. While Butoh is often associated with something dark, there is always a sense of hope for something bright.” presented as lightbox arts outdoors in Karanga Plaza, 24 May - 14 June. Thanks Auckland Council City Centre targeted rate.

Believe – NZ Herald photojournalists

New Zealand Herald photographers, including works from the wider New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) assignments, are always tasked with obtaining an image that reflects and illustrates the 'truth' of a story. But despite their expertise and commitment, the images they capture are increasingly questioned and scrutinised. NZME's Silo 6 exhibition for AFP 2024 invites the viewer to 'believe' in the real images.‘ The exhibition Includes work for the Northern Advocate, Hawkes Bay Today, Bay of Plenty Times and Whanganui Chronicle.

The Lonka Project

After Holocaust survivor Dr Eleonora ‘Lonka’ Nass died, her daughter and son-in-law launched The Lonka Project (Silo Park Gantry, First Floor) to document survivors’ stories - with more than 300 photographers from 35 countries contributing portraits. The ‘memory keeping project’ is intended for future generations who will never get to meet or know a Holocaust survivor, and as an affirmation of survivors who went on to live productive lives. Presented in partnership with Sydney's Head On Photo Festival. https://headon.org.au/exhibitions/the-lonka-project

Thanks to an anonymous donation, Moshe Rosenzveig, OAM - the Founder and Director of Head On Photo Festival - will attend events linked to the exhibition from May 27-30, including the exhibition blessing, opening event at 4pm on May 29.

Sarah Palmer – Wish You Are Here

Wish You Were Here (Silo Park Gantry, ground level) is a multi-award-winning series by Sarah Palmer (Canada) that explores vacation culture during the climate crisis and notions of ‘last-chance’ tourism - and the capitalist and colonialist structures underpinning it. "The way I photograph is a bit different,” says Sarah Palmer. “I use film and create multiple exposures in-camera with no manipulation in photoshop. I shoot by building layers of stories on the same piece of film, creating a strong sense of environment while weaving together contrasts and similarities in the subject matter I’m photographing". https://contactphoto.com/2023/core/wish-you-were-here-2

James Whitlow-Delano - The Rainforest Sentinels

A sentinel can be a guard standing watch or the act of protection. In James Whitlow-Delano’s highly evocative series, The Rainforest Sentinels the photographer superimposes images of local people on photographs of the rainforest - with both at risk from incursions into their environment. The widely published US/Japan based photographer founded Everyday Climate Change, a group committed to recording and highlighting threats to the environment. https://jameswhitlowdelano.photoshelter.com/index/G0000dVXUR1nMkFc/I0000Evix4O9NLc8

Talking Pictures online

The Talking Pictures online vault and website, founded by Alasdair Foster (Australia), brings together edited interviews with photographers and photo-festival directors from around the world.

Three photographer profiles that relate directly to the AFP 'Believe [whakapono]' theme are interviews with artists Tomoko Sawada (Japan), Michelle Rogers Pritzl (USA) and Boris Eldagsen (Germany). Last year Boris Eldagsen won the creative open section of the Sony World Photography Award with an enigmatic portrait that is remarkable because the young woman and her shy companion pictured never existed and, second, the image is not a photograph but was created using an AI image-generation system. Talking Pictures reached out to Boris Eldagsen to explore what he sees as the future of AI images that look like photographs.

2024 programme: https://www.photographyfestival.org.nz

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