Now in its sixth year, the content is rich and the reach is vast. Dozens of exhibitions, talks and workshops stretch across a month-long calendar of events.
There are two core exhibitions at the heart of the festival, Focus and Exposure. Focus is a set of works commissioned by Format and includes Still Waters: A Photograpic Portrait of Derby by Brian Griffin; and Dark Clouds by Ian Teh, which explores the scale of China’s industrial revolution and the human and environmental cost of its coal production.
Exposure is an open competition, and this year has received entrants from more than 30 countries, the best of which have been chosen by a panel of international photographers who have selected 70.
The show has garnered a reputation for showing work in the UK from China, Africa, the Indian sub-continent, South America and The Middle East.
This year’s Exposure Paul Hill Award goes to Andreas Meichsner for his series TUC: To The Acid Test, showing product testing in Germany. It’s a bit magic eye, and those terrifying sound-proof walls appear to have movement.
New exhibition, Notes Home, will explore the history of the British postcard and has been produced by the Archive of Modern conflict. Hopefully it will be as enjoyable as this.
Other highlights include participatory photographs by The Human Printer, a giant human zoetrope, the Format photobook market, the launch of a photo blog app from a team of photographers from Bangalore, portfolio reviews, film screenings, professional practice talks, and show reels of photography from Bangladesh, Poland, and France.
For the opening weekend dance organisation Deda has created Elemental Force, a site-specific film and performance celebrating the world’s first factory, the Silk Mill, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site and the birthplace of mass-production. Expect pyrotechnics and aerial performance.
Format 13: Factory takes place between 8 March-7 April at various venues in Derby.