As an area famously teeming with artists East London has always been an eminently suitable location for Photomonth. In October the UK’s largest photography festival returns, with some 100 galleries and art spaces opening their doors for free exhibitions, workshops and talks covering a colossal range of topics, from the Battle of Cable Street to homelessness and the refugee crisis. Here is our – by no means exhaustive – guide to the festivities ahead.
Photomonth launches with The Disinherited, featuring specially commissioned work by three photographers. For her series Children of Vision, Alina Kisina took portraits of pupils at a special art school in Kiev for the blind and partially sighted to illustrate how creativity can transform lives. Heather McDonough’s Leave to Remain series is inspired by a period she spent volunteering in French refugee camps and her encounters not only with the people there but also with objects left lying spent and discarded. Big Red is Ed Thompson’s visual essay on homelessness, inspired by the story of a man who turned his back on London life in favour of a nomadic existence in his Big Red van.
Until 17 October, The Print Space Gallery, 74 Kingsland Road, E2 8DL
Celebrating the “culture of the female” in the 21st century, Girl Club is an exhibition anyone – professional or amateur – can submit work for, using the hashtag #girltownPM on Instagram. Talks, including one on photojournalist Jane Bown, as well as film screenings are also in the offing over the course of the month.
6 October – 1 November, St Margaret’s House, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL
80th Anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street
On 4 October 1936 East Londoners came together to stop Oswald Mosley and his fascist ‘Blackshirts’ from marching through Cable Street in Stepney, then a predominantly Jewish area. 80 years on and the Cable Street Group is to hold an exhibition of photographs of the Battle of Cable Street, alongside other memorabilia and events to remember this important moment in East End history.
Until 18 October, Idea Store Watney Street, 260 Commercial Road, E1 2FB
Dalston Street Show
Images of the many faces of Dalston – its people, streets and buildings – will adorn shop windows, restaurants, bars, cafés and Dalston venues this month. Featuring an array work by local photographers such as Dougie Wallace, the Dalston Street Show opens on 14 October in Dalston Square with an event that will see a giant inflatable screen display images from the show with a musical accompaniment from Band Off the Wall.
14 October–14 November, Kingsland High Street, Dalston Lane, Dalston Square, Ashwin Street, Ridley Road, Bradbury Street, Gillett Square
Essex-based artist Simon Fowler has created an intimate portrait of the Thames Estuary in an exhibition that coincides with the publication of Estuary: Out from London to the Sea by East London writer Rachel Lichtenstein. Another strand of the exhibition is Estuary English by David George, whose own photographic exploration of the Thames Estuary focuses on the region’s gothic associations.
Until 15 October, Cass Bank Gallery, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7PF
Best of the rest
Territorial – 20 October–20 November, Bank Space Gallery, The Cass, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street
Showcasing the work of six contemporary photographic practitioners whose work is concerned with concepts of human geography, identity and territory.
Domestic Disorder – Until 5 November, Idea Store Canary Wharf
Images by Sian Bonnell that challenge ideas of the ordered domestic life.
Uncertain States – 4 November – 27 November, Mile End Arts Pavilion, Grove Road
Fifty artists present a selection of contemporary and thought provoking photography in annual exhibition.
The Transaction – Until 13 October, Canvas Café, 42 Hanbury Street
Exhibition about people in India who work in public spaces. Artist Kathryn Geels tasked herself with one job: to get them to smile for the camera.
Lived Brutalism: Portraits at Robin Hood Gardens – 3 October–21 October, St Matthias Community Centre, 113 Poplar High Street
Photographs recording the lives of residents at Robin Hood Gardens the ‘streets in the sky’ development currently facing demolition.