Some art and photography fairs aim to attract crowds through showing works of artists and photographers people know – others take pride in their capacity to showcase the unknown. Amsterdam’sUnseen Photo Fair proudly falls within the latter. Taking place each September in Westergasfabriek – the cavernous gas cylinders that once fuelled the Dutch capital – Unseen is a showcase of new photography talent from around the world, counting over 120 photographers and 50 galleries from as many countries.
With its focus firmly on emerging photographers and their imagery, and a number of initiatives to encourage aspiring collectors to take their first steps towards collecting photo works for prices under €1000, Unseen offers a perfect opportunity to gauge new trends in photography influenced by the market. At this year’s edition, sculptural photo works – or to paraphrase Helio Oiticica, ‘expanded photography’ – such as an installation by Dazed favourite Lorenzo Vitturi (who also created the campaign imagery plastered all around Amsterdam), and the embroidered photos of Julie Verhoeven displayed at The Photographer’s Gallery were a reoccurring theme, alongside a number of photographs of extreme nature, mountains and glaciers. Yet, with Trust The Cloud, an interactive installation where viewers have their photos taken and uploaded online while jumping into an inflatable cloud, The Weekender Trailer Show, a travelling caravan of nine solo shows by nine international artists, and artist Melinda Gibson smoking her new book SPBH Book Club VI over a barbeque – there are still a number of works on display that revel in unabashed creative freedom.
Unseen’ extensive festival program – a joint venture with FOAM who exhibited solo shows by Daniel Gordon and JH Engström, and the group show Under Construction, New Positions in Americal Photography at their museum near the newly refurbished Rijksmuseum – also takes in Anime, a survey of new Japanese photography, a number of talks, and The Unseen Book Market. A celebration of independent publishing; with thousands of photo books and zines from the likes of Trolley Books, Kessels Kramer, Oodee and Self Publish, Be Happy who are distributing Gibson’s barbequed book – the market is also one of the places to grab a copy of the new Unseen Magazine. With highlights of the fair, portfolios and interviews with photographers, look out for it at discerning newsstands worldwide to get a taste of Unseen’s sincere enthusiasm for creativity. In the meantime, we hope this selection of previously unseen photography from Unseen sates your photo appetite.