Birmingham Photography Festival 2018 – Origins

The idea for a series of photography-related events that weren’t just about actually taking photos has been in the back of my mind for over a year. Having been involved in organising nearly 100 events for photographers with IGers Birmingham (photowalks, workshops, competitions and exhibitions) over the last 3 years which bring people of all skill levels to take photos, having a day where people sit down together minus cameras seems like a natural next step.

Event organisation has been part of my day job for number of years, and so along with Fraser and Martin (with whom I run IGers Birmingham) I knew that between us we would be able to achieve something special. They did not need much persuasion.

Looking around, we couldn’t see anything that fitted that bill in Birmingham right now. Certainly there had been in the past, there were ad hoc events, camera and photography clubs, and festivals further afield, but nothing that seemed a real landmark event about photography that was easily-accessible, and importantly “of” Birmingham.

We felt that the event should be inspirational, educational and interesting – in a way that was accessible to beginners while being relevant to professionals. Bringing people together who enjoy photography is key – we want to ensure that there is something for everyone, whether they are a hobbyist who just likes taking photos for the fun of it, the type that knows and enjoys the technical side of photography, a creative that produces projects with more of a narrative, a professional or anything else!

As a trio we set about finding a venue, curating a line, coming up with ideas for sessions, and the many other under the radar tasks involved in putting on an event of this kind.

So here it is. An idea that sparked a conversation that sparked a plan that sparked the Birmingham Photography Festival 2018. We can’t wait!

By Beth Astington, Birmingham Photography Festival Organiser

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