FOTO8 Curating

The Return Journey
Guernsey Photography Festival
1 – 30 June 2011

Dana Popa

Adam Patterson

Dana Popa

Adam Patterson

Curatorial statement

Many documentary photographers will be compelled at one point or another to return home, to embark on a project from their places of birth or childhood, one that could be the most challenging and most personal they undertake. Perhaps the need is even more manifest if that place has undergone immense change or is in the process of recovering from a lingering conflict.

Post-communist Romania is the subject, and home, of Dana Popa and her project Our Father Ceaucescu. She focuses on a generation who have lived the majority of their existence under capitalism, as they struggle with the desire to leave Romania behind while conforming to Western ideals of fashion and beauty. Yet, the traces of Popa’s communist childhood pervade, not only in the blocks of flats and the cars from another era, but in the mindsets of both the young and old – inseparable from the communist past.

Returning to Northern Ireland, Adam Patterson’s project Men and My Daddy, confronts a generation of paramilitary members struggling to find purpose in their lives after the Troubles. Focusing in particular on the Ulster Defence Association, Patterson tells the stories of these men’s pasts through borrowed photographs and writings, supplemented with anecdotes of his own childhood. His portraits of their present lives stress the importance of integration to the future of Northern Ireland as a whole.

This exhibition is on from 1 – 30 June as part of the Guernsey Photography Festival.