Major photography exhibition takes centre stage as festival season hots up

Winchester City Council is staging a major month-long photography exhibition to showcase the growing number of world-class festivals that take place in the district. Festivals in Winchester: The Photographers opens on 26 June in City Space, Winchester Discovery Centre.

Last year, five renowned photographers hit the streets of Winchester to capture the season of city-based arts festivals that takes the city by storm each summer. Hat Fair, Winchester Festival, MAYfest, Winchester Writers’ Conference and the Festival of Art and Mind were visited by Kin Ho, Paul Carter, Daniel Gradwell, Joe Low and Marcus Tate respectively. The initiative has a twin focus – as well as promoting festivals to a broader audience, the aim is to support small local businesses.

The acclaimed photographers were chosen for their ability to offer a new interpretation of the events. Paul Carter, who was drafted in to photograph the Winchester Festival, explains: “Commercial editorial photographers are normally asked to take performance photographs at arts events, so I was very pleased to be able to investigate behind the scenes and to photograph audiences for a change. So much of history is rooted in ordinary moments and I hope these photos are a small contribution to the history of the Winchester Festival and of Winchester itself."

The free exhibition, which is funded by Winchester City Council, will run at City Space between Saturday 26 June and Sunday 25 July and is part of an overarching ‘Festivals in Winchester’ campaign founded by the festival directors themselves. The group is also inviting locals to take part via a photography competition sponsored by Kin Ho, El Sabio restaurant, and Winchester Photographic. For more details, see the dedicated microsite or

Cllr Dominic Hiscock, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity said: “We know that festivals make a significant positive impact on Winchester’s economy and culture. By building the district’s excellent reputation as a centre of vibrant arts events, we can support many businesses, including the five photographers whose work is showcased here"

He added: “This exhibition marks the end of the first wave of activity by my colleagues in the tourism service designed to put the festivals firmly on the map. We’re actively targeting the national media by using images from this event and the successful festivals film on Youtube to encourage people to holiday in the UK. And next year, the campaign will actively promote rural festivals alongside the city-based arts festivals that founded the Festivals in Winchester group."

The exhibition runs at Winchester Discovery Centre, City Space gallery from Saturday 26 June to 25 July 2010. See for more details.