Thu 06 Apr 2017
It was wonderful to be back in Derby for the FORMAT International Photography Festival. The exhibitions were fantastic (engaging, thought provoking and intelligent), the conference was inspiring, the portfolios reviewed were the best we’ve seen yet, and to be able to award the Shutter Hub Prize was the icing on the cake.
Each year we select someone whose portfolio stands out to us, someone who is creating work that we are excited by, whose work we can help promote and support, and who is ready and willing to push on with their career.
It was the toughest choice yet, the standards were really high, and there was much to be fascinated by. But, having seen her work and her wonderful enthusiasm we were stuck on one person - the deal was sealed when at the portfolio walk she was off exploring the other photographers work, supporting and sharing with them - proper Shutter Hub ethos in action! So, we’d like to introduce you to the 2017 FORMAT Festival Shutter Hub Prize winner, Isabel Flores, and her current work ‘Open Heart’.
“When I was three years old I had an operation on my heart because of a ventricular septal defect.
At the age of 33, during a three month stay in Buenos Aires, I started to question this idea: could the intensity of my emotions have been affected by someone touching my little heart when I was a child?
I began to investigate the heart from all angles: the scientific, the mythological, the symbolic, the cultural, the spiritual… I unexpectedly opened up the emotional, but in a way not previously known. This new concept of love provoked a catharsis that emphasised even more the therapeutic psychomagic acts that I was undertaking, and my whole world turned around because of my own research: my heart.
The research ate the researcher, and so I made a journey without return to the depths of myself that I’m still trying to decipher.
When I started this project I did not know what I was looking for, but I keep with me of the great affirmations of the father of psychomagic, Alejandro Jodorowsky: although you do not know what you are looking for, what you are looking for finds you.”
“My whole life revolves around photography, between a constant yin yang. My Yin is the summer in Ibiza, the island where I live and have developed most of my commercial photography activity base in music, portrait and editorial. My balance Yang, arrives in winter, when I give sole rein to my personal projects. For me photographs are not things, if not experiences. I try to express myself through them with honesty, love and audacity. It’s my way to live. My way to interpreting and confronting reality.”
“I don’t have enough words to express what this award means to me. If I could explain with one picture, it would be so colourful, full of fantasy and printed in a huge, huge size! Despite having been shooting for ten years, this is the first time that I’ve shared my work at an International photography festival, so I can’t be more happy and grateful for the belief that Shutter Hub showed in me, and I want to do my best to keep growing in my personal works.”
We are looking forward to sharing more of Isabel Flores work with you as ‘Open Heart’ develops and progresses.
There were 6 other awards given at the festival, and we were very proud to see two of them going to fellow Shutter Hub members. Congratulations to Alexandra Lethbridge, who won the Affinity Photo Award, and to Bharat Patel won the Street Level Photoworks Format 2017 Award.
FORMAT 17, the HABITAT edition is, for us, the best festival yet - go and visit! Let us know what you think!
All images: © Isabel Flores
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