Photomonth 2018: East london’s annual picture festival is back – and ‘more varied’ than ever

Picturesque: the Engine Room at Walthamstow Wetlands is hosting an exhibition. Photograph: Walthamstow Wetlands

Photomonth 2018 is now in full force and more varied than ever before.

East London’s annual two-month photography festival runs through October and November, and features over 50 shows in venues from cafés and pubs to major exhibition spaces.

Alternative photographic processes feature heavily in this year’s event.

The 2018 UK Alternative Photography Exhibition on at Clifford-Thames Gallery between 28 October and 10 November is perhaps the widest-ranging, including processes as diverse as ambrotype, carbon transfer, cyanotype, gum, photogravure and photopolymer.

A piece from Rachel Thomson’s Sacré Bleu! show. Photograph: Walthamstow Wetlands

Also of note are the large-format cyanotype photograms of Sacré Bleu! in the upper gallery of the Engine House in Walthamstow Wetlands (1 October-30 November): rich-textured cameraless images by Rachel Thomson of plants and other detritus – nitrous oxide canisters, fishing wire, plastic bags – found in wild areas of east London.

Far smaller in size but no less intriguing are Bettina Speckner’s collection of experimental jewellery fashioned out of photo etchings, tintypes and alutypes, printed largely from found images, adorned with precious stones and set in gold or silver (5 October – 18 November, Gallery SO).

New Adventures in a Dirty Darkroom is on until 28 October. Photograph: E5 Process

The show entitled New Adventures in a Dirty Darkroom at E5 Process (6-28 October) likewise includes a range of alternative photographic processes, some of which deliver unexpected results.

Street photography – a London staple – is given an arresting new twist this autumn with the retro-futurist digital montages of city life in Chris MacGovern’s Why in the City exhibition (13 October-11 November, Hanbury Hall).

Other collections to look out for are Dalston Street Show (1-31 October, Dalston CLR James Library) and Hackney 24/7 (1 October – 30 November, Biddle Bros) both documenting contemporary Hackney.

Also on display as part of Photomonth are historic images of local life in East and Suffragettes: The Photography of Norah Smith (2 November- 9 February, Four Corners Gallery), Roots, Rhythms & Records: The Sounds and Stories of African & Caribbean Hackney (2 October – 6 March, Hackney Museum) and Little Happenings: Dorothy Bohm (1 November-5 May, V&A Museum of Childhood).

Whether you are interested in photos that expand the boundaries of digital manipulation, images that explore contemporary identities or techniques that reinvent the genre’s past, there will be something for you in this visual smorgasbord.

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