Two Teenage Girls

Our aim has always been to select a theme that is broader, so that everyone can relate to it and artists from all over the world can adapt to it," says Matthieu Foss, festival director at the Focus photography Festival, the theme of which this year is memory. Other co-founders include Elise Foster Vander Elst (also Festival Director) and Nicola Antaki (Design Director). Those of us who are obsessed with chronicling our lives in minute detail on social networking sites like Instagram, are well aware of the relationship between memory and a photograph. "That is a factor in settling on the theme. But the point is also to make people look at pictures longer, so that they can reflect and edit. This will make them realise what is actually important and what isn’t," says Foss.

Untitled by Mohini Chandra

Here are just some of the reasons you should watch out for this year's festival
New talent: Photographers have been chosen from all over the world, and curated by art historian and writer Prajna Desai. FOCUS received over 200 entries from 39 countries, and works of 18 finalists will be displayed. These include Prithi Salma Abedin (Bangladesh), Homayra Adiba (USA), Abhishek Anupam (India), Annalisa Natali Murri (Italy), Weronika Perlowska (Poland), Tsutomu Yamagata (Japan), Mohini Chandra (Australia) and Sarah Fishlock (UK), among others.
Masterji comes to town: Maganbhai Patel was a young man who moved from Bombay to Coventry in 1951. Feeling unfulfilled with his mundane day-job, Masterji picked up his camera and started to shoot the new world around him. Now aged 94, Masterji’s life’s work has been painstakingly restored and curated by his daughter Tarla Patel and Jason Tilley of Photo Archive Miners. It documents the South Asian community arriving in the city of Coventry, and provides a peep into the lives of people as they reached the UK. It also talks of the image they wanted to send home.


Mr and Mrs Khan from Masterji by Maganbhai Patel is about life in Coventry, UK

A Japanese story: Before Now, Then: Picturing Loss In Photography In Japan by Yuki Iwanami and Kota Kishi, will be curated by Prajna Desai. This show has two Japanese photographers revisit the subject of catastrophe through a panorama of emotion, fiction, and debris.

The idea of self image: Photographers Olivia Arthur (UK) and Bharat Sikka (India) have collaborated for the first time to explore private and public presentation of self-image in relation to the body, gender, sexuality and fantasy. Working with communities in both Mumbai and Brighton — cities with contrasting politics of gender and sexuality — the photographers’s work revolves largely around individuals who identify themselves as being part of the LGBT community.