Metro is once again thrilled to be supporting FORMAT17 Portfolio Reviews taking place at the upcoming FORMAT Festival in March.  The review hosts the UK’s largest gathering of professional photography experts offering help and advice to over 80 Photographers.  Aimed at committed photographers with a developed and serious approach to their work including recent graduates the reviews offer a unique opportunity to have work critiqued from a selection of almost 50 industry experts including Art Directors, Picture Editors, Curators, Photographers and gallery owners.

Along with a host of other prizes Metro is providing The Metro Imaging Award which is open to everyone booked at the Review and judged by the reviewers or chosen judges.  Our prize consists of x1 hour consultation with one of our Master Printers, learning about profiling and preparation of work for a fine art finish.  The winner will have the opportunity to discuss the desired finish for their prints and receive set of 12 x 12”x8” C-type Matt/gloss portfolio prints, produced after the session.Established in 2004 FORMAT Festival is now one of the UK’s leading international contemporary festivals of photography and related media. Taking place biennially FORMAT organises a year round programme of international commissions, open calls, residencies, conferences and collaborations in the UK and Internationally – the 2015 festival welcomed over 100,000 visitors from all over the world.

Since its inception each major festival adopts a core theme around which it is curated together with the core structure.  This year’s festival theme is ‘Habitat’ through varied narratives and imagery that document the worlds around us. We will share the experiences and stories that coalesce as we negotiate our complex existence, including the flora, fauna, landscapes and the lives within.

FORMAT 17 takes place in various locations around Derby between 24th March – 23rd April 2017

Portfolio Reviews
The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Rd, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8JE

Saturday 25 March 2017: 9.30am – 4.00pm
For full details about the Portfolio Reviews and to book

For more information about the FORMAT Festival 2017

Images ©
From the exhibition ‘Ahead still lies the Future’:

Part I: Redo  © Sadie Wechsler

Dutch photographer Luuk Smits was awarded a Metro Mentorship at the Düsseldorf Photo Weekend in 2016.  We caught up with him before the opening of Art Rotterdam recently where he exhibited work he has been producing with Metro as part of his mentorship programme and find out more about what he’s been up to since winning the prize.

Luuk firstly belated congratulations on winning the Metro Mentorship Düsseldorf Photo Weekend Portfolio Prize in 2016. What did you learn or gain from the experts here at Metro during your 12-month mentoring programme?

Thank you! With the help of the team at Metro team I made a decision about how to print the final image for the installation I have been working on. It is a life-size print of part of a pillar so it was quite a technical challenge. Finally using the Lambda Lightjet 500XL printer we produced a over-sized C Type print 124cm x 330cm in size. I documented and made a video of the whole process whilst working with Metro in London and the team helped me out with everything I asked.You have a large exhibit in Prospects & Concepts at Art Rotterdam 2017.  Can you tell us a little bit about this particular piece and your involvement in Art Rotterdam?
In the past year my work has been based around elements of architecture; foundations, floors, walls and facade.  I have developed the work ‘Ancient Pillar’ in the past year, based on the element ‘Foundation’, inspired by the process of how Multiplex is made. During this process a tree, a structure of large size, is shaved down to only a few millimeters thin.  This gave me inspiration to photograph the surface of an old column in Greece.

Prospects & Concepts is an exhibition at Art Rotterdam hosted by the Dutch Mondriaan Foundation. All winners of a Young Talent grant from the foundation in 2015 are exhibiting in the show at Art Rotterdam.

Your style of work focuses on everyday objects and tactile urban landscape and structures – what inspires & draws you to this subject?

The objects I work with are often very accessible and recognizable – I feel some objects come to life and become almost human when they are imperfect. I have sharp eye for these imperfections and work with them to make these often banal things important and give them a new perspective.

When did your interest in photography begin and have you always had an ambition to become a photographer?
I grew up with mechanics around me.  In his spare time my dad worked a lot lot restoring vintage cars and motorbikes. My curiosity about how things work meant I started watching what he was doing, asking a lot of questions about the function of certain parts of the engine or other technical systems. After High school I had to choose a subject to study and I didn’t really know what to do. My sisters boyfriend was photographing a lot in those days and this made me curious about photography. From the sales of a restored moped I bought my first digital camera and went to a technical photography school before going to the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, NL

Aside from Art Rotterdam 2017 do you have any interesting current projects or upcoming exhibitions you’d like to share with us?
The Foundation element is the first element in the project; Ancient Pillar (installation) and Modern Pillar (video).  In the coming year I want to develop my work with the other elements; Floor, Wall and Facade.

For the Floor element of my project I got selected to go to a residency at sundaymorning@EKWC in the European Ceramics Work Center in Oisterwijk, NL. I’m really excited about this as I will working continuously for three  months with material on the functionality of a floor.

What are your ultimate photography/career goals?

I would like to curate an exhibition where the works of all the elements – Foundation, Floor, Wall and Facade come together in one space thus creating a city of my own ‘the perfect, imperfect city’.

I’m really excited about the recent developments in my work and practice. Coming from a photography background I used the photographic observation as a starting point for my artistic process.  I’m now working more and more with different materials and media and through this process I hope to develop my artistic practice.

Prospects & Concepts – Mondriaan Fund
Van Nelle Factory Van Nelleweg 1, Rotterdam
Exhibition dates: 8th – 12th February 2017

For more information about Art Rotterdam
For more information about Luuk Smits

Images © Luuk Smits

We caught up with editorial Photographer Jenny Lewis and discussed her project for Doctors of The World as well as her entry for this years Taylor Wessing and Portrait Salon 2016. Her shortlisted portrait is currently on show at Metro’s front  of House Gallery in Clerkenwell…