Five Things to See at Amsterdam’s Most Exciting Photography Fair

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Bol - Buduma, from the series Chronicles of the La
Bol - Buduma, from the series Chronicles of the Lake Chad Basin, 2017© Benedicte Kurzen, courtesy of TJ Boulting

As Unseen Amsterdam prepares to open its seventh edition, we round up the very best things to see and do while you're there

1. Discover contemporary photography’s greatest as-yet-untapped talent

Geographically speaking, the centrepiece of Unseen is its fair – a circular space encompassing more than 50 galleries from around the world – but in spirit, it’s the unwavering focus on new and (often) unseen work that gives the annual event its lifeblood. So the importance of Futures, an additional strand, outside of the main thoroughfare and focusing on emerging talent from throughout the European photographic landscape, can’t be overstated. This year an exhibition, Futures Talent Pool, displays the work of ten of its 60 artists, deftly demonstrating how bright our future it set to be.

2. Hear a panel of the industry’s foremost thinkers discuss the future of fashion photography

In Unseen’s cosy Living Room space, a dynamic forum for talks, presentations and discussions, creatives from the photographic world gather to tackle subjects on and around photography. Today, an Aperture-curated panel – including writer and curator Lou Stoppard, Central Saint Martins professor Alistair O’Neill and Italian Vogue editor Chiara Nonino – takes on Elements of Style, asking how photography is set to shape and address complex questions of representation, “from colonial legacies to queer histories, and other concerns beyond the sartorial”.

3. Buy a long-sold-out and highly collectible book from one of art’s most passionate publishers

Unseen’s Book Market is a place to shop, certainly, but its also a space in which aficionados of the printed page can find kindred spirits who are supremely well informed about their field. From crisp prints and age-old monographs to tiny hand-printed zines, more than 70 of the finest publishing houses in the field are here, launching 38 new books and hosting a series of signings and discussions too.

4. Experience an incisive new perspective on the impact of climate change on glaciers, by way of photography

Edward Burtynsky, Noémie Goudal and Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are just a few of the artists instrumental to When Records Melt, an exhibition which repositions contemporary photographers as social researchers in order to use them as a tool to delve into environmental issues. Created in collaboration with Project Pressure, a charity organisation which works with leading International scientists and artists to explore the impact of climate change on glaciers, nine image-makers come together in this collection of works to probe at the reality of the natural, and in turn the sociopolitical world today.

5. Take to the streets of Amsterdam to see the most exciting new ventures in photography today

On Saturday night, the energy of Unseen seeps out of its perimeter and braces the rest of the city when, for Open Gallery Night, a string of exclusive openings and dynamic new initiatives take place across Amsterdam – for one night only.

Unseen Amsterdam runs from September 21 to 23, 2018, at Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam.