©Mary Ellen Mark
As we all know too well and have shared in since the beginning, starting in early 2020 and continuing well into 2021 and 2022, there have been enormous changes and unprecedented challenges in every aspect of our lives: everything we hold dear, everything we take for granted, everything that provides us with comfort, everything that gives us a sense of security has been questioned and curtailed. Our sources of happiness, well-being, income, knowledge, recreation and trust have become areas of concern. Our daily needs and normal habits have put us at risk. And yet, nothing seems more human than wanting to take care of each other, our families, friends and ourselves, even if that means staying put, limiting our movement, scaling down personal liberties and restricting access to the many things that grant us joy. All that without a clear outlook and direction to provide us with a sense of confidence into the finiteness of our journey.
The voids in our lives allowed us to re-evaluate what may be truly important to us. Privation proved to us what matters most. And absence demonstrates what is essential to us. These are the sources of our humanity and the resources in our daily lives. The material and the immaterial. Bread and roses. With a regained sense of who we are and what we want, we can start anew. The origin of a better future is always now. And photography is the perfect medium to observe this moment, reflecting the past and projecting towards what lies ahead. Our current expanded horizon provides us with a vast breadth of topics. It triggers hope, longing, imagination and anticipation. The Fotofestival Lenzburg decided to explore the theme of resources, developing an artistic proposal that tries to grasp the spirit of this moment in time and inviting photographers to participate in doing so in the edition 2021 and in the following 2022.
The Festival edition of the 2021 focused on the resources of human being, putting women as actor of change and renew in the center. The main attraction was the retrospective exhibition “The Lives of Women” by the American photographer Mary Ellen Mark, shown in Switzerland for the first time in 20 years – in the Stapferhaus, which was awarded European Museum of the Year in 2020. The great news of the 2021 edition were the expansion of the exhibition spaces, in the prestigious venues of Lenzburg Castle, the Stadmuseum Aarau, the Burghalde Museum, and the exhibition for the first time in Switzerland of the award-winning pictures of the SONY World Photography Awards. With curated group and individual exhibitions, guided tours and accompanying events, the 4th edition of the festival offered numerous opportunities for encounters and exchanges between participants and festival visitors, strengthening the cultural life of the city, the region and the photographic scene.
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