The first Reportage Festival was founded in 1999.
Reportage Festival is a celebration of visual narrative, raising awareness and understanding of documentary photography, whilst supporting artists and delivering unique exhibitions and workshops.
The subdivision of the Festival referred to solely as Reportage retains the integrity of the Festival’s concept and mission providing spin-off events, news, advice, community interaction, exhibitions and workshops between the specific Reportage Festival dates. Its purpose is to maintain a constant presence within the community and continue to interact and stimulate individuals interested in the Festival’s programs.
Reportage is a non-for profit organisation and relies upon the support and funding of our partners and small revenue generated from subsidised ticketed events and professional workshops.
Reportage aims to provide a platform for engaging the photographic and media industries, professional and amateur photographers alike and the general public in a celebration of documentary photography and the visual narrative; to engage new and emerging audiences within the community and create an understanding of visual communication and the broader social, environmental and humanitarian issues that the genre represents. The organisation acts as a point of contact to professionals and the emerging photographer market in Australia but also reaches out and is connected strongly to the Asia Pacific and International regions.
Reportage began as a screening night of photographic projections celebrating and deepening the exposure of documentary photography for Australian photographers. The event conceived and founded in 1999 by Stephen Dupont, Michael Amendolia, Jack Picone and David Dare Parker was opened and shown for the first time at Sydney’s Valhalla Cinema.
Since this time it has grown to become an important festival gaining recognition on the international photography circuit; regularly profiling new and compelling work by international and Australian photographers while at the same time laying tribute to the historic foundations of documentary photography.
Reportage shares rich visual narratives and exchanges new points of view with its community, bringing to the fore and celebrating both the traditional and contemporary edge in documentary photography.
2010 heralded the celebration of ten years of the Festival’s history and the screening as well as exhibitions and workshops were located at the National Art School in Sydney. The 2010 Festival also had the pleasure of collaborating with the retrospective of photographer Annie Leibovitz exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art; a show that boasted record ticket sales and attendance.
A pinnacle point of Reportage is the projections – a work of art in their own right. Highly regarded for the benchmarks in photography they illustrate, together with tight editing and eclectic soundtracks they bring the images to life in a multimedia light. The process is lengthy and involves music compositors and the combined work of the editors in the creative team to deliver the final result. Along with the projections, there are exhibitions, seminars, photographers talks, master classes, workshops, portfolio reviews, outside installations and social events all establishing Reportage as a strong representative and pioneer in the exposure of International and Australian documentary photography
REPORTAGE FESTIVAL 2013
In 2013 Reportage set to expand the horizons of what the festival has achieved in the past. The selection of exclusive venues for projections and a new concept for the delivery of the event including collaborations with international photography festivals coincided with exhibitions of the documentary narrative’s most influential and outstanding photographers, never before exhibited in Australia. This 11th edition of the Festival was its most ambitious to date.
THE VIVID CENSORSHIP FIASCO
In this year Reportage also began a trial collaboration with the state organised event VIVID Sydney in which the Festival was regarded as a major featured event within the broader organisation. Reportage Festival events were major features in both the VIVID Ideas and VIVID Lightwalk programs. Reportage’s collaboration with VIVID Ideas proved to be a successful partnership until hours before the official opening Reportage was the subject of a broader censorship issue on the VIVID Lightwalk by Vivid Organisers in regards to its documentary projections.
These restraints caused great strain to the overall production of the Festival and a majority of works not shown on the light walk, pulled at the last minute due to restrictions from CEO of Destination NSW. Despite this there was however a massive show of support for Reportage on a national and internationally from the general public and many high profile personalities and media organisations.Feeling the urgency to create a discussion with the public in response to the sudden censorship by Vivid organisers. Reportage organised an open outdoor free exhibition in Hyde Park with support of the City of Sydney and our partners to exhibit the images pulled from the projections and create a conversation about the nature of censorship. We asked residents what they thought was suitable for viewing in a public space. Once again the outcome of the exhibition demonstrated an incredible amount of support for Reportage’s programs within the community, and an overall consensus that the images that Reportage exhibits are important stories and information that needs to be seen within the local and national community.
It was of high priority for Reportage organisers to gain an even stronger understanding of the expectations of the public in regards to the Festival’s programs. Due to the turn of events and the value organisers place on Reportage to maintain the integrity of the Festival, the decision was made to separate the Festival and events from VIVID Sydney in the future as it had proved to be an inadequate fit for the principles of the organisation.
The decision to distance Reportage from the larger VIVID Sydney event also meant a reduction in the funds that were provided to support the Festival, therefore in light of this Reportage organisers decided to keep the Festival a bi-annual event so as to ensure funds are distributed to create the best possible program for the community.
In 2014 Reportage presented four major exhibitions (spin-off events) with important partner venues The State Library and The Australian Centre for Photography. The exhibitions included a retrospective of renowned photographer Don McCullin titled ‘The Impossible Peace’ that exhibited for the very first time in Australia at The State Library of NSW proving to be a highly successful and popular exhibition. Valued highly also were the three major exhibitions that ran as the Spring season at The Australian Centre for Photography including shows by Ashley Gilbertson, Jodi Bieber, and partners Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong.
Since 2014 the Festival has been in hiatus with programs planned for the future.