Retina Festival

As part of the Retina Scottish International Photography Festival there are several expositions and events across the city of Edinburgh at the moment. Today, I visited one of the four venues at The Dark Room in the Ocean Terminal.



The exhibition shows a number of international artists with varied photography styles and although I have enjoyed all the work, there are a couple of photographs that caught my attention.



Firstly, Silvia Maggi´s image from the series “The Day I Glimpsed Inside Your Soul” was my favourite on show. The image was taken at Sachsenhausen concentration camp, situated at North of Berlin. It is difficult for me to identify what made me feel attracted to this photograph, but the first thought that crossed my mind was “silence”: there is something really intimate about the open gate but it is almost an invitation to enter a place that feels unreal, unknown and secret.

Silvia Maggi. The Day I Glimpsed Inside Your Soul.

Maggi is telling us the story of her husband´s grandfather who, unlike thousands of others, managed to scape from Sachsenhausen. I did not know by the title that this was a concentration camp until I did some research about the image and got a bit of a shock as I went on a trip with the school to Berlin when I was 14 years old (that is over 20 years ago!) and spent a whole day visiting this place. It is huge (I only managed to see a small area) and horrible. I could not recognize the gate as most of my memories from that place come from what I saw inside. I got very emotional reading about the story of the image and trying to imagine how Maggi´s husband felt when standing in front of the gate, looking through the eyes of his grandfather.

Another photographer I have enjoyed greatly in this exhibition and on her website is Margaret Mitchell and her series “In this place“, which had two images on display.  The project observes social inequality and life choices through the story of her extended family. I like not only the approach that Mitchell has to this matter but also the subject chosen as the project depicts the reality of many families in Scotland and rises concern about inequality and disadvantages, specially for younger generations.

Steve. From the series “In This Place” by Margaret Mitchell.

I also love her general style between documentary and portraiture, specially her Portrait Series, so I will leave a link here for future reference and inspiration.

Overall the level of the exhibition is very good. I have visited another venue a week ago at the Summerhall but I did not think of taking pictures or documenting anything as I was not enrolled in EYV yet. I regretted now as the work presented was inspiring. There was also a solo exhibition of the Dutch photographer Hellen Van Meene with a good number of beautiful and painterly portraits I really loved watching. Unfortunately, it finished four days ago, but I noted this here to do some further research in the future.


2 thoughts on “Retina Festival”

  1. Silvia,

    I am very grateful for this review. I’ve never imagined this photo could touch somebody else’s heart, but I certainly hoped that, by sharing the story behind it, the memory could live on.

    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a very touching image and so it is the story and the approach you took on the project. Thank you for sharing it! We certainly shouldn’t forget…
      Congratulations for the exhibition and a million thanks for taking the time to write a comment here 🙂




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