Bristol Photo Festival is an international biennial of contemporary photography. 

We organise a programme of exhibitions, talks and workshops, bringing together leading photographic voices from across the world. Alongside this work, we develop long-term projects in collaboration with local communities. There is no hierarchy between our engagement and exhibition programmes – both are treated with the same care, rigour and level resource. 

As an organisation, we believe in the power of photography as a tool to experience the world anew. Our mission is to present nuanced and unexpected stories that foster greater understanding of shared pasts, presents and futures. Our work is internationally-focussed yet locally grounded, built from the urgencies of our city and its inhabitants. As a platform, we support artists to experiment, creating work that breaks with convention, exploring the possibilities of photography as a political tool today. 

Our first edition (2021) drew 200,000 visitors, with 18 exhibitions staged across the city’s museums, galleries and independent spaces. The second edition of the festival, entitled The World A Wave, will launch in October 2024. 

The second edition of Bristol Photo Festival will be managed and produced by IC Visual Lab (ICVL), an independent visual arts organisation based in Bristol (UK).

team & board

Alejandro Acín
Festival Director 

Alejandro is founder-director of IC Visual Lab (ICVL), an independent photography platform recently appointed to lead the second edition of Bristol Photo Festival. With ICVL, Alejandro has produced curatorial & publishing projects with Bristol Museums & Archives, Arnolfini Gallery, Eastside Projects, Format Festival Derby, Getxophoto international festival & Photo Kathmandu, with support from Arts Council England, Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund & the British Council. Beyond ICVL, he has a track record of managing and activating historic archives, including Historical Photographs of China 1850-1950 (University of Bristol), the Martin Parr Foundation library, The Nepal Picture Library and the British Empire & Commonwealth Collection. He is also an Associate Lecturer on the MA Photography programme at the University of South Wales.

Ben GJ Thomas
Director of Engagement & Development

Ben joined IC Visual Lab in 2022 as co-director. Prior to this he was curator at gentle/radical (2021-2023), producing their 2021 Turner Prize exhibition; and Engagement Curator at Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol (2014-2019). In a freelance capacity, he has produced large-scale collaborative arts projects for organisations including Amnesty International, Save the Children and the Refugee Council. Alongside working for IC Visual Lab, he is an Associate Lecturer in Visual Culture at the University of the West of England.

Safia Belhaj

Safia Belhaj is a graphic design graduate from the University of the West of England, based in Bristol, UK. Having grown up in – and a citizen of – multiple countries, her work is inspired by culture and identity. Her versatility across multiple mediums, although she has a passion for print, means she is able to work on a variety of different projects. Her latest collection of work revolves around exploring how to keep culture alive and reviving her own dying culture. A storyteller at heart, she uses this skill to help others tell their own stories.

Eleanor Macnair
Press Manager

Eleanor Macnair is Freelance Press & Communications consultant with over 10 years of experience. She currently works with a variety of organizations including GOST Books, Martin Parr Foundation, RRB Photo Books, VOID. Past clients include Huxley Parlour Gallery, Photworks, Bristol Photo Festival, Magnum Photos, Amana Salto, Atlas Gallery, Crane Kalman Gallery Brighton, FORMAT Festival 2017, Phaidon Press, and WaterAid. She also run the Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh project published by MacdonaldStrand and Photomonitor in 2014, exhibited at Atlas Gallery, Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs, Wiesbaden, Germany, Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles and National Portrait Gallery, London.

board members

Marine Merindol

Based in Paris, Marine is Chief Operating Officer of Magnum Photos. She has previously held multiple roles at Magnum, including Global Director (Strategy & Operations) and Partnerships Director bringing experience from previous roles at David Kohn Architects and M Creative Culture.

Photo: Karl Ritchie

Wendy Leocque

Wendy is a photographic artist and facilitator based in Bristol, with a strong commitment to socially engaged practice and education. In 2022 she produced The Pioneers, a long-term project and accompanying book, recognising Bristol’s Windrush generation. 

Negar Elodie Behzadi

Negar is a feminist political geographer whose long-term research focuses on issues of resource extraction, work, migration, gender and religion, in both Europe and Central Asia. Her work often involves documentary film, visual and embodied approaches. She is currently a Lecturer in the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol.

Rudi Thoemmes

Rudi is a Bristol-based book publisher, with over 40 years experience working with rare and antiquarian books. In 2015 he founded RRB Photobooks, publishing titles by photographers including Jem Southam, James Barnor and Jo Spence.

Audrey Hoareau

Audrey directs the CRP/Centre régional de la photographie in Douchy-les-Mines, France. Prior to this appointment, she was artistic director of both Circulation(s) Festival (Paris) and Photo Basel. 

Martin Parr

Martin is a photographer, best known for his oblique, often satirical, approach to social documentary, with a particular focus on social class in Britain, as well as the excesses of the West more broadly. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1994, and has published over 40 solo photo books.


Interim Project (2023) – Dreamlines: Picturing Bristol High Streets

First Edition (2021/2022) – WWW / PDF

Website designed by ICVL Studio and developed by City Edition Studio.