Photography in Focus; ENTERTAINMENT 1 A Month-Long Festival of Photography Launches in Wales Next Week. Here David Drake, Director of Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography, Reveals What We Can Expect from the Major Showcase

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Byline: ARTS & CULTURE edited by Karen Price karen.price@mediawales.co.uk @karenmediawales

Three years ago, as director of Ffotogallery - the national development agency for photography - I was invited to present an exhibition of eight Welsh photographers at Fotosommer Stuttgart, a major festival in Germany.

It was then that the ideas for Diffusion were sown.

I wanted to reciprocate by inviting German artists to show work in Cardiff, which is twinned with Stuttgart. That got me thinking that Cardiff is in many ways the perfect city to host an international festival of photography. It is lively and creative, culturally rich and welcoming, combining an international outlook with a passionate local heart.

As well as existing venues, the city has some really interesting empty buildings with the potential to become temporary galleries.

When I shared my idea for an international photography festival in Cardiff, it seemed to strike a chord with artists and organisations across the city, in other parts of Wales and further afield. As a capital city, Cardiff offers a platform for the whole of Wales and beyond. Hence, projects initiated in Aberystwyth, Swansea and Newport will feature strongly in the programme, as well as those developed through international partnerships.

For the first Diffusion festival, I feel we have created an international standard programme that is diverse, inclusive and engaging, both outward facing and rooted in Welsh experience today. We asked artists, cultural producers, curators and programmers to address the question 'And Where Are We Now?' with their proposed contributions to Diffusion 2013.

People encounter photographic images daily not only in newspapers, magazines, on TV and in advertising, but also through online channels, mobile phone applications and social networking sites. The boundaries are increasingly blurred between artist and audience, amateur and professional. However, photography, perhaps the world's most democratic and visible medium, is a compelling vehicle to record contemporary life as lived, and to help us imagine a future orientated new European identity.

The work we have selected reflects various artist commissions and projects taking place in Wales, both international collaborations and the bringing together of homegrown talent. There are several big names - such as David Bailey, David Hurn, Philip Jones-Griffiths, Geoff Charles, Helen Sear, Jeremy Deller, Maurizio Anseri, Gideon Koppel and Tim Davies - but also a number of emergent artists who are receiving their first major exposure through the festival.

Festival highlights include the world premiere of award-winning filmmaker Gideon Koppel's Borth and Lure, a major exhibition of new work by Helen Sear, another of Wales' most important and insightful artists. …