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I managed to catch the excellent Format Festival in Derby last week, just before it closed. It has quietly become a major player over the years, representing the best British and international photography, displayed in a range of intriguing venues dotted around the city. I like picking up the brochure and using the map to navigate around town, a place that I only ever visit for the festival. This makeshift tour provides an insight into the place itself as I travel north, south, east and west, getting a bit lost, taking pictures as I go. Like all cities in Britain it has many sides, but I must say that this time it did seem to be wearing some of it's social problems more prominently than last time. Just like in my home town of Manchester there appears to be a growing population of homeless people and some quite visible class 'A' drug imbibing going on right in the centre. This was being nervously observed by perturbed looking office workers eating their sandwiches in the sunshine. These scenes contrasted quite acutely with all the political rhetoric spilling out of the television, radio and internet recently in the build up to the general election. In fact the country of prosperity that the Prime Minister had been describing smugly earlier in the day whilst I ate my breakfast seemed a very long way away, well however many miles it is to London anyway. 


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