Beat talks to Jessica Hogg who’s bringing PhotoMarathon, a nine hour open access photography competition, to Melbourne. When Hogg moved here from the UK, it was obvious to her that the event was perfect for Melbourne – so she decided to make it happen.

“I was involved in the event twice back in UK," says Hogg. “PhotoMarathon seemed like something that Melbourne ought to have. Something what would work here among the creative inhabitants of this city. The concept fits in really well. People are always taking photographs of the graffiti, the train stations, and the laneways.” 
It has taken Hogg about six months to pull it all together after deciding to go ahead. “I had the seed in my mind. I got in touch with the UK organisers. They were very relaxed about me doing it in Melbourne. They told me they weren’t a legal entity – it was just a concept – so I could go ahead and do it. It isn’t a trademarked name. They gave me a big vote of confidence.”
PhotoMarathon has been around for a while, says Hogg. “It started in Denmark, in Copenhagen, in 1989. There have been events all over Europe and in Canada. It’s been a global phenomenon.”
Entrants to the PhotoMarathon are given three secret topics, followed by three hours to take three photos. You go back to HQ a second time for three more topics, do the same thing and then come back for the final three topics, finishing up with a nine page portfolio which comprises your entry. It's a fun creative race relevant for people of all skills and ages.
"We are encouraging everybody to enter," says Hogg. "We have reduced entrance rates for the under eighteens, so it’s a level playing field. They get the same topic as all the competitors. You get to see everyone’s creative thought processes and their individual interpretations of the topics. People can run wild with their imaginations throughout the nine images. There are lots of opportunities. Because you have only nine hours in total there is a limited space in which to do the work so the competitors are under pressure. They need to get their creative plans in place very quickly. It’s very important that the images are taken in the order that the topics are given in."
Not only is PhotoMarathon open access, everyone’s nine photos are exhibited at Magnet Gallery at 640 Bourke St. “We want as many people to come to the exhibition as possible – it will be wonderful,” Hogg says. “This event really highlights the diversity of creative interpretation – seeing what people can do with the same topic. They each have different ideas. It doesn’t matter if you’re not too great a photographer; it’s all part of the fun."
Hogg says she’s looking forward to receiving feedback about PhotoMarathon and wants to make it an annual event in Melbourne. “I would like to build it and put a unique Melbourne stamp on it, tailor the concept to make it more of what people in Melbourne would like. I’m really excited about it. I’ve got a good feeling about.”

PHOTOMARATHON MELBOURNE will take place in the CBD on Saturday April 30.