COLWYN Bay is to become a massive outdoor art gallery as part of a brand new photo festival.

The town is partnering with Aberystwyth to host the inaugural Northern Eye International Photography Festival, with a host of speakers from the world of photography, including the past and present picture editors of the Guardian and Observer newspapers.

The festival, which starts on October 9, will also raise funds for the Grenfell Tower Appeal, as it marks the first public showing of the work of photographer Brian David Stevens.

He has taken photos of the block of flats every day since June 15, when the building burst into flames, claiming more than 80 lives and leaving many more residents badly injured. Visitors to the exhibition of his work will be asked for donations to the appeal for funds to help victims.

Dozens of Colwyn Bay shops have also signed up to exhibit images by photographers from around the globe on the theme of legend - linked to the Welsh Government’s 2017 Year of Legend.

Their work will be blown up to A3 size for the two-week exhibition - at the end they will be entered into a photo swap, which will see them paired with another photographer at random to enable them to develop an ongoing working partnership.

Amateur and professional photographers have until Monday September 25 to submit work for the Legend Print Swap photo trail.

The festival is organised by photographer Paul Sampson, curator of Oriel Colwyn.

He said: “We have partnered with Aberystwyth Eye Festival, which is held every other year. This year it is a fallow year for them, so we are stepping in with this event, which is why it’s called the Northern Eye International Photography Festival.

“It has also given us access to some major names in the profession, such as Eamonn McCabe, the previous picture editor of the Guardian and Observer, who has won every top photo award.

“Eamonn and his successor at the Guardian, Bridget Coaker, will be speaking at a two-day conference at Theatr Colwyn on October 14-15, which is a paid-for event. Tickets for this event are being snapped up by people from all around the UK and we are expecting a lot of interest.

“Other speakers are Roger Tiley from Swansea, who photographed striking miners during the 1980s and has gone back to re-photograph them 30 years on; Environmental Photographer of the Year Jonathan Goldberg from London whose work addresses issues around sustainable living, such as the Transition Towns movement; and Amanda Jackson from Malvern in Worcestershire, whose series To Build A Home depicts life at the Lammas Eco Village in Pembrokeshire.

“There will also be a chance for ticket-holders to book a slot with a speaker and have their work critiqued - a very rare chance to get such professional advice and guidance.”

The festival is being supported by the Bay of Colwyn Town Council and Colwyn Business Improvement District (BID).

For more information about the festival which runs from October 9-21, including how to buy tickets for the speakers on October 14/15, visit