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Articles on this Page
- 01/21/13--09:25: _FORMAT 13 Portfolio...
- 02/06/13--08:02: _Le Mois de la Photo...
- 02/11/13--07:36: _Martin Stöbich
- 03/06/13--00:38: _1000 WORDS WORKSHOP...
- 03/14/13--10:45: _Darren Harvey-Regan
- 04/05/13--08:55: _Rinko Kawauchi
- 04/08/13--09:09: _Rena Effendi @Impre...
- 05/15/13--09:20: _1000 Words Photogra...
- 05/22/13--08:52: _Deutsche Börse Phot...
- 06/06/13--07:03: _Richard Mosse @ The...
- 06/10/13--04:25: _George Voulgaropoulos
- 06/20/13--07:53: _Krakow Photomonth F...
- 07/01/13--07:02: _David Moore: Pictur...
- 07/10/13--06:36: _Special book giveaw...
- 07/29/13--05:44: _Unseen Photo Fair 2013
- 07/29/13--07:30: _Wolfgang Tillmans @...
- 08/05/13--01:43: _Joan Fontcuberta Li...
- 08/19/13--03:56: _Archisle: The Jerse...
- 09/11/13--04:02: _Joachim Schmid: X M...
- 09/25/13--06:04: _1000 Words Photogra...
- 01/21/13--09:25: FORMAT 13 Portfolio Reviews
- 02/06/13--08:02: Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal
- 02/11/13--07:36: Martin Stöbich
- 03/14/13--10:45: Darren Harvey-Regan
- 04/05/13--08:55: Rinko Kawauchi
- 04/08/13--09:09: Rena Effendi @Impressions Gallery
- 05/15/13--09:20: 1000 Words Photography Magazine 15
- 05/22/13--08:52: Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013
- 06/06/13--07:03: Richard Mosse @ The Irish Pavillion, La Biennale di Venezia
- 06/10/13--04:25: George Voulgaropoulos
- 06/20/13--07:53: Krakow Photomonth Festival 2013
- 07/01/13--07:02: David Moore: Pictures From The Real World
- 07/10/13--06:36: Special book giveaway! Thomas Sauvin: Beijing Silvermine
- 07/29/13--05:44: Unseen Photo Fair 2013
- 07/29/13--07:30: Wolfgang Tillmans @Les Rencontres d'Arles, 2013
- 08/05/13--01:43: Joan Fontcuberta Live at Fotofestiwal 2013
- 08/19/13--03:56: Archisle: The Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme
- 09/11/13--04:02: Joachim Schmid: X Marks the Spot
- 09/25/13--06:04: 1000 Words Photography Magazine #16
Portfolio Reviews are selling like hot cakes so act fast, photographers, if you are planning to sign up for them.
1000 Words Editor in chief, Tim Clark, is just one of 45 professionals from the world of photography who will be conducting reviews. This is the most ambitious Portfolio Review FORMAT will ever have hosted and currently the biggest International Portfolio Review in the country with reviewers hailing from a total of 15 countries across the globe. They include Laura Noble, Erik Kessels, Markus Schaden, Peggy Sue Amison, Dewi Lewis and Sheyi Bankale to name but a few. Do not miss out on having your work reviewed by some of the biggest names working in photography. Places are limited, so book your place now to avoid disappointment! Great discounts and prizes also available for those who book.
The Portfolio Reviews are aimed at professional photographers with a developed and serious approach to their work. Recent graduates and non-professionals are welcome. Please contact Sebah Chaudhry at email@example.com for any queries.
This year, the FORMAT team has devised a new booking system so that reviews can be booked online. This system allows you to choose your own reviews and reviewers. It is a first come first served basis. You can view and select the slots you want.
It is advise you look through the reviewers and make a list of at least 10 that you would like to see, in the order you would like to see them so that you are prepared when you book.
Cost : £195 (No concessionary rates and no refunds).
-5 reviews, 20 minutes each between 9.30am – 3.45pm on Saturday 9 March 2013.
-A place in the ‘Portfolio Factory’ which will take place after the Reviews (approx 4.30pm – 6pm tbc). Photographers set up their work on a table and the Public, Reviewers and VIP Guests are invited to walk around, talk to you and view your work. The Portfolio Factory is not compulsory, but it is advised you do consider taking part.
FORMAT have also teamed up with numerous photography specialists around the world to offer these exclusive discounts for photographers who have booked:
-20% off all printing/mounting/framing at Genesis Imaging.
-Discount at Johnsons Photopia Ltd – Billingham bags and other items available (this list will be sent to you after you register)
-25% discount on all rental equipment at The Flash Centre in Birmingham and London stores. Other deals on lighting available on an individual basis, depending on requirements.
-30% off subscriptions to Ojodepez magazine.
Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal in Canada is seeking the guest curator and theme for the 14th edition of its international biennale of contemporary photography that will take place in September 2015. The organisation is soliciting brief, preliminary proposals (one page) from which a short list of candidates will be asked to submit more detailed dossiers.
Every two years since 1989, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal produces an innovative photographyevent that serves as a catalyst for artists, other specialists of the image and the general public. The festival promotes different tendencies in contemporary photography and creates international exchanges between photographers, the public at large, curators, the media and collectors. Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal works with museums, galleries, artist-led centres, universities, and a large group of other partners to present a stimulating event that, by virtue of a series of mostly solo exhibitions spread across the city, transforms Montréal into one immense coherent group exhibition organised around a single unifying concept or theme.
For information regarding the curators and themes of previous events, please consult their website. The submission guidelines are available to read here.
All images © Martin Stöbich
1000 Words is honoured to welcome Christian Patterson, author of the hugely successful photobook Redheaded Peckerwood, as the photographer to lead our first workshop in London, 20-24th May. This is a rare opportunity to learn from his experiences and mastery of process, narrative and the book form.
In a separate event, 1000 Words has also organised a free symposium with Patterson together with Tate’s Curator of Photography, Simon Baker; artist and collector, Brad Feuerhelm; and renowned gallerist Michael Hoppen also to be held in the capital, the details of which will be announced shortly.
Christian Patterson has achieved considerable critical acclaim for his second book Redheaded Peckerwood, now in its third print edition after having only been published in 2011. A contemporary classic, it has been hailed as one of the great photobooks in the tradition of Robert Frank’s The Americans, Michael Schmidt’s Waffenruhe and Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi. It is a beautifully edited and sequenced travelogue, tracing the footsteps of the infamous young couple Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate as they embarked on a killing spree across Nebraska to their point of capture in Douglas, Wyoming.
The book cleverly utilises different genres as well as vernacular photography and found documents to produce a story that traverses both fiction and fact, past and present, myth and reality.
Patterson worked with William Eggleston for three years and published his first monograph, Sound Effects in 2008. Redheaded Peckerwood, published by MACK, was nominated for the 2012 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards won the prestigious Les Rencontres d’Arles Author Book Award in the same year. He is exhibited and collected widely and is represented by the Rose Gallery in the USA and Robert Morat Gallery in Germany. For a full CV click here.
Darren Harvey-Regan’s work honours the timeless discussions of perception, photography, and the constructs of representation. It casually pulls the viewer in with an efficacy most slight and nuanced by traditions of still life imagery and modernist intent towards formula. Once absorbed in the parallax of image over that of the physical construct scattered amongst the works, his projects and exhibition as a whole takes shape. Questioning the elasticity of photography makes sense and with foreknowledge of analogue practice’s continued relevancy it is a well-crafted balance of ingenuity that coalesces the works within.
Brad Feuerhelm: Can you shed any insight into where you begin an idea? Is it looking at works by artists using photography at all?
Darren Harvey-Regan: There’s a sense I have that there’s three main ingredients: One is the subject - the initial object in the world. Two is the image - the photographic representation. And three is the material object of the photograph - be it framed, presented, etc.
And then an interplay or overlap or exchange continually going on with these things. Some pieces emphasise different aspects of those relationships but I think that’s the (shifting) sense of things.
BF: So your references start much like a photographer in a way, trying to visualise an object, then how to "capture it" and the perception of it before deciding how best to deal with the photograph’s mode of representation back in transitive value to the original object. I find this interesting. Generally when a photographer does this, the reference ends when print or frame is captured.....
DHR: I think there’s an interplay of that type of trajectory too. Sometimes the works such as More or Less Obvious Forms have directly started with a specific visualisation. Other times the installation has grown out of pre existing imagery of mine.
BF: Like the children’s educational book, as another example?
DHR: Yes, and with that one. The end point was both an object (the sculpture) as well as an image. The majority of images are certainly of created things, or adapted. In some cases these things have been fashioned after the idea of an image....
BF: I find the drained colour on the actual sculpture fascinating while compared to the photograph… but the object is present?
DHR: Yes, ok, so I think it’s fair to say that in all the work in this show, the objects are essentially themselves. Nothing is intended primarily as metaphor. A rock is presented here as a rock, the blocks are blocks. They don’t symbolise anything. That’s not to say they don’t make you think about things but they’re not represented as symbols or metaphors.
BF: Relational photography, in a formal sense of objecthood.
DHR: The work lies more in the process of translation and presentation and process itself.
BF: On that note.....Can you tell me why you chose not to display the tools for the Walker Evans referenced Fortune series…themselves?
DHR: Yes, same with the checkered pieces, (More or Less Obvious Forms) - I get asked a lot about this one. These were conceived to be photographs. There is nothing added in seeing the tools themselves, rather just an undermining of what is achieved in the photograph.…The photo provides the illusion of function here. The tools themselves are clearly just two halves stuck together and they don’t even join all the way due to their mismatched shapes. The photo recreated them.
BF: But you have the physical tools? They are physical not montages, etc…
DHR: Yes - I have them all. There’s a cool trajectory thing here where photography usually starts with something in the world and makes an image. Here I made collages from Evans’ images and then turned those into something in the world. I am saving them for that room of artefacts in my retrospective.
BF: Kunsthalle Harvey-Regan.
DHR: Exactly. I’ve had the original Fortune magazine in the show that just closed at Summaria Lund gallery.
BF: I love Ephemera!
DHR: Yes, it creates a nostalgia that is very present in the work. A lot of the pieces end up having connection to childhood interests and ideas.
BF: How fascinating! Your work is so clinical. So to add the elements of ephemera is bold. The age of the magazine against the cool patina of your palette is forceful, but not undermining in the least.
DHR: The drained colour could be read like that but, there’s an also an indirect emotional undercurrent or consequence I guess. The tools are printed and framed in quite a traditional manner on the other hand. Photography and Nostalgia, the loss of colour in adulthood, complexity of emotions and ideas set against the lost security of childhood.
BF: In your work, are the aesthetics of representation specific to the medium of photography or do these tendencies reside in other forms of display - the sculpture etc? Could you see yourself working without photography in the mix? Or is photography specifically our discipline in art?
DHR: I think it’s about the construction of meaning and perspective, the existing world compared to our interpretation/language of it. Photography is so ideally suited to reflect on this or traditional photography at least.
BF: Do you consider photography a language?
DHR: Yes, certainly. It has its own idioms and phrasings particular to it. The visual itself is the broader language.
BF: The camera its tongue…
DHR: Flash tonsils! It has that awkward relationship to the world, the reference/referent thing that is comparable to language itself. A tie between the world and the construct. I’m actually really interested in the possibility of a visual language, without recourse to symbol. Yes, maybe it could only be a purely subjective thing.
BF: Subjective, yet shared language?
In your piece The Halt you incorporate a large measure of violence with the use of a specific tool: the axe. There is an amount of violence that permeates the material use of photography, the breaking surface..Also the saw piece but, that is more clinical. The dead lizard under the rock as well. It’s interesting because the images are so tidy to the machinations of purity that seeing these distortions acts as a catalyst for abjection.
DHR: Yes, someone actually said that of the tools at a recent exhibition opening of mine then someone else directly disagreed! Maybe it’s my passive/aggressive tendencies.
Rinko Kawauchi, the renowned Japanese photographer, has her eyes on the past. Here, in this splendid video produced by Goliga, we gain insight into her project titled Approaching Whiteness. She combines the wisdom and poetry of her photography alongside the time-honoured tradition of the scroll format to explore new ways of photobook making. As the publisher Ivan Vartanian explains in the film, this means of presentation relates to Kawauchi's larger aesthetic interests: "We don't have individual moments or individual frames, rather we have a continuation of moments and a continuum of time." Click here to learn more about the project.
Opening on the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Liquid Land: Legacies of Oil and Power at Impressions Gallery reveals the struggles and resilience of people living in some of the world's most polluted areas in the former Soviet Union.
This is the first UK showing of this new exhibition by award-winning Azerbaijani photographer Rena Effendi, and brings together two related bodies of work made over the last ten years.Chernobyl: Still Life in the Zone is a moving portrait of the lives of elderly women in the Ukraine's notorious Zone, the restricted area around Reactor 4 which exploded on 26 April 1986. In the aftermath of nuclear catastrophe, these women returned to reclaim their homes from an inhospitable world where most of the food they produce still contains dangerous levels of radiation.
Liquid Land depicts communities and refugees of war living amongst the oil spills and industrial ruin of the petroleum-rich Absheron peninsula in Azerbaijan, near to the capital Baku where Effendi was born and grew up. These landscapes and portraits are paired with images that pay tribute to Effendi's late father, a dissident scientist and entomologist who devoted his life to studying and collecting butterflies in the Soviet Union. The only remaining visual evidence of his life's work is a collection of photographs of endangered butterflies for a manuscript he never published.
Taken as a whole, the exhibition transcends geographical borders to become a collective portrait of people who have survived isolation, devastating pollution and political chaos. Amidst decay, life goes on: families decorate their crumbling homes with peacock feathers; a boy plays his drum on a heap of construction waste; and iridescent butterflies wings shine in the fresh mountain air.
We are delighted to announce that issue 15 of our online magazine is now live. To view it, please go to: www.1000wordsmag.com
Fresh from its UK premier at Derby’s FORMAT International Photography Festival, we feature Thomas Sauvin’s Beijing Silvermine project – an extraordinary archive of found photographs that picture ‘ordinary’ people stepping out of the shadow of China’s Cultural Revolution – with an accompanying essay by Gordon Macdonald.
Francis Hodgson celebrates the lifetime of powerful work produced by maverick photographer Tom Wood, and offers opinion as to why his first ever UK retrospective, currently on display at The National Media Museum in Bradford, is long overdue; Debra Klomp Ching delves into the pages of Marten Lange’s Another Language to find a cryptic index of nature; and Peggy Sue Amison speaks to emerging photographer Daisuke Yokota about his experimental practice of multi-processing and re-photographing that attempts to capture ideas of how memory is affected by the passage of time.
Elsewhere, Bridget Coaker examines narrative, process and the book form in her review of Elementary Calculus by J Carrier - a series of publicly private moments of migrants and refugees in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; and finally, we rinse your eyes with vivid technocolour via a project entitled Sunday by Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker. Brad Feuerhelm, introducing the work, describes it as “a fountain of false nostalgias, an anachronism that results in a new kind of noir.”
In our dedicated Books section, David Moore considers what it means to return to and publish old work as he grapples with Alec Soth’s Looking for Love, 1996, Michael Grieve provides some orienting fragments of the back story for In Almost Every Picture 12, the latest publication by editor-extraordinaire Erik Kessels while Brad Feuerhelm shines the spotlight on Collected Shadows from the Archive of Modern Conflict.
All images © Richard Mosse
As the art world descended on Venice for the 55th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia last week for the opening extravaganza, one photographer in particular turned a lot of heads - or so my spies tell me.
Representing Ireland with The Enclave, a major new multi-media installation, Richard Mosse produced this project with his collaborators Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost. Travelling throughout 2012 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, infiltrating armed rebel groups in a war zone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres and systematic sexual violence, the resulting installation, The Enclave, is the culmination of Mosse’s attempt to rethink war photography. It is a search for more adequate strategies to represent a forgotten African tragedy in which, according to the International Rescue Committee, at least 5.4 million people have died of war-related causes in eastern Congo since 1998.
Reading from the press release, 'a long-standing power vacuum in eastern Congo has resulted in a horrifying cycle of violence, a Hobbesian ‘state of war’, so brutal and complex that it resists communication, and goes unseen in the global consciousness. Mosse brings a discontinued military surveillance film to this situation, representing an intangible conflict with a medium that registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, and was originally designed for camouflage detection. The resulting imagery, shot on 16mm infrared film by cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, renders the jungle war zone in a disorienting psychedelic palette. Ben Frost’s ambient audio composition, comprised entirely of recordings gathered in the field in eastern DRC, hovers bleakly over the unfolding tragedy.'
The Enclave immerses the viewer in a challenging and sinister world, exploring aesthetics in a situation of profound human suffering. In the words of Mosse himself, The Enclave is an attempt to fling “two counter-worlds into collision: art’s potential to represent narratives so painful that they exist beyond language, and photography’s capacity to document specific tragedies and communicate them to the world.”
Aperture Foundation is releasing a new 240 page monograph, with an essay by Jason Stearns, to coincide with the Biennale. Finally, here's a film from our friends at frieze which reveals the stories behind the making of the work and talks about the 'impossible image' that lies at the heart of his work. Bravo Richard!
All images © George Voulgaropoulos
"Voulgaropoulos, translated, means 'the son of a Bulgarian'," writes George Voulgaropoulos in his blurb that serves as an introduction to his project. "When Nikos Voulgaropoulos was killed in 1922, any knowledge of our ancestry was lost with him. This is my journey as I search for the origins of my family and our name, beginning in Bulgaria where I meet a Greek minority group called the Karakachani. Traditionally transhumant shepherds, the Karakachani have been forced to urbanise in recent years due to economic pressures. Travelling across Bulgaria, down along the Black Sea coast and overland into Turkey, my journey took me through Istanbul to Izmir. Here I discover the birthplace of my grandfather in Smyra (modern day Izmir), in the suburb of Halkapinar. This project reflects my experiences as a second generation Australian growing up in a Greek family, tracing my connections with a fading past. The photographs represent my journey through the familiar within the unfamiliar on a search for the origins of my culture and identity."
Oliver Whitehead of TENT pays a visit to Miesiac Fotografii w Krakowie on behalf of 1000 Words and discovers a bold and inventive edition of the festival that explores fashion from a myriad of perspectives while cementing its reputation as the 'Arles of the East'.
Krakow Photomonth is now in its eleventh edition, a feat which must be congratulated for any photography festival, especially one that appears to be somewhat 'off the map' of the traditional photography trail and also occurs yearly. Yet to focus too heavily on Photomonth's location as a negative point and the potential barriers faced would be a huge disservice to its innovative and engaging approach to programming, the thoughtful curation behind works on display and bold use of space.
Brought together under the umbrella theme of Fashion, Photomonth steps far beyond the study of its subject as superficial aesthetic often presented to us through mainstream media, and perpetuated via advertising and the industry that accommodates it. Instead, the impetus is to offer a probing investigation of fashion as language - an analysis of the cultural and social decisions and signs behind 'getting dressed', what it is to be human and the way we select and present our identities.
The major show is at Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, a striking example of Brutalist architecture in Poland. Curated by Pawel Szypulskijis entitled The Limits of Fashion, it can be seen as the flagship presentation, providing a vehicle for many of the ideas that are threaded throughout the festival. Given its size, The Limits of Fashion is divided into logical sections: Disguise, Disappearance, Uniform & Sign. Textual prompts are given from room to room such as: What does pretty mean? What is fashion? allowing viewers to be discursive in their thoughts and not just consumed with the imagery’s power of seduction.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise in this show is the work of Simon Menner, a project titled From a Disguise Seminar, comprising a collection of briefing photos for Stasi agents (the secret police of the German Democratic Republic which dissolved in 1990), giving examples of how to disguise one's identity, become a tourist, amateur photographer or policeman. Playful and somewhat Sherman-esque without context, the images pull back the curtain of how fashion has been used to subversively implement and sustain a controlling and repressive regime. Similar themes are explored in Jarocin Music Festival Seen Through the Lens of the SB (the Polish Security Service which also ran until 1990).
Another pick from The Limits of Fashion is a video piece named Elastic by artist Zbigniew Libera. An eccentric, revealing study of how we are branded by fashion through marks left by the elastic in our clothes, where Libera seems to spend most of the recording trying to convince his increasingly uncomfortable subjects to reveal some skin. Sarcastic responses by the artist, such as “well you're just an exceptional specimen of a human who wears trousers, and there is no trace of elastic” seem to over-ride the initial intention.
The most traditional example of work, dedicated to fashion photography's legacy can be found at the National Museum in a show titled Vanity. The work on display in this collection, despite its conventionality, lays down essential groundwork of classic photographs taken from Franz Christian Gundlach's twentieth century collection - showing artists including Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton and Erwin Blumenfeld.
In stark contrast to Vanity, and one of the more powerfully ethereal experiences to be had in Photomonth is the presentation of Nick Knight's SHOWstudio, a revolutionary online platform dedicated to new methods of showing moving fashion imagery that has grown since its launch in 2000 into a rich resource offering an insight into the entire creative process. Situated just outside of the Jewish Quarter in an abandoned school, currently about to begin a state of redefinition as luxury flats, the viewer is left alone to wander the dimly lit corridors, guided to video installations by sound echoing through the corridors. It is a truly sensory journey. The main feature is a looping archive of SHOWstudio films, projected on to the walls of a circular room in a multi-channel installation, bombarding the viewer with sound and vision from all angles.
Also noteworthy is an exhibition at the Galeria New Roman by Ukrainian duo, Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven who operate under the moniker of Synchrodogs. The gallery sits at the top of a housing block in the south side of the city, and is itself a flat ripped out and re-purposed as project space. This is proof that a vast quantity of money is not necessarily required to conceive an exhibition, and working within a tighter budget can sometimes produce something more invigorating and surprising. The work, which explores the intersection between man and nature is presented in the form of posters varying in size, pasted directly to the wall. The do-it-yourself ethic behind the gallery and exhibiting artists shines through and is executed to tremendous effect.
Amongst the Main Programme and ShowOFF is the Experimental Section, a platform dedicated to capturing audiences in a different manner from the rest of the festival. This year, the section assumes the form of a 200-page glossy magazine, MAY, which has been made in a print run of 4000 copies. MAY has called upon a medley of collaborators ranging from people who are deeply invested in Poland's fashion industry to artists, editors, journalists as well as photographers to comment and critique on the state of the medium.
Part of the motivation for making the trip was a genuine desire to find out how cities outside of what might be considered traditional centres for the visual arts establish an infrastructure, how and if they function differently to major cities and, most crucially, what ripple effects are felt by audiences and artists on local and international levels.
Clearly, the festival organisers’ The Foundation for Visual Arts, have struck a neat balance between establishing wide networks through exhibiting international artists, inviting curators and also nurturing Poland's artistic and curatorial talent, of which there is plainly great amounts. Expansion of the ShowOFF section (a platform dedicated to showing the work of young Polish practitioners) within the festival this year, and the addition of the inaugural Krakow Photo Fringe testify to the aforementioned 'ripple-effects' and powerful legacy that Photomonth has been busy developing.
Ahead of his book signing at Les Rencontres d’Arles (13:00 5 July, Le Bal bookshop stand, The CLUB), 1000 Words Deputy Editor Michael Grieve speaks to David Moore about his most recent publication Pictures From The Real World - a collaborative project between Here Press and Dewi Lewis - that focuses on families on a housing estate in the photographer’s home town of Derby, UK, made between 1987 and 1988.
Michael Grieve: Pictures from the Real World are photographs that were taken between 1987 and 1988. After all these years how did the book come to be published now?
David Moore: The collector, James Hyman bought many of the archive prints from 1988 in 2011. That resurrected the Project. It was almost 25 years, and it felt right. I had no idea that the work would be so popular as they are part of my own history and therefore have been ever present, for long periods away in boxes, and dormant, but nevertheless always around in my head.
I scanned old negatives, worked on an edit on the Mac and put together a PDF that I then transferred to Kindle on my iPhone. I was in Manchester judging a competition with Dewi [Lewis] and showed him and Caroline the work on the phone initially, and we went from there. The work was a collaboration between Dewi Lewis and Here Press in London, where I am based, and it seems that that arrangement worked very well and the book has been very well-received at all levels.
MG: During this time you were a student at Farnham and your tutors included Martin Parr and Paul Graham, innovators of the new colour documentary photography attitude in the UK. How did they help shape and inform your practice? Who else influenced your approach?
DM: I like the description of it as an ‘attitude’. Paul and Martin were around as tutors and obviously influenced what I did as did other students from that time and place that is already well documented. Of the two, Paul Graham was more of an influence in that I had managed to see a copy of A1 as soon as it he self-published it in 1983. I found it in the Derby College of HE library. This was pre- Farnham….. I started working in colour transparency soon after, alongside more conventional black and white work. This was very exciting, and a personal ‘discovery’.
MG: You must have been very aware of ‘stereotypical’ representations of the working classes. Social documentary photography had previously tended to depict the working classes with pride, as somehow heroic and stoic. They knew their place with a fixed identity. Or representations showed abject misery. Your images reveal a sense of fragmentation and uncertainty. How conscious were you of these differences and what decisions did you make to convey a form of representation that did not objectify and victimise?
DM: The original edit of the work was a little harder than the current one. In revising the work I have also been able to see other photographs that I was mature enough to make, but not confident enough to bring forward to an edit. This could have been for several reasons. There was a momentum at the time, particularly at Farnham, around the new color. It was very competitive as well, and sometimes subtleties were lost. The other aspect here is that whilst our ‘practice tutors’ included Martin Parr and Paul Graham, our ‘theory’ tutors were both graduates of Victor Burgin’s at PCL! And they came with an entirely different ideological agendas on the representational questions you are addressing, ideas that opposed and challenged the inherent modernism of ‘new colour’, forced mine and others’ practice through a Marxist grinder and made us aware of the power relations inherent in this sort of practice. For me this provided grist for what came later. Much of this I can see retrospectively, at the time it wasn’t an intellectualised space at all
The work was very much about the medium also. David Chandler refers to this in the fantastic essay he wrote for the book, I was trying things out, as an artist, being a bit wayward. I was conscious of the stereotypes but my intentions were to see how the medium could observe other things in the family dynamics, social relations not just what it looked like. I have never been interested in just what things look like, but of course, particularly now, with the exotica of recent history is what partially accounts for the works’ popularity.
But with Pictures From The Real World I feel that the work I am showing now, from then, has a real equilibrium to it. It is a blend of youthful energy and psychological projections alongside an editor calming things down in a benevolent and almost fatherly way. I have advised and reassured my younger self of some small ability at least, and that, in spite of the Foucaultian shadows, there was no malicious intent.
MG: To be a concerned photographer at this time was beginning to be perceived as condescending and naive. Ideological motivation was idealist, unrealistic and indulgent. Your photographs are certainly not sentimental. In a sense, they just show from a more subjective stance. But how do you reconcile this sense of being concerned, as obviously a prime motivation for this work is one of anger and injustice? Is it a frustration of not making a difference that is ingrained in Pictures From The Real World?
DM: Your agenda, not mine. You make assumptions because of the ‘subject matter’…. Why is that?
There are still many people working as ‘concerned photographers’ right up to the present day. You have to explain the context of this to a younger audience I feel. Tom Stoddart is a concerned photographer who, by his own admission, has to resort to negative stereotypes to raise money to emancipate those his practice visually objectifies as victims, because that’s how it Works. Your assumption here is that because these people were poor and they appeared in pictures they needed help. I find that condescending and naive!
Being ‘concerned’ wasn’t the main motivator at all, I found myself here because the estate was close to where I lived. I was walking around as one does (or one used to do) taking pictures and one day I thought to knock on doors and push it a bit. One of the other books I had just discovered was Larry Fink’s Social Graces and I loved his documentation of the blue collar Pennsylvanian family life in that.
I never saw the work as ‘concerned’ practice. Nor had any faith in photography to change anything societally, with a few exceptions of course. I hated The Tories and what they had done but there was no way I would intentionally use these people as metaphors for my political beliefs in this manner. Looking back its hard not to see anything else perhaps: the beginnings of the emergent underclass maybe but I didn’t think this at the time. It was all quite familiar to me, it became a normal.
MG: The decade of Thatcher was an increasingly complex one politically, economically and culturally for issues relating to identity and class division. Your work reveals a historical moment of displacement from working class to a new under class denied access to the labour market just as the consumer society began. In hindsight do you think your condensed story adequately signifies this juncture?
DM: I don’t see this as a ‘story’, that fits, oh so neatly, into an editorial context. There is no ending…. I am not trying to control a narrative, or offer anything that is significantly linear; that belittles what I was trying to do. I see it as a record of a particular time and place, of me then, and, though it might sound grandiose, of British documentary practice at a particular time. BUT, conversely, later I did offer it to the Sunday newspapers as I recognised then that one of the medium’s great strengths was its elasticity. But, at this time, in the end, nobody wanted to use the photographs in an editorial context.
MG: Children feature in many of your photographs. Why is this?
DM: There were always lots of kids around.
MG: The formal elements in your work edges on the dissonant. Wholeness gives way to the confusion of human form colliding with the domestic interior of patterned carpets and non-generic furniture. The photographs are direct and blunt, and you work well within your limitations of space. In the actuality of photographing how difficult was it for you to make visual sense while adhering to a 'freed up' aesthetic?
DM: Good question. A very good friend of mine, an illustrator, asked me about my composition and I honestly couldn’t answer. I never think about it. I just know when it balances. It is intuitive, working like this ‘at speed’ as David Chandler says seeking recognition… I honestly think I can remember actually taking every picture, actually standing there and pressing the button. To go too far into this sort of stuff leads you towards cul-de-sacs of the uncanny! But also as a colourist, the same applies. I can see in retrospect, clear plots emerging that I cannot remember thinking about at the time.
MG: How did the families react to your interest in them? Did you find that there was a sense of complicity or did you always feel like an ‘outsider on the inside’?
DM: I was always an outsider in reality. In the interests of rigorous exploration practice, I did work with some families on a series of staged works that were introduced by me, but collaborative. It made one or two successful photographs, but the ‘momentum’ I touched on earlier won out in terms of which work became public. But it was foreign space to me initially and whilst we all got on, there was only a partial social reconciliation between myself and the people I worked with.
MG: In the mid 80's the new colour documentary photographers started to move towards different, more conceptual ways of representations. How did you feel about this and after Pictures From The Real World did you follow this trend? If so, with what projects?
DM: My work developed in obverse ways. In my next project, The Velvet Arena, which was my first solo show in London at The Photographers’ Gallery in 1994, I continued the ideas of working in defined spaces, attempting to observe undercurrents of communication and dynamics of societal relationships in another foreign space of the private view and society party in London. It was a way of me being able to engage with the city and work in different spaces, with very different sorts of people. The work changed from here and developed into a more directly politicised practice, engagement and observation of The State via, my books The Commons, 2004, and The Last Things, 2008, and the series 28days (unpublished, but exhibited at The Bluecoat, Liverpool in 2011). It is not difficult to follow the thread from Pictures From The Real World to the later work; turning around the camera 180 degrees, observing physical centres of institutional power, rather than what might be seen as spectacular symptoms of the underclass in the other, there is an obvious connection.
MG: What do you think the legacy of Pictures from the Real World is? And as a counter point how do you understand and feel about contemporary documentary practice?
DM: On a personal level it’s made me want to photograph people again. Contemporary documentary practice is still an exciting place to be if photographers are willing to experiment with, rather than accept, realist paradigms, and work in challenging and appropriate ways that may borrow from fine art practice as equally as photographic histories.
In the last 15 years or so students have shied away from representing people, it has understood as a potentially problematic area and this has proliferated a conservatism, a sort of sedentary engagement, that challenges nothing and is easily commodifiable. This I find dull and lazy.
There is still more work to be done around representation, around issues being communicated, and in doing so space for the actual modernity of the medium to be challenged as well, i.e; the work can also progress what the medium can be, at the same time crucially maintaining links with history, culture and society, and that work might now be made with, rather than about people.
1000 Words attracted its highest levels of traffic during both May and June 2013) we are delighted to announce a very special giveaway, courtesy of the Archive of Modern Conflict.
Our cover artist from issue 15, Thomas Sauvin, has generously agreed to make one set of his five photo albums from the critically acclaimed Beijing Silvermine series available for the competition. Each album contains 20 prints, 11 x 7.7cm, and is published in a limited edition of 200 copies.
To enter, simply hit 'Like' on our Facebook post or use the RT function on the 1000 Words Twitter account. The winner will be selected at random and notified on 17 July.
It's retail price is currently set at £84.00 though this is sure to increase as the edition gradually approaches its last remaining few copies. Below is the blurb for the book:
The negatives were salvaged from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing, where they had been sent to be filtered for their silver nitrate content. Between 2009 and 2013, Thomas Sauvin amassed, archived and edited more than half a million negatives destined for destruction. The Silvermine albums offer a unique photographic portrait of the Chinese capital and the lives of its inhabitants covering a period of 20 years – from 1985, when silver film came into widespread use in China, to 2005 when digital photography came to the fore. In these souvenir snapshots taken by anonymous and ordinary Chinese people, we are witnessing the birth of post-socialist China.
Each album focuses on a different theme:
-Blue album: TVs and Fridges
-Green album: One and Two
-Orange album: Marilyn and Ronald
-Pink album: Party and Transvestites
-Yellow album: Leisure and Work
In anticipation of its second year, Unseen Photo Fair (26-29 September 2013) has announced a programme of talks and films. Expanding on the fair’s emphasis on undiscovered talent and trends, Unseen 2013 addresses 'the abundance of images in today’s world and how photography and photographers are coming to terms with an environment that is both new and unsettled.'
The programme features the launch of Foam Magazine's Talent Issue (featuring a contribution from our Editor-in-chief Tim Clark) which, in addition to the exhibition, will include a day of debates and talks including critic, curator and Conscientious founder and editor, Jörg Colberg; 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize nominee, Cristina de Middel; Foam Paul Huf Award winners, Onorato & Krebs and the 2013 Talents themselves.
Following that, experts such as The Sunday Times Magazine picture editor, Monica Allende; writer and researcher, David Campbell; professor and visual culture theorist, Nicholas Mirzoeff and entrepreneur and co-founder of wetransfer.com, Nalden, will discuss these issues, raising questions such as, 'How can we edit the world?' In addition, Dutch photographers such as Rob Hornstra, Jaap Scheeren, Ruth van Beek and Jan Hoek will present their latest work at the Unseen Theatre.
Unseen’s General Manager, Sasha Stone, summed up the ethos of the programme, saying:
"With photography at its core, Unseen encourages the exchange of ideas, dialogue and artistic expression. Visitors will immerse themselves in a word full of new experiences, adventures, and insights. Our programme highlights the integral role photography plays within all cultures and all areas of life. I am delighted that Unseen is presenting such a varied and forward-looking programme. We hope you will enjoy Unseen 2013.”
1000 Words certainly will. We hope to see you there!
All images © Wolfgang Tillmans
Following the yearly sojourn to Arles, 1000 Words Associate editor Brad Feuerhelm reports back from the 44th edition of the pioneering photography festival with his thoughts on the headline show: Neue Welt by Wolfgang Tillmans.
But that would be to overlook the qualities of this diaristic voyager of unnoticed contemporary sublimities - of photography, technology, and also of hyper-consumption.Tillmans work bristles with what Warhol Factory guru Gerard Malanga’s associated as explicit Scopophilia; the love of looking.
Clearly, the phenomenon of enforced sexuality and of the eroticised mundane is very much on display here in an exhibition that emits distinct flourishes of chromophilia. Sometimes, this is enmeshed in banal observations of car headlights, which Tillman’s enthusiastically photographs over and over. In other instances, one can replace the anxiety over the noirish branding (which exists in frame without any real reference to the make of car) to that of over-analytical paradoxes and modes of intellectual over-compensation. Thus, it becomes a tragic display of inept consumerism with a sexy commerciality, which culminates in an unnerving dead end to our insistence of rapidity and the sense of false desire photography so powerfully enables. The headlights themselves are also a crude metaphor for branded technological verisimilitude. Between the lens and the convex forms inherent in headlight design, we find a reflexive nod to the history of automobile and camera lens alike.
It is also worthy mentioning the fact that Tillmans’ exhibition is of epic size. This, combined with the grandiose scale of the prints, pitch congress with the eye near to the point of exhaustion, but somehow always manage to reel us back in. On this note, it should be observed that most of the exhibition is hung in a tighter line than is usually associated with Tillmans’ notoriously chaotic methods of display. The pleasure of the line is occasionally interrupted delicately throughout by varying print size, the first of which being the image of the fly resting on a lobster. With its mountains of pink, fleshy debris playing host to a breeding ground for further desires and maggots concurrently, it’s difficult not to read it as a nod to a hyper consuming society and the beautiful decay it produces.
The overall feeling is that of a nagging reminder of our communally myopic insight into the sublimity of our excessive existence. Neue Welt delivers a penchant for newly discovered dystopias and the revelations associated with decimated human endeavour, the white walls berating a tunnel vision of purity and respect for works which ultimately comment on the disease that our contemporary first world lifestyles need for product enforcement and so on. This is tantamount to the power of Tillmans, and his innate ability to observe, absorb and finally to reevaluate and redirect inward in an age of rampant consumption and derogatory practice of an ecological and metaphoric scale.
Typically, Tillman’s offers no answers, cares little for your reception, and is quite content to be self-involved with his internal vision and desires of display. That it is oblique or self-referential is immaterial when the work pays homage to the patterns of subjective understanding and human perception. A potential misunderstanding suggests a greater measure of the problems we are facing. We expect too much and reflect too little.
For those who couldn't make it to Łódź, the team behind Fotofestiwal 2013 has released this video featuring legendary photographer, writer and curator Joan Fontcuberta, in which he discusses the programme's main exhibition, I ARTIST: Transcendent Amateur. Fontcuberta also muses on the central questions that are crucial to the festival as a whole: Where do all the images on the Internet come from? Who creates them? What is the role of an artist-photographer in the modern world, and what is the role of an amateur photographer? Is there any difference between these two?
Archisle: The Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme, hosted by the Société Jersiaise (Jersey Society) in the British Channel Island of Jersey promotes contemporary photography through an ongoing programme of exhibitions, education and commissions. The Archisle project connects photographic archives, contemporary practice and experiences of island cultures and geographies through the development of a space for creative discourse between Jersey and international practitioners.
Archisle is currently inviting applications for the position of Photographer in Residence 2014. This is an exciting post in its second year commencing in March/April for a period of six calendar months through to August/September 2014. The residency provides the following key benefits and opportunities:
- £10,000 bursary for the commission/production of a body of work and solo exhibition
- Studio space with access to inkjet printing and office/internet resources
- Living accommodation and stipend
- Travel costs
A key focus of the Archisle project is to engage the residency programme with Jersey culture and community through audience and participatory involvement. In addition to the production and solo exhibition of new work responding to the cultural context of the island of Jersey, the resident will be contracted to teach photography one day per week (or equivalent) over the six month duration of the project. This teaching will be delivered in a workshop format to a range of educational and community groups. Applications are therefore encouraged from practitioners possessing the desire, enthusiasm and a proven ability to impart technical skills and develop critical understanding of contemporary photography across a diverse range of participants.
Applicants are requested to submit:
- Examples of recent work (min 10/max 20 images)
- Statement describing current practice
- Statement of objectives for the residency including an outline commission/exhibition proposal
- A current CV including details of past exhibitions/publications
- An estimate of travel costs to Jersey
Applications may be made by post or email to:
Archisle Photographer in Residence Programme 2014
7 Pier Road
Jersey, Channel Islands
For email applications total file size must be no larger than 5 MB.
Any enquiries/questions about the residency should be sent to the above email address.
CLOSING DATE: 10 September 2013.
Websites: www.archisle.org.je and www.societe-jersiaise.org
© Joachim Schmid
Joachim Schmid introduces his latest project, X Marks the Spot - a thought-provking meditation on a key moment in the US's history and the role photography and surveillance plays in memorialising it through the prism of digital culture.
A webcam is positioned in a window on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository, the site where, on November 22, 1963, an assassin allegedly fired the shots that killed Kennedy as the presidential motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza. The camera’s perspective exactly matches that of the assassin: it now shoots the tourists shooting their own memorial photos, and we can watch this in real time.
My new book X Marks the Spot combines snapshots taken by tourists at Dealey Plaza with footage from the webcam.
We are delighted to announce that issue 16 of our online magazine is now live. To view it, please go to: www.1000wordsmag.com
To kick off this Autumn edition we meet young, German photographer Sara-Lena Maeirhofer. Speaking here to Natasha Christia, she discusses Dear Clark, a Portrait of a Con Man, a fascinating project that uses photography to explore the possibilities of fiction in its narration of real-life imposter Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who called himself Clark Rockefeller, having developed an identity as a scion of the wealthy family.
Photography critic Gerry Badger reviews Lieko Shiga’s gloomy yet poetic photobook, SPIRAL COAST/album, shot in the Kitakama region of Japan, the area badly hit by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
Michael Grieve brings us an a essay on the latest photobook by British photographer Vanessa Winship, she dances on Jackson, records of her road trip across the US produced during a time of grieving.
Brad Feuerhelm takes a look at the recently released title from Morel Books, Still Lifes, Portraits & Parts by Daniel Gordon, imperfect paper constructions that spring from the fractures between photography, sculpture and painting.
James McArdle deconstructs the Photoworks publication, Memory of Fire: Images of War and The War of Images, edited by Julian Stallabrass, a timely assessment of the urgent issues relating to imaging war, the changing role of documentary photography and the enforced agenda of media networking that invariably invokes amnesia.
Swedish photographer Martin Bogren is profiled in our sixth and final feature, with a particular focus on Tractor Boys, which documents a strange ritual-mating dance wherein youngsters meet up in rural areas of Sweden to race their ‘tractorcars’, burning tyre marks into the asphalt. An essay accompanies the portfolio here from the legendary Christian Caujolle, republished with the kind permission of Dewi Lewis.
Over in our dedicated Books section, Sean Stoker leafs through Pedro Costa’s Casa de Lava, a scrapbook filled with ephemera following the Portuguese filmmaker’s trip to Cape Verde in 1992; Brad Feuerhelm gets vertigo as he stares down at Eric Stephanian’s devastating but beautiful Lucas, a self-published zine comprising one single photograph of the photographer’s son, taken on the only opportunity he was given to meet him; while Oliver Whitehead considers the more clinical but nonetheless intriguing new book from Clare Strand entitled Skirts.
As always, we are very grateful to the many photographers and writers involved in this magazine project and would like to express a special word of thanks to Sean Stoker for his editorial assistance.