- RSS Channel Showcase 2108079
- RSS Channel Showcase 8812746
- RSS Channel Showcase 6782530
- RSS Channel Showcase 8771766
Articles on this Page
- 09/25/13--06:04: _1000 Words Photogra...
- 09/30/13--07:22: _Happenstance Commis...
- 10/02/13--02:45: _Stephen Shore - Beh...
- 10/14/13--02:42: _Portfolio reviews a...
- 10/14/13--09:11: _Home Truths: Photog...
- 10/23/13--05:56: _Dayanita Singh, Go ...
- 11/04/13--09:33: _Daniel W. Coburn
- 11/11/13--00:36: _Special book giveaw...
- 11/18/13--08:34: _Osvaldo Sanviti
- 11/26/13--09:54: _Alberto Feijoo
- 12/19/13--00:15: _Special offer from ...
- 12/19/13--03:26: _Top photobooks of 2013
- 01/08/14--06:41: _Max Pinckers
- 01/16/14--05:34: _Tina Hillier
- 01/27/14--08:24: _1000 Words Photogra...
- 02/17/14--04:11: _FOAM Talent Call 2014
- 02/24/14--03:34: _The Advanced Photog...
- 03/13/14--08:42: _Kuba Dąbrowski @ Za...
- 03/26/14--08:30: _Maciej Pestka
- 04/03/14--08:46: _1000 Words Workshop...
- 04/24/14--03:01: _Portfolio reviews a...
- 05/28/14--04:26: _Sean O’Hagan: “If y...
- 07/28/14--06:10: _Rebecoming, The Oth...
- 09/29/14--03:49: _Archisle: The Jerse...
- 12/16/14--06:38: _1000 Words Photogra...
- 09/25/13--06:04: 1000 Words Photography Magazine #16
- 09/30/13--07:22: Happenstance Commission
- 10/02/13--02:45: Stephen Shore - Behind the Mythology
- 10/14/13--02:42: Portfolio reviews at The Photographers' Gallery, London
- 10/23/13--05:56: Dayanita Singh, Go Away Closer @ The Hayward Gallery, London
- 11/04/13--09:33: Daniel W. Coburn
- 11/11/13--00:36: Special book giveaway! Paul Salveson, Between The Shell
- 11/18/13--08:34: Osvaldo Sanviti
- 11/26/13--09:54: Alberto Feijoo
- 12/19/13--00:15: Special offer from Bitcasa!
- 12/19/13--03:26: Top photobooks of 2013
- 01/08/14--06:41: Max Pinckers
- 01/16/14--05:34: Tina Hillier
- 02/17/14--04:11: FOAM Talent Call 2014
- 03/13/14--08:42: Kuba Dąbrowski @ Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Poland
- 03/26/14--08:30: Maciej Pestka
- 04/03/14--08:46: 1000 Words Workshop with JH Engström in Marseille, 13-17 July 2014
- 09/29/14--03:49: Archisle: The Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme 2015
- 12/16/14--06:38: 1000 Words Photography Magazine #18
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.
Animate Projects and The Photographers’ Gallery, London have sent word of their call for proposals for an artist to make work for The Wall at the Photographers’ Gallery and online at Animate Projects.
Happenstance is a fantastic commissioning opportunity that brings together the UK’s leading organisations for two popular, related visual artforms – photography and animation. The historical relationship between photography and animation (Eadweard Muybridge) and the tensions between still and moving are now encoded into DSLR cameras (capable of higher frame rates than traditional DV cameras). In everyday life, screen technologies have already altered the ways in which the visual image is made present and play a significant role in mediating public life. These are some of the considerations that we hope to explore in contextualising the project and exploring ideas of digital production and spectatorship.
The Photographers’ Gallery was the first independent gallery in the UK devoted to photography and has been instrumental in establishing photography’s important role in culture and society. It is the UK’s primary venue for photography with a mission to support a varied and distinctive engagement with the artform.
Animate Projects champions experimental animation, supporting artists to experiment and take risks, and working across the contemporary visual arts, animation, film and design, and where those practices intersect. Animate Projects has pioneered the exhibition of artists’ moving image through online and digital platforms. animateprojects.org is a unique resource, presenting experimental animation and a wealth of related material, in a curated context.
Happenstance builds on the synergies between the two artforms and both organisations’ curiosities about how people interact with public screens and digital images. The Wall is a 2.7 x 3m video wall in the foyer of The Photographers’ Gallery, visible to everyone visiting the building and passing by. For the Gallery, The Wall forms part of a collaborative research programme exploring issues concerning the digital image, its dissemination and display on-screen.
A particular aspect of The Wall is its specific context within a photography gallery and we want the project to further critical debate around medium specificity, digital culture, and the relationship of photography to 'animation' in ‘on-screen’ contemporary visual culture.
The commission is open to UK-based artists working in photography and moving image. Our priority is to commission work that responds to the public and online contexts in which the work will be situated, and which explore photographic and animated moving image practice in inventive and interesting ways.
Please see below for technical information about The Wall. Advice, support and assistance will be provided to the commissioned artist.
The organisers also state that they are open to discussion as to what the online presentation of the project will comprise, eg a single channel version of the work, or a series of tests or other material. Online, the project will be presented on its own page (for example, here).
For exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery the work will be silent, but the online version can be silent or with sound.
£5,000 is being offered, to include all production, clearances and delivery costs and an artist’s fee. We will require commissioned artists to provide production materials (eg sketches, tests) and to undertake an interview for online, a digital image for a limited edition print, and to take part in a panel discussion.
They will contract the selected artist by the end of October 2013, and the completed work must be delivered by 17 December 2013. The work will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery from 17 January 2014 for approximately 10 weeks.
-a one page CV
-a short statement about your practice and a brief outline of your interest in, and approach to, the commission (not more than one side A4)
-a proposal (not more than one side A4)
-any additional visual material
-any links to previous work or information about your work
In your proposal, please tell us your idea, and give us a clear indication of work you’re proposing to make, including visual style and technique, and provide any key production information eg collaborators, other assistance, etc.
The deadline for submissions is 10.00 on Fri 11 October 2013.
Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that we may invite shortlisted artists to discuss their project on 21 October (in person or by Skype).
The selection will be made by Katrina Sluis (Curator, Digital Programme, The Photographers’ Gallery) and Gary Thomas (Director, Animate Projects).
People will be informed of the decision by 25 October 2013. Please note that the organisers are unable to offer feedback on unsuccessful proposals. If you have any questions please email email@example.com
It is a 2.7 x 3m video wall consisting of 2 x 4 rows of 60” Sharp PN-V602 LED, with the screens in portrait format mounted into an aperture so it is flush with the wall.
Each screen has a resolution of 1366 (h) x 768 (w) pixels.
The Wall in total is 2732 pixels (h) x 3072 pixels (w).
The screens have incredibly matte rich blacks and are high brightness so (with the correct settings) colour can become highly saturated and intense.
There is a possibility that subtle greyscale images will have more density and increased contrast, so please keep this in mind.
The backend is a single PC with a single video card with multiple outputs for the wall. The programming/control of exhibitions is via SCALA digital signage software.
We can accept video either as a single 2732 x 3072 file, or can accept multiple files which can be arranged across the entire 2732 x 3072 px canvas using SCALA.
Please note that The Wall has lines or bezels visible between the screens which one should be aware of (particularly with text).
"Sometimes an artist can have a greater sense of what they want in a more limited environment." So says Stephen Shore, a short documentary video by Heido Hartwig on whom we've decided to share here with you. In it he discusses how he came to photography, how he came to meet Andy Warhol and the importance of watching an artist make aesthetically based decisions at that stage in his life as well a glimpse at his new project shot in the Ukraine - highly charged photographers of Holocaust survivors and their surroundings.
a day of portfolio reviews at The Photographers' Gallery, London aimed at providing an opportunity for photographers and artists to receive advice from professionals who work in galleries and the magazine industry and are dedicated to contemporary photography. This is a rare opportunity to have your work looked at by editors and curators working in some of the top publications and spaces exhibiting photography in the UK.
Each photographer will receive two, twenty-minute back-to-back sessions, between 10.00 and 17.00, with one member of staff from The Photographers' Gallery and one external magazine editor.
A note for the organisers: The day is designed to support those wanting to develop their work for a magazine or exhibition context. We regret that we are unable to honour specific requests for reviewers or for specific times of day, and each individual may only book one place, which provides you with two reviews.
The reviewers are interested in seeing all types of photographic work, be it conventional or experimental.
The reviewers include:
Anne Bourgeois-Vignon, Creative Content Director, NOWNESS
Tim Clark, Director and Editor-in-Chief, 1000 Words Photography Magazine
Anna Dannemann, Exhibitions Assistant, The Photographers' Gallery
Eva Eicker, Exhibitions Assistant, The Photographers' Gallery
Clare Grafik, Head of Exhibitions, The Photographers' Gallery
Barry W. Hughes, Editor, SuperMassiveBlackHole
Karen McQuaid, Curator, The Photographers' Gallery
Poppy Shibamoto, Photography Director, MONOCLE
Anne Bourgeois-Vignon commissions photography and film projects for print and web, both editorially and in the context of branded collaborations. Currently the Creative Content Director of NOWNESS, previously she has held roles as the Picture Director of Forward Publishing (London) and the Cultural Director of the photographers' agency INSTITUTE (New York). Her freelance photo editing work includes working for TIME Magazine and CondeNast Paris. She writes about photography and is developing a curatorial practice.
Tim Clark is the editor-in-chief and director of the contemporary photography online magazine 1000 Words. His writings have appeared in The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, FOAM, Time Lightbox, The British Journal of Photography and Next Level amongst other publications as well as in exhibition catalogues. He also regularly organises workshops with high-profile photographers such as Antoine d’Agata, Anders Petersen, Erik Kessels, Roger Ballen and Jeffrey Silverthorne in various cities across the globe. He has judged a number of awards and competitions, and in 2011 joined the Academy of nominators for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. He has also been invited to review portfolios at The Saatchi Gallery, FORMAT International Photography Festival, Les Rencontres d’Arles, New York’s International Center of Photography Career Day and FotoFest Houston. Clark has previously held positions at galleries in both the public and private sector including Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.
Barry W. Hughes is a photographer, writer and publisher. His photography and video works have been published and exhibited internationally, including solo shows in Ireland, Germany and China. The founding editor/publisher of SuperMassiveBlackHole online photography magazine (SMBHmag), Hughes is a contributing writer to Hotshoe Magazine, and has curated exhibitions, reviewed portfolios and given talks for the likes of PhotoIreland Festival, Belfast Photo Festival, Belfast Exposed, Sirius Arts Centre and PhotoBook London.
Poppy Shibamoto is the Photography Director of Monocle magazine, the global publication founded in 2007 covering international affairs, business, culture, design, fashion and lifestyle.
Monocle believes in investing in quality journalism and generates original content, commissioning over 95% of its photography each month from photographers across the globe. Shibamoto commissions photography and produces shoots on a wide range of subjects: portraits, architecture, reportage, travel, still life and fashion. She is committed to working with photographers who are dedicated to story telling.
The Photographers' Gallery:
Anna Dannemann gained an MA in Art and Visual History at the Humboldt-University Berlin, and has worked on different exhibitions and publications including projects at The Museum of Everything;Green Cardamom, London; Martin-Gropius-Bau and KW, Berlin. Among other projects, she has organised the graduate showFreshFaced+WildEyed 2013 and is currently working on an exhibition of the photographic work of the acclaimed writer and cult figure William Burroughs.
Eva Eicker is a graduate of Ludwig-Maximilan University Munich, where she studied Cultural Anthropology and Goldsmiths College where she gained an MA in Photography and Urban Culture. She has worked on photography exhibitions and publications at C/O Berlin;Magnum Photos, London; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Hauser & Wirth, London and The Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
Clare Grafik has worked on solo exhibitions with artists and photographers including Keith Arnatt, Lise Sarfati, Antoine D'Agata, Katy Grannan, Zineb Sedira and Taryn Simon. Group shows include a vidéothèque with the Cinémathèque de Tanger, The Photographic Object and, most recently, Perspectives on Collage. She has written for various publications including IANN, Contemporary, Art on Paperand Art Monthly.
Karen McQuaid organised the talks and events programme from 2005 to 2008, and has worked on the exhibitions programme since 2008. Previous exhibitions include Vox Populi, London by Fiona Tan (2012); Open See by Jim Goldberg (2010) and an exhibition of studio work from the 50's and 60's by the Finnish photographer Claire Aho. Karen is currently working on an exhibition of the photographic work of the acclaimed writer and cult figure William Burroughs.
£75 for two reviews, booking essential. For more information click here.
The other pieces in the show include four artists whose work can be said to successfully articulate maternal subjectivity. Ana Casas Broda, whose extensive body of work, Kinderwunsch, is represented in a large overwhelming photographic grid comprising images in which Casas Broda figures, collaborating with her children to create scenes in which the maternal body is surrendered. Using lighting which clearly identify the images as constructed dramatic performances, Broda’s presence is put forward as passive and thus shaped, molded, decorated and in turn transformed through the children’s activity. It speaks volumes of the inevitable requirement of the mother to relinquish her self, in sacrifice for the children, as the only way in which a creative practice can be continued and maintained.
Elinor Carucci, known for her intimate and highly personal photographs, presents audiences with genuine family interactions staged for the camera to form a continuation of her practice of using family and private life as material for her art work from when she became pregnant and then a mother to twins in 2004. The works on show as part of Home Truth exhibition are a small selection of beautifully produced painterly prints that flirt with and challenge traditional maternal representations. Starting with a grotesque post-birth body, distorted, violated and bruised and following on with a photograph of Carucci in the bath with her struggling son trying to control and persuade him to bathe, the ideal of calm and serene motherhood is undermined. Using her signature spotlight aesthetic, which in the context of her ‘Mother’ series can also be thought to suggest the isolation experienced by mothers, through sleepless nights, with a crying child, in struggling with unreasonable behaviours (such as refusing to have a bath) Carucci’s maternal is made of extremes, tenderness, beauty and awe - coupled with a healthy and realistic helping of the abject.
Janine Antoni’s Inhabit, is presented as a large brightly coloured photograph, which also alludes to her performance taking place in her daughter’s bedroom. Evoking religious paintings, in which heavenly dwellers offer benevolent empathy to earthlings, and therefore suggesting links to the figure of the Madonna, Antoni’s mother does not float, but is instead harnessed and suspended by a web like structure in which her body is firmly held in balance, subjected to an identical pull from every direction. Surrounded by toys and children’s furniture, Antoni’s body is further encased in a fully furnished doll’s house within which a spider spins a web. In this condition, Antoni maintained the stillness required for the spider to successfully spin its web over a four-hour period. As such, the piece reflects on the emotional active passivity, an essential trait in mothering. Being a frame, a support, a scaffold, but without seeming too, enabling but pretending not to. Not so much ‘part of the furniture’ rather embedded in the very construction of the (doll’s) house.
Bringing together these and other works under the umbrella of ‘motherhood and identity’ is in itself an important milestone, part of a post-feminist paradigmatic shift, and credit must be given to the show’s curator, Susan Bright, and by natural extension, The Photographers’ Gallery. Making explicit what it means to walk through the threshold and become a mother, Home Truths can be said to form part of a global process of change and, in the process, joins the confluence of the many small movements forming and developing, challenging and drawing attention to themselves and joining up to form a maternal voice.
“Photographs on their own are just not enough. They come alive in a physical form and that form should be changeable,” reveals India’s most renowned photographic artist, Dayanita Singh in a new book Go Away Closer, which accompanies her first UK retrospective, currently on display at The Hayward Gallery. Singh is certainly no stranger to evolving the language of photography; in fact, her lengthy career reads as a habitual search for new ways of reading and presenting images, rendering the classic print on the wall practically archaic.
It all began with a love affair with the artist book. Singh was quick to reject the coffee table art book culture for more delicate, highly-collectible and, most importantly, accessible publications. Mass produced publications of hers such as House of Love (2011) and Sent a Letter (2008) - a box of mini photo diaries of her travels in India that open out to accordion folds, line the walls of two gallery spaces in the Hayward. In Singh’s world, book is as important as print - the copy has as much status as the original. Indeed, Sent a Letter sows the seed for self-contained, portable world for photographs, as if her entire career has been leading up to this point – her own photo museum.
Displayed in eight 7ft tall, dark wooden structures, called Museums, each cabinet refers to a theme including Chance, Embraces, Men, Furniture and Photography, inviting viewers to engage with the black and white prints contained within, that are each culled from different eras and focus on different subjects.
In these spaces, scenes of abandoned factories take on a life of their own, abstracted Bollywood film stills are bestowed with new meaning, crumbling Indian bureaucracies carry a more universal poignancy and surreal faces emerge from photographs only to be rephotographed. We see men at work, two prisoners passing the time, the Indian upper classes in their illustrious domestic spaces, all the while Singh is the transcendent entity that witnesses the before, the after and the in-between. She exists beyond the perpetual passing of time. She is there filing, organising and archiving memories birthed from her own inner fictions. Fleeting moments become archived, museum display merges with the secretive and Singh’s intuitive editing, sequencing and storytelling reveal an interconnected, unending narrative within these somewhat separatist and categorised structures. “This is what my work really is,” she says, “it’s the dream, it’s that time between waking and sleeping when things collide.”
The book, which is essentially a comprehensive documentation of each Museum, includes an essay from renowned writer Geoff Dyer. In one passage from the text, he ventures the following: “Singh treats her images like living entities in perpetual conversation and re-evaluation. The pictures are the time overlooking each other, glancing over each other’s shoulders.” In other words, hidden within each of the structures are images that lie dormant waiting to surface and it is wholly appropriate that as the exhibition runs, Singh will constantly rearrange their ordering.
Perhaps her interest lies in the museum’s ability to harbour these hidden worlds? Or perhaps she is trying to remind us that her photographs are in constant evolution, offering us messages if we so wish to find them? In one Museum, a young boy holds a book of the title ‘What is photography?’ and elsewhere the subtitle in a Bollywood film still reads, ‘Could you leave everything and start from zero again?’
As such, Singh states that her homes for her photographs offer her more creative freedom. “If no museum is interested in my work, I still have my own structures. I will always be able to find some museum that will be happy to have my structures or I can give them to a library.”
After their London sojourn, these travelling ‘memory banks’ will return to Vasant Vihar, New Delhi to be permanently installed, with a resident archivist to oversee them. They will be open to the public, somewhat ceremoniously, on the first and second full moon of each year.
Singh’s highly sophisticated preservation of the medium certainly speaks to the precarious identity of the photograph in our information age. Never a slave to categories, institutions, or the form of the image itself, Dayanita Singh seems to be forever edging towards a new world in which photography to reside.
Daniel W. Coburn lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas, US. Selections from his body of work have been featured in exhibitions at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, the Chelsea Museum of Art in New York and the International Festival of Photography in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Coburn's prints are held in many public and private collections including the University of New Mexico Art Museum, The Mulvane Museum of Art, The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, The Mariana Kistler-Beach Museum of Art and the Moraine Park Museum. Coburn received his BFA with an emphasis in photography from Washburn University where he was the recipient of numerous honours including the Charles and Margaret Pollak Award. He received his MFA with distinction from the University of New Mexico in 2013. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Photo Media at the University of Kansas.
Paul Salveson’s photographs were born in New York and Virginia between 2006 and 2011. Constructing images in domestic environments from items found in arm’s reach, the results are absurdist constructions in which commonplace objects are jocosely rendered in polychromatic puzzles.
Salveson describes his photographic process as "unfolding like a private performance in an empty house, or after everyone falls asleep... my engagement emerges from a perspective that precedes familiarity, disregarding the functions and cultural associations that objects are assigned. I try to process my surroundings with an alien mind."
Paul Salveson was educated at Bard College, New York (BFA Photography) and the University of Southern California (MFA thesis on toothbrush design). His work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, Swiss Institute, New York, and Actual Size, LA.
All images © Paul Salveson
© Osvaldo Sanviti
"In 2009 I was trying to start again with my long-term project of female portraits began in 1996 and stopped for about 3 years. One day I came across on the internet on one of these live sex chats: they are public live videos where girls try to bring in private registered visitors (members) to earn money. The first thing that struck me was, from a formal and pictorial point of view, the soft palette of colors of the video (even at the expense of quality). I was also intrigued by the loneliness of the subjects, in their rooms among neon lights and closed windows, when they are in a state of intimacy with themselves, almost as if they had forgotten to be visible to an audience. (...) What I like is the live dimension, of the life flowing, the strength of unplanned and unscripted situations; I love this feeling of waiting to meet the right subject in the right situation with the right light."
After completing photography studies at Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence, Italy, Sanviti started focusing his research on personal projects, "trying to establish a partial and personal world, in a more lyrical than documentary way". He has contributed commissioned works for several magazines and has exhibited in Italy and abroad in shows such as Tempi in scena: moments de la photographie contemporaine italienne (curated by Paul di Felice) in Galerie Nei Liicht, Dudelange, Luxembourg in 2001; Passaggio di testimone (curated by Filippo Maggia) in Venice, Italy in 2002; Backlight 02 in the 6th International Photographic Triennial, Tampere, Finland in 2002; and his 2007 solo exhibition at Galleria Nicola Ricci, Pietrasanta, Italy.
1000 Words Associate editor Brad Feuerhelm is gripped by Alberto Feijoo's self-published photo book, Something we used to know, a mash up of lost moments from music concerts running parallel to an examination of the photographer's own roots in Spain.
Alberto Feijoo’s Something we used to know is a quiet gem of a book, bent on the precipice of solitude wherein the divide of screen-based memory and empire of collated events from late 90’s to the early noughties collide.
Comprising pixellated, stepped, and glitched images of youth culture in wild throes, music concerts are revisited via DVD rips and images made from grabbing reconciled YouTube clips of the crowds at these events. All are awash in a sombre palette of colour hinting at the coppery smell of blood or an air of violence when wires get crossed at uncomfortable intervals. There’s a palpable sense of nostalgia too, but one slightly askew, as if forced into a colander and the remnants from the sieve are mashed into one idea of a memory of the time and place where scores of people shared a perception of an experience. Orphaned images, orphaned lives are appropriated for our collective familiarisation, and within this disequilibrium we conjure meta-memories fecund with what photography had previously presented us in material form.
Thinking ‘Was I there? I remember being there, but this face here in the crowd…its distortion…its dragged features…Could this have been me? It looks like me…I had that Nailbomb shirt’ and yet with a shaky hand I fondle the same shirt and I can attach no transference to it and the monster on the screen. This is the meme of self-given birth to the next meme of self, desperate for a “real” genetic disposition for the flesh that fingers its image from the console of the computer. Concrete matters dissolve into utopian super memory which collapses upon itself when applied to the representation we desperately seek through the locus of photographic image.
That said, the Spanish photographer's book is not all fodder for woe in terms of its content. There are very soft interludes of images that we can only presume are taken by Feijoo himself. Delicate still lifes in abject surroundings, such as oranges left to rot on discarded and soiled mattresses found in alleyways are interspersed with portraits - more lyrical fragments of friends, people collected, impressions even. They stand as sentimental bastions of memory for the author, his culture, the good life and currently his life under the economic collapse of his country. They represent the boom, the bust, and the lust for looking back to the golden days of untroubled youth.
There is almost a passive sublime in the work although it is achieved through the depiction of people as opposed to landscape - not a Friedrich-type sublime, but rather oracles of the personal divine found in the slow burn of change through descent. As such, this is a book full of disquiet. Yet the disquiet that is found here is asking more questions of our recent past, its interpretations and the way in which we will navigate our troubled futures.
Our friends at Bitcasa are offering 1000 Words readers a special discounted offer for those planning to keep on top of their digital storage needs going into 2014.
Apart from the die-hard masters of traditional SLR photography, many of us professionals now hold vast digital libraries of photographs on our desktops, laptops, external hard drives and basically any free space we can find. Not only is storage space an issue, but despite the best cataloguing and archiving efforts, keeping track of our work and having access to it when we need it is a major challenge.
That’s where Bitcasa comes in. Bitcasa is an easy to use, private and secure cloud storage platform that allows you to protect your digital belongings and make them more useful to you. You can access, share and stream any of your photography from any device, such as your laptop, tablet, Web or phone. You can also view your digital belongings offline by marking files as a “Favourite.”
It is even possible to view RAW images on the Bitcasa Web portal at my.bitcasa.com– the format of choice for many professional photographers. Supported RAW image types include 3fr, arw, cr2, crw, dcr, dng, erf, kdc, mef, mrw, nef, orf, pef, raf, sr2 and x3f. Porfolios of any size can be shared with clients via a Web link. This makes it easy for downloading and streaming of content if you are a Bitcasa user or not.
Bitcasa knows that as photographers we are responsible for protecting our client’s digital assets. This is why it offers unmatched privacy and security with its client-side encryption. Even if someone did enter Bitcasa’s system, they could never reconstruct the files to see what was stored inside — thus ensuring your privacy at all times. This means only YOU can have access to YOUR data – the way it should be. It is the Fort Knox for your digital belongings and definitely a lot safer than the collection of external hard drives that is typical for photographers.
In terms of pricing, the service is free for users storing up to 20GB worth of content and is £10 per month for one terabyte, enough space to store 200,000 photos. For the really storage hungry, five terabytes is available for £49 per month, or you can get infinite storage for £99 per month.
However, the great news is that Bitcasa is offering all 1000 Words Photography Magazine readers a discount of 20% for its monthly or annual Premium plan if you use discount voucher PHOTO20. The code expires on the 31 January 2014.
It’s that time of year to reflect, and with it comes a customary list of favourite photobooks selected by members of our Advisory Board here at 1000 Words Photography Magazine.
Lieko Shiga: SPIRAL COAST/album
There is a logic to Lieko Shiga’s photobook marvel SPIRAL COAST/album, but for now I want to remain as blissfully ignorant as possible. At this point in my relationship to this book I simply just want to look and become delirious for as long as possible. My favourite French surrealist writer, Georges Bataille, who I quote perhaps too often, once said something to the effect that it is the manner of expression that is more important than the content, that it the sensibility more than the intelligence in all its sensitive character that counts the most. Indeed. This book contains a bizarre yet respectable spirituality born from the disaster of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in an area of Japan that Shiga is from. But rather than pity, this book radiates an energy of reincarnation tainted with the sorrow of loss. It is a book that is at once beautiful by virtue of its wrongness.
Zhao Renhui: A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World
The Institute of Critical Zoologists
A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, maps this subject and more with an impressive set of plates collated from considerable research, documents and field notes. Charting the curious flora and fauna that have changed as a result of human habitation or scientific manipulation, the pseudo-scientific study offers an encyclopedic visual lexicon, from fish tomatoes, venomous cabbage and bioluminescent squirrels to square apples. Beautiful images of specimens in the field or still lives at the lab, together with a narrative history, make every page a pleasure to explore.
Emile Hyperion Dubuisson: FAR
FAR is a stunning first book from a new independent publisher, ADAD books, which debuts a deeply enigmatic series of photographs of life in the Yamal peninsula in Siberia. Dubuisson’s pictures were taken in the early 90s, but then damaged, lost and refound, so the published images offer an account not only of the incredibly bleak remoteness of the place depicted, but also the effects of the passage of time, evident in the scratches and scuffs on the surfaces of each image. The book is beautifully designed and sequenced, with a text (in both Russian and English) by Boris Mikhailov, reflecting on a series of photographs frozen in the eternal present.
Rinko Kawauchi: Ametsuchi
Ametsuchi - meaning heaven and hell in Japanese - arrived in 2013 courtesy of a near perfect photo trinity: Aperture, Rinko Kawauchi and Dutch designer Hans Gremmen, the result of which might be described as a work of photographic mysticism. It began fittingly with a dream. Seven years later Kawauchi was watching TV and, amazingly, spotted an identical image from that dream. This led her to southern Japan and, in turn, the annual and ancient practice of field burning. Ametsuchi is a remarkable meditation on transience, life cycles, and the human need for ritual. As I ploughed through 500 photo books at this year’s Les Rencontres d’Arles, the book stood out as a work of exceptional depth and ambition.
The term ‘mysticism’ comes from the Greek word ‘to conceal’. In a masterstroke of photobook design, each double page fittingly conceals hidden images, folded origami-style into the book’s spine.
Todd Hido: Excerpts from Silver Meadows
Fascinated by the idea that photography can be a vehicle for exploring the ‘architecture of his childhood’, Todd Hido once again sets out down the street that runs through his neighbourhood in Kent, Ohio where the artist grew up. Cinematic and highly-charged with a bitter-sweet intensity, Excerpts from Silver Meadows continues Hido’s trip from the innocence of childhood to the darker side of what prevails in his own adult universe.
Effortlessly blending portraits, interiors and brooding landscapes as well as appropriated images, it’s an intricate and complex tapestry that tells Hido’s own story while employing the power of suggestion to impressive effect. With lavish production values (the book is printed on matt Japanese paper with tipped-in images on the case binding), this oversized but elegant book marks Hido’s sixth monograph to date with the esteemed publisher, Nazraeli Press.
All images © Max Pinckers
As part of our call out for portfolios for issue 17 of 1000 Words, we recently received the work of Max Pinckers into our submission inbox, for which he has deservedly received a great deal of critical acclaim, in particular his series Fourth Wall.
The project, released as a self-published book (now sold-out), explores the impact of the Bollywood industry on the broader society in India and incorporates a curious blend of documentary photography with elements of fantasy and fiction, perfectly suited to his subject matter. Originally scouted on the streets of India as an extra in Bollywood, Pinckers returned to India during the final year of his MFA at the School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium, assuming the role of director by intervening in his surroundings, with the passers-by on the street responding to the camera and its operative, as Pinkers writes:
“A photograph of two men in uniform climbing over a fence, escaping. A re-enactment of a moment that just passed. They do it over again with great pride and pleasure. Later I read an article in the newspaper. Two men use sleep-inducing gas to rob a struggling actress in her home; the same gas used in a 1972 super hit film in which a cook robs his landlord. An image that I’ve been planning to make for some time comes to mind - a thick cloud of smoke in a bedroom film set. Two men in uniform sitting in a park. I photograph them. They pretend to have just woken up. On a Bombay rooftop I make a portrait of a Salman Khan look-alike. Another article tells me how a young girl loses herself in this big city in search of her idol, Salman Khan.”
Max Pinckers was born in 1988 and lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. His work has been published, amongst others, in Dear Dave Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, Monthly Photography Magazine, IMA Magazine, De Morgen Magazine as well as part of FOAM’s most recent Talent issue. He was announced as the winner of the 2013 Winner City of Levallois Photography Award, France and the book Fourth Wall was nominated for the Best Photo Book of the Year at the 6th International Fotobookfestival, Germany and a nominated as a finalist in the Paris Photo / Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2013. In short, a hugely promising young talent, and a definite name to remember. We look forward to seeing where he takes his practice next.
Every once in a while, there is a major news event that stops the whole world in its tracks with its impact. The passing of Nelson Mandela on 5 December 2013, aged 95, arrested the attention of every nation, with the images of the great man himself and the people he inspired being viewed and circulated globally. When work by Tina Hillier came in to the 1000 Words submissions inbox, it was interesting to see this photographer’s singular way of depicting the mass of people and lives South Africa’s 'Father of the Nation' had touched.
The project, entitled Mandela - The Last Goodbye, documents the funeral and memorial service but from an usual perspective. Hillier opts to focus on the feet of the hoards of visitors, all of whom are making their journey and waiting in line to pay their respects. The images are a cycle, with no clear beginning, middle or end, but a procession of struggle and freedom. Hillier’s statement on the work adds further insight to the pilgrimage made by so many people :
“Over three days, between Mandela’s memorial service and his funeral in Qunu, an estimated 100,000 people visited the Union Buildings in Pretoria to see his body lying in State. Many more people queued for hours but were turned away on the afternoon of the last day, 13 December, 2013. Some 2000 mourners passed his body each hour. The images in this series document the long lines of people waiting. Queues on that scale had not been seen since Mandela was voted in as President on election day in 1994. He was the first democratically elected President South Africa had ever seen. Almost twenty years on, after his death, South Africans came out in their thousands to pay their last respects to the man who set them free.”
Tina Hillier studied Photography at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth. She now lives in London, working on editorial, commercial and personal projects. She exhibits regularly in group shows and has twice been selected for The National Portrait Gallery, Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition in 2010 and 2011. Her work has been included in many magazines and publications including the Saturday Telegraph Magazine, Monocle, Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian and Dazed & Confused.
It is hard to believe that 2014 marks the fifth year of publishing 1000 Words. Yet, we still remain as passionate and committed to the mission of exploring the limits and possibilities of photography, and to stimulating debate around the medium’s myriad of current practices and discourses as ever.
It therefore gives us great pleasure to announce the launch of issue 17, our first release of the new calendar. To view it, please go to www.1000wordsmag.com
FOAM have announced their annual talent call, which gives entrants the chance to have their work published in the prestigious Foam Magazine and be exhibited in Amsterdam during Unseen Photo Fair. The Foam Talent Call is a springboard into the photography industry, giving young photographers international recognition and acclaim. Previous Foam Talents include Ina Jang, Alex Prager, Jessica Eaton, Shane Lavalette, Sam Falls, Pieter Hugo, and Mayumi Hosokura, as well as 1000 Words featured artists, Taryn Simon, Daniel Gordon, Daisuke Yokota, Melinda Gibson and Esther Teichmann.
Entrants must be between 18-35 years old and the entrance fee is 35 euros. 15 selected talents will receive an eight page portfolio showcasing their series along with an interview by an esteemed writer. The competition is open for entries until the 12 March via their website or through their Facebook page. Click here to apply or watch the video preview below for more information.
Columbia University School of the Arts have announced its Advanced Photography Intensive, which aims to engages students in all elements of photographic practice and the development of a portfolio. A combination of technical tutorials, individual meetings with internationally renowned artists and art professionals (Thomas Roma, John Pilson, Elinor Carucci, Michael Spano, Susan Kismaric and Vince Aletti), as well as a series of seminars and group critiques, provide students with the tools they need to advance professionally and further develop the core elements of their practice.
The Advanced Photography Intensive creates an exceptional workshop environment where students have 24-hour access to traditional and digital facilities, coupled with daily hands-on assistance from experienced faculty and staff, culminating in a group exhibition at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery. Students are expected to produce work independently throughout the six-week term and fully dedicate their time and efforts to the course.
The course is designed for several distinct types of students: exceptional undergraduates passionate about photography, college graduates preparing to apply for MFA programmes, experienced photographers looking to gain knowledge of the photographic tradition and its advanced techniques, and seasoned artists and teachers wishing to rigorously develop their practice through a critical dialogue with faculty and other students.
For more information on the features of the course, and how to gain admission click here.
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Poland.
Kuba Dąbrowski’s exhibition titled A Drama Feature Film of Polish Production is a vibrant attempt to create well-structured visual correspondence based on artist’s long and fruitful escapade with photography. Entering the gallery we are faced with a chaotic, yet pleasurable space filled to capacity with a vast number of snapshots and portraits from Dąbrowski’s past.
And while it seems choreographically careless what becomes vital is his ability to effortlessly translate the spirit of experienced situations and events. The viewer does not see anything that is beyond traditional representation but at the same time he becomes hypnotised by on-going dialogue arranged by the artist. We do not see any seeds of revolution in the way he operates the camera - it is rather very conscious and stimulating evolutionary journey through life. Dąbrowski’s work can be described as simply capturing visual coincidences, which happened to occur within his sight. A major facet of Dąbrowski’s practice is the engagement of our memory and collective experience. The sense of superficiality is reduced before the artist presses the shutter, which generates a strong feeling of familiarity in relation to every single depicted situation. By acknowledging that fact we are able to strengthen the relationship with presented images and address ourselves as participants in that particular conversation. Dąbrowski simply changes our positions as viewers: from being a passive audience we’re starting to actively contribute to the story. All the photographs with their synthesis of subjective and objective planes, of past and present articles, of dual and individual creative vision, become an poetic invitation into which new space is created for any individual, who is willing to look. What we see depends on what we look for.
Brad Feuerhelm rubs shoulders with Maciej Pestka’s self-published photobook The Life of Psy and gets a glimpse into a hilarious case of mistaken identity.
Maciej Pestka’s The Life of Psy is a brilliant navigation between the borders of fame, photography, and the complexities of credence sought through images. During Barcelona Fashion Week in 2013, Korean-born, French-raised Dennis Carre attended a whole host of parties and events in which people throughout the fashion and beauty industry wrongly identified him as K-Pop singer, Psy of ‘Gangnam Dance’ fame. Quick to capitalise on the doppelganger syndrome he represented, Carre’s appearance takes on a surreal façade as he tangos and kisses his way through a bevy of fashion mavens at various parties, where his image or rather the image of an international superstar administer Carre attention to acts of debauchery and trickery.
Maciej Pestka’s photographs themselves are event-type images where the rules of composition and pictorial photographic systems are reduced to a pop-and-flash candid mimicry much en vogue in fashion circles at present. But the point is not really about the quality of the photograph itself, but that of the embrace of spectacle and fame. Clever not to present Carre’s audience as too vacuous or vain, the photographs become a totem of celebration and “I was there” type of infamy. Brilliantly paced throughout the book are shots of Carre at work, partying and living up someone else’s life. Added ephemeral documents such as ‘cease and desist’ letters from Psy’s management add further umpf to the joke and bestow added value to the book as spoof and document of the existential trauma of where belief and need reside.
1000 Words is delighted to announce a workshop with internationally renowned Swedish photographer, JH Engström. The workshop will take place between 13-17 July 2014 in the port city of Marseille, immediately after the opening week of Les Rencontres d’Arles.
Marseille is France’s second largest city. Located on the southern coast, it is a wonderfully exciting and vibrant metropolis alive with a heady mix of cultures, nightlife and Mediterranean verve. During 2013 it served as the European City of Culture. An extremely visual and diverse locale, it is the perfect environment for creative exploration.
1000 Words Deputy Editor, Michael Grieve, catches up with JH Engström ahead of the workshop for a quick discussion about one of a number of his recently released photo books,Sketch of Paris, published by Aperture Foundation. Enjoy, and see you the other side of Arles in Marseille!
Michael Grieve: Your new book Sketch of Paris is part of a fine photographic, literary and filmic lineage of representation of that city from Brassai, Henry Miller, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Christer Stromholm, Robert Frank, to name but a few. How do you regard your work in this history?
JH Engström: These names have inspired me and influenced me. Then it’s later now, it’s another era. All those people have done their job. I’m still working.
MG: Why is the book a ‘sketch of Paris’? Why a sketch?
JHE: Because a sketch is the only way I could in any way represent Paris with photographs… Paris is really ungraspable to me… Also a sketch is unfinished. It’s a first tryout. I like tryouts and unfinished expressions. The attempts... A sketch is also something that is linked to spontaneity, which I also like.
MG: The photographs in Sketch of Paris are very grounded. We never look up and it is devoid of sentiment. You appear to be consumed in it. Do you think the book is a portrait of you or of Paris?
JHE: It’s both I think. But of course very much a portrait of me, of me in Paris. And yes I am totally consumed by Paris. I could of course have that feeling of being consumed anywhere on this planet, because of the dry fact that I exist. But in Paris that feeling often hits me very strongly. Sometimes I wish it was less like that.
MG: Is your work honest?
JHE: I hope so. I want it to be.
MG: Your work generally deals with spontaneity, chance encounters, and you seem to be guided by your unconscious. What do you think it is in your early life experience that has steered you to work in this way?
JHE: That is of course impossible to answer. I believe a lot in things that cannot be explained. I believe in having the courage to stay in the ungraspable.
MG: You once said to me that what is more interesting about the work of Nan Goldin is not so much the diaristic aspect but more how she inadvertently documents her time. We can observe fashion, décor; In this regard your work this same form of documentation?
JHE: It’s not only the question of time that’s so strong with her work of course. It’s also her fantastic way of making photographs that talk about deeply existential, human issues. To me her work is quite painful and talks a lot about our mortality.
MG: So far your photography represents lived experience from your own experience. Love, loss, joy, melancholy, uncertainty, hope and the banal constantly permeate throughout your oeuvre. What is the need to share this to an audience?
JHE: I have of course asked my self that. I don’t know to be honest. I have a necessity to do it. Maybe it’s simply a way to deal with things you mention in your question.
MG: Many contemporary photographers and artists seem to want to produce conceptualised projects. What do you think about this?
JHE: I think all photography is conceptual per definition. Therefore conceptual photography can not be defined as different from the rest of photography. But I think maybe some artists tend to lean very much on the concept.
MG: To what extent should contemporary photography practice be aware of itself, by that I mean, should it have a critical awareness contained within itself? Does your work have a critical awareness of itself and if so how?
JHE: I don’t really like to talk about what photography “should” or “should not”. Or what art “should” or “should not”.
MG: What does the aesthetic of a photograph mean to you? Is the meaning of a photograph contained within the aesthetic more perhaps than the subject/object depicted. Is it about expression rather than content?
JHE: It’s impossible to separate the two.
MG: You speak often of the emotional aspect of photographs, that your spontaneous attitude is brought about by an unconscious rather than conscious decision-making process. Do you regard a photograph of a street as equal in relevance to a sexual act or a portrait?
JHE: Yes, if you talk about “equal” in some kind of hierarchal way of thinking.
MG: I am often reminded by your work with someone like Bob Dylan, in the sense that your work is introspective, and it is both real and romantic. Therefore it collides to reveal a fundamental uncertainty. Is it fair to say that work is really about the space and tension in between the beautiful and the ugly?
JHE: You could say that it deals with tensions and the dynamics being created in those tensions.
MG: Your photographs tend to work on the level of the senses, by which we can almost taste the dust in the atmosphere, and the stale smell of bars. Is your sensory perception heightened as a result of your photography?
JHE: I don’t know if it’s heightened. But I know my sensory perception is high. And as I touched in an earlier question I would maybe sometimes like that it was a little less active…
MG: Considering your work is eclectic and on the verge of chaos how do you keep control. I imagine you take control at the editing stage? How do you edit and then sequence? Is the association between images made at this point?
JHE: I don’t think it is control, maybe more an illusion of control. And that is as you say very much done at the editing stage. My process of editing is strongly based on intuition. Once something is finished, like printed in a book, the cards has been laid out on the table and then you cant take them back.
MG: Given the increasingly sterile nature of contemporary what do you feel is the future of the more subjective approach and really what is your definition of ‘subjective’ photography?
JHE: I think there will always be an interest for the subjective approach. The subjective photography is a method among others. And in that method the photographer uses very much of him/her self as a starting point and tool.
MG: How has your relationship to Paris changed over the years?
JHE: I’m still amazed by the city. Maybe I go to bed a little earlier now a days but it is sure that it is a lifelong love story.
All images © JH Engström, from the series Sketch of Paris.
Ian Willms, from the series The Road to Nowhere, 2012-13. Winner of the 2013 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award.
Just a heads up to our readers in Canada. On Sunday 4 and Monday 5 May, our Editor in Chief Tim Clark will be participating alongside a whole host of curators and directors, publishers and photo editors who have been brought together for two days during Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto, Canada to do reviews for established and emerging artists, with a focus on documentary, photojournalism or photo-based art practices.
This is an important event for artists with projects at advanced stages of development who are seeking opportunities for publishing and exhibiting nationally or internationally- as well as looking for guidance on conceptual approaches or career development advice.
2014 Reviewers include:
Mauro Bedoni Photo Editor, Colors, Milan
Matthew Brower Lecturer in Museum Studies, University of Toronto
Laurence Butet-Roch Photo Editor, Polka, Paris
Johan Hallberg-Campbell International Board of Editors, Photo Raw, Helsinki
Federica Chiocchetti Independent Curator and Founder, Photocaptionist, London
Tim Clark Editor-in-Chief and Director, 1000 Words, London
Stacey McCarroll Cutshaw Editor, Exposure, Los Angeles
James Estrin Senior Staff Photographer, New York Times, New York
Kristen Gresh Assistant Curator of Photographs, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Cheryl Newman Photography Director, The Telegraph Magazine, London
Bonnie Rubenstein Artistic Director, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Toronto
Jonathan Shaughnessy Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Stefano Stoll Director, Images Festival, Vevey
Amber Terranova Freelance Senior Photo Editor, The New Yorker, New York
Shelbie Vermette Director of Photography, The Grid, Toronto
Fu Xiaodong Independent Curator, Beijing
Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award
One artist will be awarded with a solo exhibition presented at the CONTACT Gallery in January 2015. The award includes a $1000 credit at Vistek, and a $2500 credit at Toronto Image Works. Chosen by a jury of international professionals in the field of photography, this award recognises outstanding work presented at the Portfolio Reviews. The programme was created to support and advance the careers of talented emerging photographers.
Portfolio Night & Cocktail Reception
Monday 5 May, 7pm
Artists and photographers are given the opportunity to share their work in an open forum with reviewers and invited local professionals.
Stories and Pictures
Tuesday 6 May, 5pm
Join James Estrin from the New York Times and Cheryl Newman from the Telegraph for an evening of lively discussions about identity and documentary today. The evening will also include a Q&A with members of the Boreal Collective moderated by Shelbie Vermette, Director of Photography, The Grid.
Stay for the afterparty with the band Das Piumas.
Presented with the Boreal Collective.
The Review Days take place at The Gladstone Hotel and the cost is $200 for 4 reviews. For those interested in attending, there may still be slots available. Please check with the organisers at Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival here.
Federica Chiocchetti: Could you tell us a little bit about your background prior to your post as photography critic at The Guardian?
Photography was always there in the background as a fascination of mine and several interviews I did for The Observer Review section with the likes of Robert Frank, William Eggleston,Stephen Shore, and Anders Petersen prompted me to start writing about it more. That was about 10 years ago, when there seemed to be an absence of writing on photography in the ‘serious’ papers. It was usually left to the art critic or whoever else was available to review a big exhibition or book. It was not taken seriously as an art form – still isn’t, but to a lesser degree – compared to, say, theatre or film or dance. So, I was very much on a mission to help put that right. It just grew from there and I was offered a regular online forum by The Guardian a few years ago, which became On Photography.
My formative inspirations were non-fiction writers like Joan Didion, in particular her first two collections of essays, The White Album and Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I like Truman Capote’s essays as well, much more than his fiction. And Gay Talese’s classic collection, Frank Sinatra Has A Cold, which has just been published as a Penguin Classics. On the more contemporary front, I’d recommend John Jeremiah Sullivan’s collection, Pulphead: Notes from the Other Side of America, which is a very personal take on music, politics and culture. As far as photography writing goes, it always amazes me how many great photographers are also great writers - Diane Arbus, Robert Adams, Danny Lyon. And Eggleston’s short illuminating afterword from The Democratic Foreststill resounds. We ALL need to be more at war with the obvious right now!
SH: Increasingly, it discovers me. Strange, but true. It’s the power of the internet again. People know where to find you!
I try to stay alert to what people I trust are enthusing about. I read photography mags, blogs, websites – at least the more interesting ones. There is an awful lot of new work out there and I have to be ultra-selective just because of space and the requirements of the job so I see all these other outlets as a kind of filter. And, of course, people send me stuff - books, pdfs, ongoing projects. It’s kind of relentless and so is the demand for an instant response. I worry about that a bit as I tend towards the reflective. I think we should all slow down... and breath. Let things settle. The quick response is journalistic, of course, but it is not necessarily critical. And opinions are not enough. That’s where we live right now, though. I wish there was a slow journalism movement. I really do.
FC: Do you read/appreciate photography theory?
SH: It depends. Good writing is good writing, whatever. But, when I read bad theoretical writing – dense theoretical jargonese – the old punk in me agrees with Nan Goldin, who said recently: “Fucking postmodern and gender theory. I mean, who gives a shit? People made all that crap up to get jobs in universities.” I think it kills the work for people who are not from that academic background. That kind of writing is exclusive by its nature. It often makes things less clear.
That said, I am familiar with theoretical writing. I did an English degree at a time when post-structuralism and semiotics were like time bombs exploding in the academy. I still return to Barthes and Foucault from time to time. I love Barthes when he is at his most personal and Camera Lucida is a very personal meditation on photography and memory and mourning.
I worry about the teaching of photography in colleges and the emphasis on theory. You see degree shows and MA shows where students present half-digested theory and really dull photographs. I think the ascendency of the curator is a cause for concern as well. They sometimes seem more important than the artists, which is something Brian Eno predicted when I saw him gave a lecture at the beginning of the nineties. I like this essay by Paul Graham, which touches on some concerns of mine. I don’t think it helps to exclude people – or images – from the ongoing debate about the meaning of photography. Theory can be a way of entering and decoding a work but, too often, it seems to me like an end in itself. It’s still valid to walk out into the world with a camera and simply take photographs, though there is, of course, nothing simple about doing that well. I often detect a kind of implicit disdain for that approach from curators and academics.
FC: What is the harshest criticism that you received in your career as a photography critic for The Guardian?
SH: Where to begin? You have to become thick-skinned pretty quickly if you venture online. There was a post recently suggesting that a ‘proper’ art critic should have reviewed Lorna Simpson’s show at BALTIC - “she deserves to be reviewed in a context and by a reviewer commensurate with her status!” - which I took personally for about five minutes until I realised the next post had demolished the inherent snobbery of that remark pretty succinctly. I received a fair amount of flak as well as support for my views on The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize a few years ago, when I suggested it was biased towards art photography at the expense of other genres, but that comes with the turf. I guess if you don’t annoy some of the people some of the time, you’re not doing your job properly.
FC: Which British photographers do you feel have been underemphasised by UK photographic institutions?
SH: Oh dear, where to begin? Chris Killip had a major retrospective in Essen, not that long ago, but has not had one here. That is mystifying to me. In fact that whole generation of great British documentarists get short shrift from British institutions. I can only put that down to curatorial bias. If not, what else explains it? I think people in the photography community were relieved when Tony Ray-Jones was finally given a show last year (at Media Space.) Likewise Tom Wood at The Photographers’ Gallery. I know Paul Graham had a big show at The Whitechapel a few years back, but why not at the Tate or the Hayward? It just seems odd at this stage of the game.
FC: What trends do you find interesting at present?
SH: Found photography continues to fascinate people in and out of the photography community – Thomas Sauvin’s Beijing Silvermine project looks like the last word but probably isn’t. I get sent a lot of diaristic work, which is probably the biggest trend. Says a lot about where we live. A lot of it seems solipsistic and has none of the heft of, say, Nan Goldin’s work.
I’ll be glad to see the back of (too) big prints, which everyone seemed to be doing for a moment there, whether the work required it or not. And, please, no more Google Street View projects! I think photographers do tend to get apocalyptic about the post-digital deluge – Instagram etc. – and the sheer numbers can be scary, but most people don’t even see that stuff. For me it’s just another moment in the continuum. I read somewhere that, in the sixties, over half of all households in America had a Polaroid or Instamatic camera, but I don’t think Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand were running around in a panic thinking, “It’s all over for us – everyone’s taking photographs!”
What it does to looking or processing images is another thing, though. We’re all living though a huge social experiment that it is hard to gauge the real meaning of. I’m a bit more concerned with what texting, tweeting and the rest is doing to literacy. Kids’ brains are definitely being rewired. Where will it lead? Who knows?
FC: Do you think that prizes and awards are a good thing?
SH: Yes and no. It’s good to be acknowledged, but there are too many prizes now. And they can tend to be a lottery of sorts. I looked at this year’s Deutsche Börse shortlist and thought, What?! Where’s Viviane Sassen, for example? But, that’s the nature of prizes: it’s four people’s opinions usually – and two of them are curators. I tend to take them with a pinch of salt - unless I’m up for one!
FC: Could you tell us a photobook and an exhibition from the past that blew your mind?
SH: The past is a big country. How about the very recent past? The Robert Adams retrospective at Jeu de Paume in Paris recently was just so impressive - a life in a body of work. I spent ages in there. He’s a living master. At the other extreme, someone who is relatively new. I walked into Tereza Zelenkova’s small show, The Absence of Myth, at Legion TV, a small gallery in Hackney last year and was blown away by the work and the way it was laid out - texts and multiple black and white prints in large frames. She’s a young photographer, but there is something very thoughtful as well as day dreamily melancholic about her approach to the gothic and uncanny. She’s fascinated by Georges Bataille and manages to get something of his aura into the words and pictures. She has her own way of seeing things. That’s what I’ m looking out for.
In terms of historical shows, Eggleston’s Ancient and Modern at The Barbican in 1992 was a game-changer for me. It presented a new way of seeing: the ordinary made luminous, the world as we know it, but slightly skewed.
And photo books...Off the top of my head: Love on the Left Bank by Ed van der Elsken was perhaps the first photobook that made me see the potential of photography to create a staged, semi-fictional, but somehow utterly real, visual narrative. It still amazes me that it was first published in 1957. So far ahead of the game. I also remember coming across Ray’s A Laugh by Richard Billingham in a bookshop in the mid-nineties and being really confused and excited by it. It had a similar impact on me as a great punk or hip-hop record would once have had – that feeling that you were encountering something new and so viscerally powerful that you were not quite sure what to do with it.
I had a similar reaction to Lieko Shiga’s Rasen Kaigan. What’s going on in these pages!? Still not sure, but it’s pretty powerful. And, recently, this photobook arrived though my letterbox and it’s pretty damn exciting, too: Shanxi by Zhang Xaio, published by Little Big Man.
1000 Words is delighted to announce a group exhibition featuring the four winners of the inaugural 1000 Words Award at Flowers Gallery, London this September.
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 2015. This is an exciting post in its third year commencing in April running for six months through to September 2015. The residency provides the following key benefits and opportunities:
- £10,000 award 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
For further background on the ArchisleResidency see: www.archisle.org.je
Applications may be made by post or email to:
Archisle Photographer in Residence Programme 2015
7 Pier Road
Jersey, Channel Islands
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: 15 October 2014
Finally, we send a dispatch from The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, United States on the occasion of Duane Michals’ huge retrospective exhibition, Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals. Aaron Schuman provides a stirring essay, questioning how the artist has influenced contemporary practice in reference to the current fashion for art-and photo-historical referencing, appropriation, and photomontage, as represented by emerging photographers such as Matt Lipps, Brendan Fowler, and Anna Ostoya. His analysis also takes in the lessons to be found in Michals’ work, from the distinct power of photographic sequencing, soul-searching, sincerity, and storytelling as evinced by leading practitioners such as Alec Soth, Paul Graham and others.