We look back on 2017 and the people, places, and projects that made it an interesting and diverse year in photography
Collaborations form a big part of some of the year’s most notable works. We have Rick Pushinsky teaming up with his dad, a keen amateur chef, to put together a collection of recipe cards inspired by the family’s Jewish heritage that are as satisfying and experiential on the eye as they are on the tummy.
Elsewhere we have the mischievous pairing of Erik Kessels and Thomas Mailaender who, with Photo Pleasure Palace, brought a tremendous sense of fun to this year’s Unseen Amsterdam photo fair. A fun fair-like atmosphere featuring installations like a Smash Gallery and a Toilet Obscura, this collaboration used a tongue-in-cheek playfulness and spontaneity to make one of our favourite photographic events of the year.
From photographic fun fairs to fashion shoots, the unlikely collaboration of conceptual photographer Barbara Probst and luxury fashion brand Marni really struck a chord. By encouraging the models in the brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 shoot to take their own photographs in a very active manner under her watchful eye, Probst sought to recalibrate the balance of power that so often skews the relationship of photographer/subject.
We also flag up photographer Tina Hillier, paint maker Anni Sloan, and Oxfam’s Ellie Farmer’s incredibly vibrant collaboration which showed Ethiopia in a lush, colourful new light. “Ethiopia has done a huge amount to combat the reputation of being a charity case,” says Hillier. “I was keen to present a different picture of Ethiopia, and excited to show a different visual narrative and create images that are positive and hopeful.”
Just as colourful is our cover feature on Tim Flach’s Endangered series with which he aims to awaken our conscience to the threat of species extinction. Through a collection of stunning photographs of at-risk species such as the polar bear, the crowned sifaka and the military macaw Flach’s storytelling is as troubling as it is engaging.
The slant of activism goes further still as Daniel Sannwald holds creative workshops for disadvantaged communities in Unu O Unu. Elsewhere, Anastasia Taylor-Lind captures portraits that act as a visual testimony to a HRW investigation into Rohingya massacres in Myanmar, and The Bodyguard Lane Album by Mumbai based collective, Bind, acts as a multimedia intervention against homelessness.
We look to one of 2017’s standout magazine covers too which came courtesy of Riposte. The image, produced by Riposte’s photography director Gem Fletcher and taken by New York-based photographer Shaniqwa Jarvis is of one Ericka Hart – an activist, sexuality educator, performer and self-described “cancer warrior” whose work includes challenging and shifting discriminatory attitudes toward queer black women and those who have experienced chronic illness.
“Mad scientist” Nico Krijno discusses how a relocation to an isolated farm in his native South Africa rejuvenated him to make more of his unique, abstract work away from the city. “I don’t like perfect images,” he says. “Error is important. The way I work is definitely a protest against the truthfulness of photography.”
From the personal turmoil documented in Edmund Clark’s In Place of Hate, an immersive study of life in Europe’s only “wholly therapeutic” prison, to the lingering effects of wider devastation seen in Matthias Ziegler’s photographs of Kathmandu’s youth in the wake of 2015’s earthquake, the spread of unconventional documentary styles observed this year is also noteworthy.
We speak to Irish photographer Ivor Prickett, a photographer tasked with reporting the fight against ISIS for The New York Times for the past year both visually and textually. His remarkable stories and photographs make for a harrowing education.
On to those bringing photographic practice to new practitioners and wider audiences across the globe, we cast our eyes toward Mali’s pioneering festival Rencontres de Bamako, China’s first publicly funded contemporary photography gallery, and to St Petersburg’s non-profit FotoDepartament, which is giving a platform to emerging Russian photographers.
In Any Answers we speak to Mathieu Asselin, one of our favourite newcomers of this year, and recent winner of the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation First Photobook prize. We also give a rundown on some of the year’s most intriguing cameras, lenses, lighting and accessories from the Leica M10 to the Nikon D850.
With more features including the likes of Tom Johnson, Torbjørn Rødland, Donald Weber, Benedict Redgrove, David Moore, Martin Parr, Latif Al Ani and April Gertler, as well as an honorary exhibition at Centre Pompidou dedicated to Steven Pippin, this is our tribute to a year that was photographically exhilarating, cool and noteworthy.