Born in 1876 in the German mining town of Herdorf, August Sander discovered photography while working at a local slagheap. Serendipitously meeting a landscape photographer working there for a mining company, he went on to assist the image-maker, and by 1909 had opened his own studio in Cologne. Around this time he also started taking portraits of his fellow-Germans, deliberately eschewing the then-prevalent pictorialist approach in favour of recording as much detail as possible. “Nothing seemed to me more appropriate than to project an image of our time with absolute fidelity to nature by means of photography,” he stated. “Let me speak the truth in all honesty about our age and the people of our age.”
In 2016, Chloe Dewe Mathews was invited to do an artist’s residency at the Verbier 3-D Foundation in the Val de Bagnes, Switzerland. The chosen theme was the so-called ‘Year Without a Summer’ of 1816, which followed the eruption of Mount Tambora volcano in Indonesia. The eruption, which emitted a vast cloud of ash blocking sunlight across much of the world, caused temperatures to plummet, the dramatic weather changes leading to crop failure, starvation and mass migration. Two centuries later, while researching the area’s history, Dewe Mathews came across the story of a local disaster that happened because of these weather changes. Between 1816 and 1818 the Giétroz Glacier built up to form a great dam of ice, which then burst its banks and tore up the valley below, leaving a trail of destruction all the way to Lake Geneva. She went on to discover that Mary Shelley had also been in the area during that summer-less year, staying on the shores of Lake Geneva with her husband Percy Bysshe and fellow Romantic poets Lord …
Known for his offbeat experiments with printing processes, Thomas Mailaender is an artist constantly pushing the limits of the medium. He’s worked with found images for 10 years and, as a consequence, tells me that: “I don’t think of myself as a photographer.” Often sourcing images from the internet, but equally happy to raid car boot fairs, flea markets, and charity shops, Mailaender says he is interested in “reproducing images rather than making them myself”. He is, he says, “a compulsive collector of photographs”.
When it comes to exhibiting your photography, every aspect has a vital role in showing your work at its best; from the type of paper you print on, to the way you present the final images. Yet, although exhibitions are a great way of getting your work seen, they can be expensive to produce. In the interview that follows, David Lucken of Shoreditch-based print and framing service theprintspace outlines the key factors to consider when producing an exhibition. Established in 2007, theprintspace is a firm favourite among London-based creatives for its high quality art printing. As well as its expertise in printing, theprintspace hosts exhibitions in its east London gallery and recently showcased British Journal of Photography’s DJI Drone Photography Award. What are the best options for early-career and student photographers, who are often printing their work for exhibition on a budget? Even on a budget, you want good quality and value for money. C-Type printing is cheaper in price than Giclée printing but this does not mean lower quality; it is purely down to …
“Tish believed that photography was an important form of visual communication that could stimulate discussions about real life situations and captured accurate records of the world we live in. She was trying to force people to look at the truth and learn from it,” explains Ella Murtha, the daughter of the documentary photographer. In honour of her mother’s memory, Ella has put together a new photobook, Youth Unemployment, which gathers Tish Murtha’s work photographing poverty-ridden communities in Newcastle in the 70s and 80s. Raw, powerful and emotional, Murtha has captured youngsters trying to survive turbulent economic times, when they had limited prospects – something which has recently come full circle as a new generation has had to deal with the global financial crisis.
“It was before mobile phones, before the internet. It was the initial form of mass communication, a way you could chat to your friends for free. I remember lots of people in Suffolk got a CB radio and thought they were in the Dukes of Hazzard,” says David Titlow, whose latest photobook is a collection of portraits that bring together CB users and their Eyeball cards, their would-be business cards promoting their radio personality.
“It was also about reshaping that American icon: everyone thinks of the cowboy as this white American hero who has come to slay Native Americans. Actually the word cowboy is a racist term. It comes from when slave masters called all their slaves ‘boys’ and so the cow boy was the boy who looked after the cows and the horse boy was the boy who looked after the horses.” Cian Oba-Smith journeys to Philadelphia at a politically charged time during the 2016 U.S. election to meet with an infamous group of horsemen dealing with this ingrained racism on a daily basis.
“This year’s theme is Belonging,” says PhotoEast/Panos Pictures director Adrian Evans. “Brexit, Trump and the rising tide of nativism and nationalism inspired us to explore just what belonging means today from the role of family and community through to larger global concerns.” Initially, Evans set up the festival with his wife Jo after moving to rural Suffolk, in an attempt to “bring something of what we did in our daily working life to where we lived.” For the second festival they were keen to broaden the appeal and and accommodate different points of view. “You get bored of your own taste after a while and we love the FT Weekend Magazine and the way they use photography,” says Evans, “so we approached Emma Bowkett and Josh Lustig (director and deputy director of photography on the magazine) to curate a series of shows around this year’s theme.” In response, Bowkett and Lustig brought together over 30 photographers, including Mark Power, Matt Eich, Sian Davey, Giulietta Verdon-Roe and Julian Germain. “We are keen to investigate the theme of Belonging through …
“The stories that grabbed my attention were those created through unique personal approaches with a clear vision and a rich visual vocabulary,” says Noriko Hayashi, a Panos Pictures photographer who was a Joop Swart participant in 2015, and a judge for this year’s competition. Established in 1994, the Joop Swart Masterclass aims to reward the most talented emerging visual journalists and is designed to boost diversity in visual journalism and storytelling. This year 219 candidates from all over the world were nominated, and the 12 participants are: Mustafah Abdulaziz (US), Sharon Castellanos (Peru), Sabiha Cimen (Turkey), Samar Hazboun (Palestine), Alexandra Rose Howland (US), Katinka Hustad (Norway), Ksenia Kuleshova (Russia), Philip Montgomery (US), Léonard Pongo (Belgium), Ashfika Rahman (Bangladesh), Tasneem Alsultan (Saudi Arabia), and Cansu Yildiran (Turkey). There are also two runners-up, Alfredo Bosco (Italy) and Marie Hald (Denmark).
Centred around the theme of New Chic, the works on show at Riga Photomonth this May “are united by quests in the language of photography,” says curator Alnis Stakle. Raising questions about the materiality of photography, he continues, these projects also examine “individual and collective meanings and identities and the rituals of looking and showing off”. Inka and Niclas Lindergård are showing a series titled The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, for example, which addresses the materiality of the photograph and photography’s role in the stylisation of the landscape. Through manipulation and the use of colour flashlights “their works become an open portal to the hyperrealistic synthesis of beauty, kitsch and visual desire in the language of photography,” says Stakle, who is director of Multimedia Communication and Photography at Riga Stradins University, and a celebrated photographer in his own right (bjp-online featured his series Theory of R in March 2017).