Author: Diane Smyth

Unseen Amsterdam is back 22-24 September

For three days this week, from 22 to 24 September, the Dutch capital will host the sixth edition of Unseen Amsterdam. With an extensive and exclusive programme, the event prides itself on incubating and exhibiting photography from both established and emerging artists. This year is no different: the old gasworks factory, the Westergasfabriek will host more than 53 international galleries with new additions from Mexico and Lebanon, showing over 160 artists and about 80 ‘premieres’ – brand-new work that will make its debut at the fair, featuring projects by Todd Hido, Gregory Halpern, Peggy Franck and Ricardo Cases. Founded in 2012, the event has always been keen to embrace elements and experiments beyond its primary identity as a fair. This year the Unseen Photo Fair & Festival has become Unseen Amsterdam, drawing together the fair, book market, speakers programme, onsite projects and exhibitions, talent awards, city programme, magazine and website under one umbrella. This change is a move to becoming a multi-faceted photography platform that will function throughout the year with smaller events abroad. A …

2017-09-20T12:52:21+00:00

Disaster strikes in John Kasmin’s postcard collection

“Before photographically-illustrated magazines or newspapers, before television and Facebook networks existed, in the first decade or so of the twentieth century, picture postcards were sent by the hundreds of millions worldwide,” writes John Kasmin, introducing his series of five photobooks on postcards published today. Kasmin is an art dealer who most notably works with 20th century abstract painters, but he’s also an avid collector of early postcards. First popularised in the late 19th century, postcards were an early way to send “images of peoples, places and events to inform and entertain the recipients”, and their use peaked in the early 20th century as printing costs reduced. Some of the subjects may surprise contemporary viewers, and the five volumes of Kasmin’s photobook series are divided by unexpected theme – Elders collects postcards detailing the older generation around the world; Scrub focuses on washing rituals in various societies; Meat is a bloody volume showcasing slaughterhouses and the butchers who worked there; Size shows people of all shapes and sizes going about their lives. The fifth volume, Wreck, shows intriguing, sometimes tragic, …

2017-09-20T10:08:10+00:00

Joana Choumali and Musa Nxumalo among the stars of the 11th Rencontres de Bamako

Titled Afrotopia, the headline show of the 11th Rencontres de Bamako features work from 40 photographers and collectives, drawn from all over the continent and from the African diaspora abroad. Shown at the National Museum of Mali, the exhibition was drawn from over 300 applications by a jury of photography insiders including Rencontres de Bamako artistic director Marie-Ann Yemsi, photographer Sammy Baloji and curator Azu Nwagbogu. It will be on show from 02 December-31 January 2018, after which the exhibition will travel to The Netherlands.

2017-09-18T13:28:04+00:00

Martin Parr’s Foundation opens to the public

Martin Parr has found a permanent home for the foundation he set up in 2014, giving visitors access to his archive and to his formidable collection. “I’ve been very lucky,” he told BJP’s Gemma Padley. “I have secured a very good living from doing this, and so the foundation is a great way to feed some of that back into the system.”

2017-09-19T12:08:28+00:00

Sory Sanlé’s Burkina Faso portraits go on show in London

Never heard of Sory Sanlé? If so you’re not alone – in fact he was aged 74 and living in obscurity when French record producer and writer Florent Mazzoleni came across him while researching popular West African music. Fascinated by his album covers, Mazzoleni arranged to meet him at his studio – only to find him burning his negatives. “‘He said people didn’t care about the old stuff,’ Mazzoleni told the New York Times’ Lens blog earlier this year. ‘I spent all night looking at his photos and negatives with a flashlight. He has tens of thousands of photos from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. He gave me a box of negatives that I could print. That’s how our relationship began’.” From this inauspicious start Sanlé’s legacy is now seriously being reappraised. In 2013 he was given a solo show at the Institut Français du Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso, and four of his shots are currently on show at the Fondation Cartier in Paris in the Autophoto exhibition, alongside work by icons such as …

2017-09-18T10:39:32+00:00

Remembering Sue Steward – writer, curator, picture editor and much more

Even Sue Steward, a writer who excelled in celebrating lives, might have struggled to write an obituary that unravelled the vibrant meshing of her own. She lived with ferocious energy and enthusiasm, and a genuine gift for friendship so innate that she never realised how unique it was. When Sue died recently from a brain haemorrhage, sustained in her beloved East Sussex garden, grief ricocheted through an extensive global network of friends and colleagues. An overarching passion for music and visual culture ran seamlessly through Sue’s life, propelled by her boundless curiosity. She made her name as an authority on Latin and world music in the 1990s, and more recently in photography as a writer, curator, mentor, and broadcaster, but for her there was never a split between the two. One underpinned and enriched the other, and it would misrepresent the indefatigable, chaotic and brilliant way she lived to suggest a chronological division. Excellent obituaries cover Sue’s significant contribution to world and Latin music; here I will focus on some of her myriad photography activities. Sue read sciences at Liverpool University. After a brief stint as a secondary school teacher she …

2017-09-19T13:50:39+00:00

Alec Soth on Sleeping by the Mississippi

Sleeping by the Mississippi has been ranked with the great representations of the United States, including Walker Evans’ pictures of the depression, Robert Frank’s harsh vision of the 1950s and, more recently, the colour work of Joel Sternfeld. As Alec Soth’s seminal work goes on show in London and is given a handsome reprint by MACK, we revisit an interview with him from back in 2004 – when the series first came out.

2017-09-18T10:41:37+00:00

BJP on the programme at the truly international Tbilisi Photo Festival

Returning for its eight edition from 13 September, Tbilisi Photo is an international festival in the heart of the Caucasus which hopes to bridge the image-making communities from across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This year themed Fashion, the diverse programme includes a look at Guy Bourdin’s iconic oeuvre, the Dutch artist Viviane Sassen’s approach to fashion photography, and an exclusive display of Iranian fashion magazines published before the Islamic revolution in 1978.

2017-09-12T15:07:16+00:00

Tate acquires Martin Parr’s 12,000-strong photobook collection

“I have always wanted my photobook collection to go to a public institution in the UK and with the recent commitment to photography from Tate, this was a very easy decision to make. I’m also very happy that thanks to Maja and LUMA, the city of Arles will embrace the photobook phenomenon,” says Martin Parr. Well-known as an avid photobook collector, co-author of the seminal three-volume anthology The Photobook: A History, and a respected photographer, the Magnum Photos member has given his entire collection to Tate. Built up over 25 years and including 12,000 photobooks, it is a world-class library which includes a broad geographical scope and many different approaches to photography, and includes self-published amateur work and mass-produced books alongside iconic publications by artists such as Hans Bellmer, Nobuyoshi Araki and Robert Frank. 

2017-09-18T10:42:27+00:00

Alessandro Penso brings migration home to the Europeans

Long before the public sat up and took notice of the staggering number of refugees risking everything to make their way to Europe, Alessandro Penso had made migration to the continent the focus of his work. Since 2009 he has been documenting the conditions of refugees who have attempted to cross borders in search of safety and the hope of a better future for themselves and their families. Beginning with detention centres in Malta, which many migrants had mistaken for Penso’s homeland of Italy, the photographer then travelled to Bulgaria where, between 2012 and 2013, the number of refugees surged from 1700 to 10,200. He followed migrant agricultural workers in Italy as they moved from one harvest to another. He also accompanied young adults from the Middle East trying to make their way from Greece (which refuses the majority of asylum seekers’ applications), to its neighbouring countries and beyond, capturing the moment when one, Mostafa El Mouzadhir, was deliberately hit by a car in a hate crime, sustaining multiple injuries. When Penso visited him in …

2017-09-08T15:29:03+00:00

BJP Staff