“It is peculiar how forests have such an affect on us,” observes Jersey-born photographer Alexander Mourant of his latest project Aomori, which was shot in Japan’s ancestral forests. “As temporal dimensions crumble, objectivity leaves us. We are found in a still, oneiric state, contemplating our own accumulation of experience.” His series is going on show in London as part of the Free Range FR Awards
It’s one of the best-respected photo agencies in the world, representing image-makers such as Nina Berman, Yuri Kozyrev, and Kadir van Lohuizen – and yet NOOR is offering three four-day masterclasses completely free of charge to “young, aspiring photojournalists and documentary photographers”. Run by NOOR and the NOOR Foundation with the support of Nikon Europe, the masterclasses will take place in Warsaw (26 February-01 March), Stockholm (12-15 March), and Brussels (19-22 March).
On 08 December 2013, the Bessarabska Lenin statue on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard in Ukraine was demolished in the midst of the Euromaidan revolution. What followed was a wave of symbolic violence that came to be known as Leninfall [or ‘Leninopad’ by Ukrainians]. Seeking to erase all traces of the Ukraine’s Soviet past, the government launched an official decommunisation process, outlawing communist monuments. Prior to these events around 5500 statues of Lenin stood in former Soviet state; today, not one remains. Fascinated by the fate of these statues, Swiss photographer Niels Ackermann and journalist Sébastien Gobert went on a quest to find them, documenting the results in the series Looking for Lenin. Published as a book last year, the series now going on show at Espace Images, Vevey.
“The term ‘Britishness’ has changed so much over the last ten years, I don’t really know what it means anymore to say ‘I’m British,’” observes Scottish photographer Niall McDiarmid, who has spent almost a decade photographing people in the street across Britain. In 2011 he started work on his latest series, Town to Town, which has just been published as a book and which will be shown at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, UK from 31 January-12 May. Initially focussing on London, it soon expanded beyond the capital city and ended up covering 200 towns, tracing a journey around Britain and its diverse inhabitants.
“Seventeen years later and after all that life giveth and taketh away, it is the wildness of the region that attracts me most,” writes artist Chloe Sells of Botswana, the place where she shot her latest book Flamingo. “Botswana is one of the last great completely wild, untouched and quiet corners of the earth.” In particular she was attracted to Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, in the heart of the Kalahari Desert, a strange and harsh, yet beautiful landscape. “I didn’t know that part of Botswana very well,” Sells admits, “but I had visited many times and been amazed by the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans; I knew I wanted to spend more time there.”
London-based collectors Claire and James Hyman have donated 125 photographs to the Yale Center for British Art, gifting key works by leading figures in British photographic history – including Bill Brandt, Bert Hardy, Roger Mayne, Tony Ray-Jones, Martin Parr, Chris Killip and Anna Fox – to the 44-year-old institution in New Haven in the US. It’s a move that could be interpreted as a damning indictment of UK institutions’ commitment to collecting British photography – particularly as, the last time BJP caught up with James Hyman (our May 2015 issue), he said building such collections has been “left to private individuals, and it shouldn’t have been”. In the same interview Hyman also singled out Birmingham Library and its curator of photography collections Peter James for praise – yet in the intervening time, both the photography archive and James’ job have fallen victim to funding cuts. But Hyman says the donation should be viewed in a positive light as evidence of the growing interest in British photography abroad – an interest which may spark more commitment in the UK.
Susan Meiselas has been a pivotal figure in photography since her career began in the 1970s, a decade when the ethical discussion surrounding the inspiration, intent and dissemination of documentary image-making was rampant. Perpetually questioning the motivation and perception of her images, the American has spent her life grappling with these issues, practising what it means to document something outside of her own personal experience. This spring (06 February to 20 May), Jeu de Paume in Paris presents Mediations, a retrospective revisiting her vast oeuvre, beginning with early portraits that include 44 Irving Street (1971) and Carnival Strippers (1972-75).
“The moment I entered the refuge, I felt connected to their mission,” says Susan Meiselas of her recent work in the Black Country, at a refuge for women who have escaped domestic violence. “When I walked into the place it felt intuitively interesting.” Meiselas was invited to Britain’s Midlands by West Bromich-based arts organisation Multistory; making a series of visits over 2015 and 2016, she honed in on the refuge and started working with the women living in it – photographing them and their living spaces but also, crucially, getting their input.
London-based documentary photographer Laura Pannack has won the Women Seen By Women award with her series Purity. This special award marked the 10th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers, and attracted 720 entries from 42 countries. Pannack started her series over seven years ago when she moved to the Stamford Hill district of north-east London – an area known for its large Orthodox Jewish community. “I was fascinated by the Orthodox community because it was entirely different from the Jewish upbringing I experienced,” she explains. “I was also especially keen to focus my interest on getting to know the women whose lives were so different from mine.” The community is usually wary of outsiders, and it took a lot of time and patience for Pannack to win its trust. “Gaining access isn’t just exhausting and time-consuming, but also comes with the great responsibility that I have to my subjects,” she notes. “I greatly respect these families and it is imperative to me that these images are only seen in a respectful way …
“Coming back to photojournalism after a couple years of academic hiatus, I wanted to invest my time in projects that could affect change. Simply telling a story in an editorial doesn’t accomplish that,” says Anastasia Taylor-Lind about her determination to cover the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar for Human Rights Watch. The organisation’s mandate is to gather evidence of crimes against humanity and share those records with governments, international agencies and the public. Doing so means relying on collaborations between a diverse group of professionals, including visual storytellers.