All posts filed under: Agenda

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National Portrait Gallery: In Focus

Each year the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition opens at the National Portrait Gallery, showing off the shots that most impressed the judges in this prestigious worldwide prize. Since 2015 the gallery has also hosted a simultaneous In Focus exhibition, highlighting a new body of work by an internationally established photographer. Last year, the honour fell to Pieter Hugo; this year, Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel will present images exploring the sex industry in Brazil’s capital Rio de Janeiro. As one of the main prostitution hubs in Latin America, Rio has seen the business flourish in recent years – particularly with the added attraction of the Fifa World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Rather than focusing on the prostitutes, de Middel homed in on their clients, placing a small ad in the local newspapers in June 2015, asking them to come forward and take part in the project. “I was surprised by the response, but Rio is a very relaxed city when it comes to sex,” says de Middel. “There is …

2016-10-28T17:21:34+00:00

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A Matter of Memory: Photography as Object in the Digital Age

Do you remember the last time you went out and printed a snapshot? Or filled up a chunky, leather-bound photo album with a set of family portraits? If you’re under 30, the answer could well be never. With the immediacy of digital recording and the convenience of smartphones for organising and sharing images, the act of printing physical pictures has become something of an anachronism for anyone but hipsters and art photographers. A new exhibition at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, seeks to address how the gradual decline of the photographic object is affecting our relationship to memory, and what happens when our century-old physical tie to the photograph is broken. “What has changed is the tactility of the photograph,” says exhibition curator Lisa Hostetler. “Now that images are on a screen, they’re sort of ‘forever young’, and it becomes difficult to realise that there are many things that connect us to the past in terms of basic human emotions. These become more difficult to tease out when everything looks contemporary.” A Matter of …

2016-11-09T15:54:51+00:00

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Wolfgang Tillmans’ Portrait of the Artist

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“It’s not a one-two-three, but this is number four in a series of books I have published with Walther Koenig, that began in 1997 with Concorde,” says Wolfgang Tillmans. “In 2012, it was FESPA Digital/Fruit Logistica; last year, The Cars; and now Conor Donlon. All four are monothematic, in-depth, slightly obsessive.” Tillmans’ new publication does seem a little obsessive. Containing pictures of Conor Donlon spanning 15 years, the book mixes posed and informal shots, showing Donlon at work, at play, even at the barber’s. Donlon joined Tillmans’ studio in 2001 and stayed for several years, before setting up his well-respected eponymous photobook shop; arranged chronologically, these portraits mark his transition from young graduate to creative linchpin, but they also show Tillmans’ shifting perspectives on the man. “What’s interesting is the narrative shifts,” he explains. “In some pictures he is working as my assistant; others were taken after work or on holiday. But he also appeared in some of the rare fashion shoots I did. There is an image from a fashion story I styled for purple …

2016-10-21T15:05:46+00:00

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Brighton Photo Biennial 2016: Review

Brighton is a city synonymous with celebrating difference, championing diversity and challenging stereotypes. As the unofficial capital of the LGBQ+ community and home of the largest pride event in the UK, there is no better place to stage the themes explored in this year’s Brighton Photo Biennial. Curated and produced by Photoworks, Beyond the Bias – Reshaping Image addresses how photography can inform and reflect socio-political issues. Identity and self-representation are questioned in relation to the wider context of mass-representation – where self-image and attitude are often co-opted – investigating photography’s function in the political of the body, gender, sexuality and subversion of cultural norms. Including work from documentary photographers and photographic approaches that knowingly reference the language of fashion and style photography, the biennial unpicks understandings our personal and projected image. At the core of the festival are three major exhibition projects, one a European premiere from the USA, the others being two new commissions; one centered on British Youth Style, the other documenting the multicultural experiences of identity in India and the UK. …

2016-10-19T10:22:40+00:00

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The negative sublime of Edward Burtynsky’s corrupted landscapes

The Little Rann of Kutch is located in the Thar desert, a seasonal salt marsh in the Indian state of Gujarat. Salt is the main industry in the region. Every year for eight months, it is home to more than 100,000 Agariya workers who fan out over the delta and toil in the brutal sun to extract around one million tonnes of salt a year from the floodwaters of the nearby Arabian Sea. Like so much in the world today, the future of the Agariya people hangs in the balance. With a future currently under threat from receding groundwater levels and declining market values, the salt pans are likely to disappear without trace, along with a traditional way of life that has been sustained for the past four hundred years. Burtynsky’s latest series Salt Pans combines fine art and advocacy through his acclaimed aerial perspective to tackle the evidential environmental imprint imposed by the harsh processes of salt industry on the Agariya people and their land. Through their documentation of a disappearing landscape, the photographs are …

2016-10-13T13:19:15+00:00

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Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium

Robert Mapplethorpe tried his hand at a startlingly extensive range of artistic forms over the course of his 20-year career – from sculpture and drawing to collage and construction – but it was photography, the most instantaneous and intimate of all those he employed, which he found best suited his needs. Now, following the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and neighbouring J Paul Getty Museum’s acquisition of the vast body of work he created in the 1970s and ’80s, the two institutions hold complementary retrospective presentations, together titled Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium (showing mid-March to the end of July) to highlight different aspects of his oeuvre. The show, which will tour to Montreal, Sydney and beyond, takes as its underlying theme the ‘inherent dualities’ that characterised Mapplethorpe’s practice, explains Britt Salvesen, LACMA’s head of photography and the curator of the exhibition. “He seemed to enjoy playing with those contrasts between his downtown reputation as a rebel and a provocateur, and his uptown reputation as a maker of beautiful society portraits and floral still lifes. We took that as a point …

2016-03-24T12:42:58+00:00

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A 10-strong shortlist for Hyères’ emerging photographer prize announced

“It’s a good one!” says Raphaëlle Stopin of this year’s photography shortlist for the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography – the 31st edition of the festival, and the fourth she’s looked after as the sole photography art director. The shortlist of 10 emerging photographers includes two from countries that have never reached the final before – Vendula Knopova from the Czech Republic and Sasha Kurmaz from Ukraine. Stopin is very glad to have the Eastern Europeans on board, and very happy to have such “a good mix”. As the festival’s full name suggests it is closely associated with fashion, running a prize for emerging fashion designers and sponsored by companies such as Chanel, LVMH and Chloé. But the photography award has long danced to a different beat, shortlisting interesting photographers whatever their focus, and recognising image-makers such as Jessica Eaton, Anouk Kruithof and Thomas Mailaender long before they hit the big time. This year, the full shortlist is: Anaïs Boileau; Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger; Maja Daniels; Louise Desnos; Jason Larkin; Emilie Regnier; Ilona Szwarc; …

2016-03-22T13:11:36+00:00

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Carolyn Drake wins $10,000 Anamorphosis Prize

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A genre-busting look at life in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China has won the inaugural Anamorphosis Prize. Carolyn Drake’s book Wild Pigeon shows the people and landscapes of the remote, rapidly changing province, 2000 miles from Beijing. Alongside the images, shot between 2007 and 2013, are also collages and drawings made by local people, and references to the story Wild Pigeon by Uyghur author Nurmuhemmet Yasin, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Chinese authorities for ‘inciting separatism’. Drake has described the problems she had in shooting in Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is viewed with suspicion by the Chinese government. “Uyghurs who carry on extended conversations with foreigners risk police interrogation,” she writes on her website, “and foreign journalists are routinely followed; meanwhile, some Uyghurs are opposed to artwork (including photography) depicting living creatures, since only Allah has the power to give life”. In response she started to “look for meaning at the intersection of our views, and find ways to bring the people I was meeting into the creative process”, …

2016-03-01T15:29:57+00:00

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The best of CES 2016

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The new year opened with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and it proved rich pickings for pro photographers, with new flagship cameras from Nikon and Phase One, some welcome long-lens additions designed for CSC cameras, and the usual array of storage devices, action cams and drones. We round up the most intriguing new photography announcements. Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative CES’s one genuine surprise came in an announcement from Kodak, stating it plans to revive the Super 8 format, 50 years after it first debuted. Showing a prototype that “combines the classic features of a Super 8 with digital functionality”, and with a new ‘limited edition’ camera planned for autumn, the company says it has devised a roadmap that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more, in what amounts to a new “ecosystem for film”. It comes on the back of resurgence of interest in film within Hollywood, according to Kodak, and the new initiative has the backing of filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and Star Wars writer/director JJ Abrams. Kodak is …

2016-01-25T13:06:16+00:00

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Delivering Life: New Mothers in the World’s Poorest Country

When I ask Jenny Lewis to recount her experiences of photographing her most recent project, One Day Young Malawi, I brace myself. Malawi is officially the poorest nation in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, Malawi has the highest fertility rate in the world, with the average woman raising 5.7 children, and “a critical shortage of capacity in institutions implementing development programmes.” Lewis travelled there – in an extension of her viral One Day Young project – to capture the most intimate moments of a mother and newborn arriving home in the first twenty-four hours after birth. The odds on this tale being anything other than bleak seem slim. “I was next to the delivery room when Efrida was giving birth” Lewis tells BJP of one of the first new mothers she photographed. “Twenty minutes later, they needed the delivery room, so they shoved her out and put her in the room I was in, where I was taking a picture of Miriam, who was bleeding very heavily at the time. “So Efrida was bleeding all over the …

2016-02-08T13:04:48+00:00

BJP Staff