“These images, in all their diversity, reflect something of the richness of this nation and remind us of what there is to be celebrated,” says Martin Usborne, Portrait of Britain judge and Co-Founder of Hoxton Mini Press, the publisher of the first ever Portrait of Britain book. “We hope the book is a powerful snapshot of a moment in our shared history that stands the test of time.” Over the past three years, British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Britain award has gone from strength to strength. Originally conceived in 2016 in response to Brexit, the nationwide exhibition has flourished into a celebration of the many faces of modern Britain, reflecting the unique diversity of our country and its contemporary photographic talent. This year, the Portrait of Britain competition saw a staggering number of entries. The 13,000 submissions were judged by an elite panel of photographic experts, made up of Simon Bainbridge, Editor in Chief of British Journal of Photography; Caroline Hunter, Picture Editor at Guardian Weekend Magazine; Olivia Arthur, Magnum Photographer; and Martin Usborne, …
In 2014, Troy Charles knocked on the door of 2411, Mason Avenue, Las Vegas, hoping to find his ex-girlfriend. Instead, he encountered Stefanie Moshammer, an Austrian photographer who was living in the US for three months to work on a project. They spoke for five minutes, exchanging a few sentences. One week later, Moshammer received a typewritten, 35-line love letter, which told her: “I can be your ticket to USA citizenship”. In Not just your face honey, which takes its title from another extract from the letter, Moshammer documents the ambivalent feelings this unforeseen, obsessive declaration of love provoked. Central themes include love, illusion and identity, as well as ideas of the past, present, and future. “Of course, the series is about my personal letter, but it’s also about Las Vegas and how men try pursue women through the movie-esque American dream,” she says. In the letter, Charles offered Moshammer marriage, a room in his house, and a “cute, special fast car that’s almost new”. Though intended to be romantic, the propositions struck her as sinister, …
“If you live in Russia, you’re taught to love your family, and love your nation. It’s part of your life and education, we even have classes teaching patriotism at school,” says Alexander Anufriev, whose new project takes a closer look at what makes a modern Russia.
The idea for Russia Close-up came while he was studying at The Rodchenko Art School in Moscow, and starting to feel disillusioned with documentary photography. “At the time, it was important for me to tell stories and for them to be the truth, but it started to feel like a little bit of a lie,” he explains. “Even if you’re trying to be totally objective, it is always a bit subjective.
“I stopped shooting for six months, and I was about to quit photography, but then I thought, ‘What if I tried to be completely subjective?’ So I cropped the images very tightly, and included only the elements I wanted to show. It was a farewell to convention.” Unconventional it may be, but the series has already had some success, exhibited in Cardiff, Sydney, and Saint Petersburg, and winning third place in the Moscow Photobookfest Dummy book award.
Nadia Shira Cohen has won the $10,000 Women Photograph + Getty Images grant for her work on the abortion ban in El Salvador – and the five grants of $5000 awarded by Women Photograph with Nikon have gone to Tasneem Alsultan, Anna Boyiazis, Jess T. Dugan, Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen, and Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwen.
Nadia Shira Cohen’s series Yo No Di a Luz documents the effect that the complete ban on abortion in El Salvador has had on women – particularly on those forced to give birth to children conceived as a result of rape. “Doctors and nurses are trained to spy on women’s uteruses in public hospitals, reporting any suspicious alteration to the authorities and provoking criminal charges which can lead to between six months to seven years in prison,” writes Shira Cohen. “It is the poorer class of women who suffer the most as doctors in private hospitals are not required to report.
An international jury, comprised of Rein Desle, curator and editor at FoMu Photo Museum Antwerp; Andrea Holzherr, director of exhibitions and curator at Magnum Photos France; and Ana Morales, director of programmes at PHotoESPANA, have selected Roger Grasas as the winner of this year’s Descubrimientos (or ‘discoveries’) PHE 18 Award. They have commended Grasas’ “capacity to document a global issue from a personal perspective”, inviting him to exhibit his work at the next edition of the festival. The Catalan photographer has won the award with his series Ha Aretz, an exploration of biblical sites. Created over seven years, in ancient locations across Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, the series recalls biblical landscapes, photographed in juxtaposition to contemporary conditions, such as globalisation, tourism, consumerism, and the aftermath of war. Aiming to reflect on the possible evolution, or involution, of these ancestral regions, Grasas encourages the viewer to consider these sites in a postmodern world, where they serve as a backdrop for fast-food chains, the invasion of mass tourism, and changes in the landscape caused …
“I’ve spent so many hours on end in the dark, listening to loud music and just watching people, trying to see who I can take photos of and sussing out the environment” says Lionel Kiernan, “my work is a recording of what we can see with the naked eye in these constantly repetitive environments”.
At 21, Kiernan is the youngest photographer, and only Australian, to ever be shortlisted for the MACK First Book Award. After graduating from the Photography Studies College in Melbourne in 2017, Kiernan was nominated this year for his first major body of work documenting Melbourne’s nightlife scene, At Night.
Paulien Oltheten has won the Arles New Discovery Award with her series La Défense, le regard qui s’essaye. Rencontres d’Arles will now buy €15,000 of her work, and add it to the festival collection.
La Défense, le regard qui s’essaye encompasses a video essay, a photo series, and a collection of objects, and was shot mainly in the La Défense financial district in Paris. Recording people going about their everyday lives, the series creates imaginary links between them, adding a fictional element to a documentary project, and a layer of poetry to the otherwise unremarkable. Born in 1982 in Nijmegen, Netherlands, Oltheten studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, and is now based in Amsterdam and Paris.
Oltheten was selected from the ten photographers who made it into the Arles New Discovery Award exhibition this year – Sinzo Aanza, Monica Alcazar-Duarte, Christto & Andrew, Anne Golas, Chandan Gomes, Thomas Hauser, Anton Roland Laub, Ali Mobasser, Feng Li, Aurore Valade, and Wiktoria Wojciechowska.
Marina Gadonneix has won the 2018 LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award and a €25,000 award to publish her project, Phénomènes. Shot in various laboratories, Phénomènes considers the paradox at the heart of these places – microcosms of larger environments, but microcosms in which nature is strictly measured and controlled.
Born in Paris in 1977 and graduating from the l’École nationale supérieure de la photographie d’Arles in 2002, Gadonneix specialises in creating photographing highly specialised and controlled zones, creating works which “play with the clash of document, simulation and fiction”. Gadonneix won the Prix HSBC pour la photographie in 2006 for a project called Remote Control, a series of empty TV sets.
Running during Les Rencontres d’Arles and with an opening week all of its own, Voies Off is a well-established, free, fringe festival. Featuring exhibitions, evening projections, portfolio reviews, and parties – this year sound-tracked by the Africa Fete Festival – it’s the place to discover and be discovered.
Based in the Cour de l’Archevêché in the centre of Arles but with exhibitions running all over town, Voies Off is sponsored by Leica and is screening the 2018 Leica Oskar Barnack Award finalists every night this week except Wednesday. But it also has a well-defined programme of their own, which this year includes an exhibition titled If Slovenia Were… curated by the respected Slovenian/French photographer Klavdij Sluban and featuring work by 19 contemporary Slovenian photographers.
Three winners and one special mention have been announced for the 2018 Prix du Livre at Rencontres d’Arles – and in all four cases, the books use archival or found photography. The Author Book Award went to Laurence Aëgerter’s Photographic Treatment, which is published by Dewi Lewis; the Historical book award went to The Pigeon Photographer, a collection of images by Julius Neubronner published by Rorhof; and – controversially – the Photo-text Book Award went to Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s War Primer 2, which was first published by MACK in 2011 but reissued in paperback this year. A special mention went to Giorgio Di Noto’s The Iceberg in the Author Book Award, which is published by Édition Patrick Frey.