Harry Flook is a Bristol-based writer and photographer, whose photographic work is rooted in his personal experiences. Having left his own religious faith, he embarked on ‘Apostate’, a project photographing those who had done the same, and he stumbled across a vast community of ex-religious individuals while doing so. Making this work then culminated in another project, ‘Beyond What is Written’, set in the heart of ‘bible belt’ America and addressing the subject from a different perspective. Both series explore the concept of community outside religion, for people whose sense of community was once constructed by the religious groups they were a part of. Harry entered a portrait from ‘Apostate’ into Portrait of Britain last year, and it was displayed across the country as part of our nationwide exhibition. We spoke to Harry about the value of awkwardness, choosing the perfect subject, and creating a compelling portrait. How did you create your selected portrait, and what was the story behind it? This portrait was shot as a test for a project I’m still working on, …
Back in 2008, Facebook was just four years old, Twitter was just two years old, and the iphone had just been released. Instagram had not yet been invented. A decade is a long time in internet years, and yet one online photography magazine launched into this unpromising landscape has survived and thrived – 1000 Words. Set up and still run by editor-in-chief, Tim Clark, it includes long-form essays, interviews, and reviews, and has included contributors such as David Campany, Susan Bright, Gerry Badger, Charlotte Cotton, Wolfgang Tillmans, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Vanessa Winship and Lieko Shiga. Now, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Clark is publishing a special print edition, 1000 Words 10 Years, designed by respected photography and art specialist Sarah Boris and featuring newly-commissioned content. The annual will be 200 pages long, and will feature 10 portfolios from influential artists such as Jose Pedro Cortes, Laia Abril, Edmund Clark, and Esther Teichmann, as well as a series of photo-centric city guides, profiles on curators and collectors, opinion pieces on the art of photobook publishing, and reflections on a decade’s changes in photography. It will also include a selection of memorable and talked-about articles from the 1000 Words back catalogue.
“The truth can be hard to look at,” says an introductory essay to the exhibition Hard Truths, on show at Sotheby’s this weekend. “We all have a protective need to distance ourselves from disaster. But we ignore our neighbors’ misery at our own peril. Violence and hatred proliferate and can quickly engulf those who seek only to avoid them.” The exhibition gathers five series shot by freelance photographers for The New York Times and it shows some very hard truths – Ivor Prickett’s images from the end of the Caliphate in Mosul, Iraq; Tomas Munita’s images from a Cuba at the end of an era; Meredith Kohut’s photograph’s of Venezuela’s “collapse”, as she puts it; Newsha Tavakolian’s portraits of individuals in Tehran; and Daniel Berehulak’s hard-hitting images of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug crackdown in the Philippines. The show was organised by David Furst, The New York Times’ international picture editor, and Arthur Ollman of the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, and it will travel to PHotoEspaña this summer. There are further plans for shows in …
As Moldova proclaimed its independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union, a 400km stretch of territory wedged between its border with Ukraine also declared itself a separate entity. With its own flag, parliament and currency, Transnistria has all the apparatus of being a nation yet it is only officially acknowledged as an independent state by three other republics, all of them also with limited recognition. Born at the same time as this new state, in 1990, Anton Polyakov and Anya Galatonova are first generation Transnistrians whose work is dedicated to visualising life in the region, believing that photography plays a crucial role in affirming their homeland’s identity.
The first night he spent in a bothy, a primitive and remote man-made shelter, Nicholas JR White witnessed a sight he would not forget in a hurry. He and a friend had arrived at Warnscale Head in the Lake District and were talking about the project that would become Black Dots – now a book published by Another Place Press – when they looked out of the window and saw the Northern Lights stretching far into the distance. “We had the whole of the fells to ourselves and sat outside with beers, just watching,” says White. “That was the first night of the project and it was a really good start. The next day I got the first image that would make it into the series.” Little did White know then that this would be the first of many nights spent in bothies across Scotland, Wales and northern England over the following three years. He first had the idea to make a project about these former crofters’ cottages and farmers’ huts, nestled deep in the …
When New York’s Museum of Modern Art first introduced its New Photography series, it did so to locate contemporary work in a dedicated space, often providing the selected image-makers with the opportunity to get their foot in that most revered of doors. The inaugural exhibition opened in August 1985, curated by the late, great John Szarkowski, and over the following 32 years, these shows have remained true to their moniker, tracking some of the most exciting developments in new photography in its myriad forms – be that in books, on screens, in posters or through zines. As the years brought evolved types of media, it fed artists’ appetites both for new ideas and for fresh means by which to execute them. MoMA’s latest instalment, Being: New Photography 2018 (18 March–19 August), is a deft demonstration of how effectively such collections can reflect a moment in contemporary consciousness. Being presents 17 artists working in photo-based media around the world, and “all the works in the exhibition take on charged and layered notions of personhood and subjectivity,” explains Lucy Gallun, its curator and the assistant curator of MoMA’s department of photography.
“The idea for Paper Journal came about during my final year of studying photography at Westminster,” says founding editor Patricia Karallis. Though studying she was also working as a picture editor for a small online arts and culture magazine at the time, and had found that she really enjoyed the research aspect of the role but also had “many ideas in terms of content that didn’t quite fit where I was working at the time”. The answer was simple – she decided “to start my own platform”. She launched Paper Journal online in 2013, with the aim of showcasing photography, fashion and culture in an exciting way. Featuring photography from unknown or new image-makers alongside more established names, Karallis says, “we love to promote new photography and I think that’s been a really strong point for us, and one that draws readers back to the site.”
Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, which addresses the control of the one-party Communist government, and United States of Vietnam, which looks at the slow victory of capitalism over communism and its consequences for Vietnam’s economy. Using a combination of a staged, typological form of photography in United States of Vietnam, and a more autonomous, naturalistic style for Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, Sapienza intends to leave something for the viewer to work out. “They have to try to put their feet in the author’s shoes,” he says. “They just need to get the leitmotiv of your project, not the full, descriptive content. In that exchange lives the real core of the project.”
Photography is often considered a solitary pursuit, but the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) in Toronto, Canada hopes to overturn this conception with a research project led by artists, scholars, and curators such as Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Leigh Raiford, and Laura Wexler. Now an exhibition at RIC called Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography is putting their work on view. Featuring approximately 90 photographic projects the work on show demonstrates some of the many ways photographers have collaborated with their subjects and other participants. It includes Wendy Ewald’s Reciprocating in Arabic installation, which combines image and text in an attempt to show the experience of walking through the Arabic language, and WEB Du Bois’ The Potential of the Archive I, a look into the history and present challenges of black America, among many other projects.
“They’re all driven by motivations that are both personal and political to a degree, and they are all self-initiated projects,” says curator Alona Pardo of the photographers in the show Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins. “Some may have started as commissions, but very early on took on a life of their own. It was interesting to think about the role of the photographer, because often the photographer hides behind the camera as a facade. There is also an interesting subtext of the photographer occupying the position of an outsider within mainstream society. They are there, assertively documenting the world.”