Hundreds of people crowd in the city of Ukraine, wearing helmets and holding flags, while a fire breaks out. A person in white-gloves wipes the blood off the face of a young man. Police line up with their bulletproof shields; one stands on the bonnet of a van preparing to fire his rifle. Maxim Dondyuk is a documentary photographer. His 2013-2014 project, Culture of the Confrontation, showcases perspective-shifting images of Euromaidan, the three-month long protests that erupted in Ukraine against the government, characterised as an event of major political symbolism for the European Union.
“There were things happening in black America that lend themselves to the conversation in Italy in a way that perhaps people never would have imagined,” says Theaster Gates, a social practice artist and curator of a new exhibition,The Black Image Corporation, dedicated to exploring the legacy of the Johnson Publishing Company archive and its two acclaimed magazines, Ebony and Jet.
Presented at the Fondazione Prada from 20 September to 14 January, the exhibition gathers photographs from the company’s extensive archive of more than four million images, focusing primarily on the work of two photographers – Moneta Sleet Jr and Isaac Sutton. “When the Prada Foundation invites you to do a project, you know there’s already this big and ambitious living legacy; and so it felt really amazing to then put the Johnson Publishing Company in the context of this other fashion family,” explains Gates.
Holly Hay’s induction into publishing came by way of the fashion communication and promotion BA at Central Saint Martins. “That course was like training to work at a magazine,” she explains. “It was photography, journalism and graphic design, all meshed into one.” While on it she started taking her own photographs and after she left, she had a stint as a photographer. “It was all going quite well until I met more photographers, and realised I liked their work more than my own!” she laughs. “I discovered that I could create the images I wanted through other people, rather than myself.” Following this revelation, she shifted to a producer role, commissioning photographers, writers and stylists at the newly-conceived Garage magazine, before spending three years as the photographic editor at AnOther, fostering an extensive network of image-makers and collaborators. Now, just over eight months into her tenure as photography director of Wallpaper*, she’s making her presence felt in artist collaborations and visual journalism. How has the way you commission changed since joining Wallpaper*? I would describe the …
Our annual portrait edition returns with Jono Rotman’s photographs of New Zealand’s most notorious biker gang; Faces Places, a collaboration between French filmmaker Agnes Varda and street artist, JR; Richard Billingham’s return home for his cinematic portrayal of Ray & Liz; and a selection from this year’s Portrait of Britain, our nationwide exhibition taking place across JCDecaux screens up and down the country. Our journey begins with Jono Rotman’s photographs of New Zealand’s largest, most notorious biker gang, the Mongrel Mob. Though he is looking at the subculture as an outsider, Rotman eschews a traditional documentarian approach to his subject matter. In doing so, the project’s scope extends beyond the mob itself to touch upon issues related to New Zealand’s charged colonial past and self-professed biculturalism, the politics and ethics of portraiture, and the intersections of seemingly disparate human experience. With Brexit on the horizon, Portrait of Britain has never felt so timely, putting citizens centre stage across high streets, shopping malls and major transport hubs throughout September, asking us to reflect on who we …
“You should get into the habit of looking above eye-level while walking,” says American photographer Brian Kanagaki. “It’s much more beautiful than looking down at the dirty street and trash.” Golden Persimmons, shot over a period of six years, captures geometric subjects in ambiguous environments; spanning over eight countries (though predominantly New York), the brutally black and white images take inspiration from the graphic, organic shapes found in cities globally.
The project began when the design director got lost while taking a shortcut in his hometown, San Francisco. “It was funny to get lost in a city that I thought I knew so well,” he says. “I ended up driving around and finding so many new things that got my mind working.” One of which was decorative trees in people’s front gardens, the original basis for the series. But after moving to New York and spending time travelling, the idea quickly evolved to focus on tying the world together by capturing its mundane similarities.
It began in March 2015 when David Yates, a client of photographer and fine art printer Mike Crawford, turned up at his print studio, Lighthouse Darkroom, with a “shopping trolleyful” of old boxes of expired photographic paper. The next day, he brought another. The two loads were what was left of a mass clear-out of Yates’ late grandfather Bret Sampson’s darkroom. The British photographer’s London studio was his first port of call, given that Crawford was already working with Yates on another of his personal projects.
Gustavo Tavares has spent many years exploring the arctic, photographing the landscapes as a way to understand the climate’s harshness, and the relationship between man and nature. For Gustavo, the arctic embodies a fractured sense of home. It is not where he lives, but where he finds his spiritual and emotional balance, calling into question what actually defines our notion of home. His OpenWalls Editor’s Pick photograph is an image taken in Pyramiden, an abandoned Soviet coal mining city, with a population of just six people. Gustavo is based in Aveiro, Portugal, a colourful town set along the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, often described as the Venice of Portugal – a far cry from the sparseness, and coldness, of Pyramiden. But these deserted, freezing landscapes are where Gustavo finds his sense of belonging. We spoke to Gustavo about his father’s photographic influence, protecting himself from polar bears, and his series ‘La Camera du Flaneur’, a project inspired by the words of Susan Sontag. Can you tell me about your background as a photographer? How and …
When you Google Bobby Doherty, staff photographer at New York Magazine, the words “film,” “35mm,” and “vertical” repeatedly come up. But since being commissioned for editorial, the New York based artist has focused his time on producing digital still life photography. “Now I’m known for doing super digital studio stuff, which is cool because I like making that kind of work; but it’s nice to be able to step away from the studio and live outside,” he says. “I like taking photos all the time – it’s nice not to have to worry about the technical aspect and just go out with a camera and film.”
In October 2017, Oliver Chanarin, a photographer professor at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, printed an archival photograph onto cardboard in his office, and left it on display for his job share partner Adam Broomberg. The next week, his colleague printed an image on top of the photograph. This exchange happened several times, ultimately creating unprompted photomontages. “I left a sample for Adam, as a little gift,” says Chanarin, who was born in London but grew up in South Africa as a child to South African parents. “That’s how it began; as a conversation in images printed on cardboard.”
Has anything improved since Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? The fact that women make up just 15.5% of the artists’ files on Wikipedia suggests not. According to L’Observatoire de l’Egalite, only 30% of the artists exhibited in galleries are women, even though more than 60% of art students in France are women.
Even so, there is some cause for optimism – as French photographer Vincent Ferrané points out. “Of the top 500 contemporary artists in 2017 [in France], only 14% of women,” he says. “But 30% of those were born after 1980.”