All posts filed under: Exhibitions

Ciarán Óg Arnold wins First Book Award

A project called I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again, by Irish photographer Ciarán Oìg Arnold, has won this year’s First Book Award. Born in 1977, Arnold has spent almost his whole life living his pictures in the town of Ballinasloe. The project, taken over the past five years, shows drunken knuckle-fights, hard men’s tears and derelict homes as the active participants in a post-recession landscape. “I never really had a project in mind,” Arnold tells BJP. “I just took the photographs at weekends to have something to do. The photographs are about this fatalistic atmosphere of male negativity. Machismo, and having nowhere to express it. I wanted to show how something feels, how it looks – to get the emotional desperation and the anger. I’ve never really talked about it with anyone before. It’s hard. “You would go into one nightclub on weekends, there’d be no one in the entire place except for these guys in the corner with the boxing machine, getting out their aggression …

High Street Kensington from the series On a Good Day

Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s – Review

A young girl, speaking on the telephone, stands in a well-kept living room. She smiles to someone outside the frame, yet her posture suggests this isn’t a casual snapshot. As we learn from photographer Neil Kenlock, she’s pretending to speak to her grandparents in Jamaica — the photograph a token of the family’s prosperous new life in Britain, balancing the quotidian with the achingly intimate. This communication between generations, between the motherland and a new home, gets to the heart of Staying Power, a new exhibition currently on display at the V&A. The exhibition is the culmination of a joint project with the Black Cultural Archives, started in 2008, showcasing photographs that respond and relate to the ‘black British’ experience. With a collection spanning 118 photographs and 17 different photographers, black British life is rendered with a comprehensiveness and variety rarely seen in the cultural landscape. Marta Weiss, curator of photographs at the V&A, says: “We didn’t restrict ourselves or depict particular events or particular types of people, in keeping with the V&A’s collecting remit …

© Janette Beckman

Hip-Hop Revolution – Museum of the City of New York

Hip-Hop Revolution, a brilliant and wide-ranging new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, showcases more than 100 photographs captured between 1977 and 1990 by three pre-eminent NYC photographers: Bronx born-and-bred Joe Conzo, who came of age in the 70s; esteemed documentary photographer and former NY Post staffer Martha Cooper; and London-born Janette Beckman, who chronicled the UK punk scene, then “visited a friend in New York in 1982 and never left”. The exhibition largely focuses on the key pillars of hip-hop culture in its formative days: music (rapping and DJing), breakdancing, graffiti and, of course, the fashion. The subjects are a beguiling mixture of local and cult heroes (Shack Crew, Treacherous Three) and those who’d one day achieve megastardom (Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Queen Latifah) — all of whom seem to share an uncanny confidence and a sense of pride in their local environs. Before you make the right turn into the main gallery space, you’re met front-on by a giant canvas of a Conzo snap from 1981. It depicts the …

Syngenta Photography Award exhibition – Review

As you walk through the Syngenta Photography Award, its difficult to shake off the feeling that the future looks grim. We know we’re consuming resources at an unsustainable rate. And still we carry on the same. Oddly, the sheer scale of the problem makes it easier to shrug off. Now in its second edition, the Syngenta Photography Award hopes to counter such apathy by highlighting photography that explores global challenges. Last year’s theme was Rural-Urban, this year it’s Scarcity-Waste. On this theme, and currently showing at Somerset House’s East Wing gallery, is winning photo essays by the 2015 winners of the professional award Mustafah Abdulaziz (1st), Rasel Chowdury (2nd), Richard Allenby-Pratt (3rd) and open award Benedikt Partenheimer (1st) Camille Michel (2nd) Stefano De Luigi (3rd). Worrying statistics accost visitors from the walls – “By nearly 2025 nearly 3.4 billion people will face water scarcity”, one reads – and objects in display cases, including a carrot discarded by a supermarket as too ugly to sell, signal an educational intent. Environmental photography can sometimes struggle to engage …

Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860

William Henry Fox Talbot worked out how to do it 1839, by soaking paper in silver iodide salts to register a negative image which, when photographed again, created permanent paper positives. It was one of the earliest ways of creating a photographer. He called it a ‘salt print.’ The photographs were fragile and liable to corrode quickly. In the great Victorian age of invention, salt prints were quickly replaced by new photographic processes. A new exhibition at London’s Tate Britain gallery will show how, for a short but significant time, the British invention of salt prints became a stock in trade process for emerging photographers the world over. Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to salt prints; with ninety photographs on display are among the few fragile salt prints that survive and are seldom shown in public. “There was no such thing as a photographer back in the 1870s,” says Carol Jacobi, the curator of the show. “The early adopters of photography, the people who became the first photographers, were already lawyers or painters or scientists or politicians, as was the case with Talbot.” …

Human Rights Human Wrongs

“I grew up in Newcastle, sat on buses with characters calling me ‘Chalky’,” says Mark Sealy, founder of Autograph ABP. “I still carry the legacy of that. I know what it’s like to be called a n*****r; I had to go through all that shit. And that’s just a simple game, the menace of little kids.” For Sealy, these experiences haven’t stopped, they have simply become subtextual. “We do it on a cultural and political level,” he says. “We create fear in others. Look at the history of the representation of Jewish people before the Holocaust; images can dehumanise us. They can make it easier to kill people.” Sealy has no qualms about recounting such memories to a journalist, describing himself as a “militant nightmare”. But if he is, he’s managed to break the mainstream anyway – born in Hackney in 1960 and raised in Newcastle, he won an MBE two years ago for services to photography and is currently in the midst of a PhD at Durham University, researching the link between photography and cultural …

New Japanese Photography at the Doomed Gallery this weekend

What do Daisuke Yokota, Go Itami and Kenji Hirasawa have in common? They’re all showing work at an exciting but fleeting exhibition of emerging Japanese photographers at Doomed Gallery this week. Featuring a photobook showcase, a projection of images by nearly 100 photographers, and installations by Itami and Hirasawa plus Daisuke Nakashima, Hiroshi Takizawa, Mai Narita, Naohiro Utagawa and Yukihito Kono, New Japanese Photography opens with a private view and party from 6pm on 22 January, and closes on 25 January. The gallery is open from 4pm-8pm on Friday and from 12pm-8pm on Saturday and Sunday; Naohiro Utagawa and Yukihito Kono will be at the gallery on the opening night for a book signing. The exhibition is curated by Space Cadet, an online gallery launched by Masayoshi Suzuki in 2011, and Stay Alone, a platform and publishing house for artists launched by photographers Suguru Ryuzaki and Yukihito Kono in 2013. The curators hope to show the vibrancy of the contemporary Japanese photography scene, they say, moving it out of the long shadow cast by the 1960s Provoke movement. Doomed Gallery is based at 65-67 Ridley Road, …

Mind Games

In November 2001, the US-led military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan appeared to be a success. The Coalition Forces were closing in on insurgents, Kabul had fallen, Kandahar was next, and the hunt was on for Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. At the end of November the international press, including The Independent, The Sunday Times and The New York Times, ran a series of news stories, complete with detailed illustrations, about Bin Laden’s secret hideaway. Bin Laden, it was reported, was hiding in a network of tunnels buried deep within the Tora Bora mountains. The network had its own ventilation system, a hydroelectric power-generating system and enough space for up to 1000 elite fighters. News of this secret lair spread and ‘the factsʼ surrounding his hideaway became incorporated into military, political and news broadcasts around the world. Bin Laden’s lair was a fictional entity, but it was presented as real, and at the time was virtually unquestioned by mainstream media. It is precisely this unquestioning attitude that Catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta …