It’s a spectacularly beautiful early morning in December and the traffic is rolling past indifferently on one of North London’s less than silent streets. I’m standing in front of a large red door, having come to visit David King and his world-famous collection documenting the extraordinary visual history of the Soviet Union. King has been assembling the collection for almost five decades and now it is in the process of being transferred to the archives of Tate Modern. The collection has always run in parallel to his work as a graphic designer, photographer and author – work, it is fair to say, that shows influence from the Bolshevik-era material he has discovered on his many visits to the former USSR, and which he has often drawn from in his books, posters, photographs and graphic work.
Back for its eighth edition, the theme of this year’s LagosPhoto is Regimes of Truth. It’s exploring divisive events such as the Nigerian Civil War and its representation, and the influential Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture held in 1977; it’s also including Kadir van Lohuizen’s Where Will We Go? – Rising Seas, an exploration of climate change that shows how the world’s less wealthy will disproportionately suffer its effects.
Marking the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest signed by King Henry III, and corresponding with the launch of the 2017 Charter for Trees, Woods and People, the V&A’s new display Into The Woods: Trees in Photography, celebrates the significance of trees in the work of photographers across the world and throughout history.
The exhibition is comprised of works from the V&A’s permanent collection as well as photographs recently transferred from the Royal Photographic Society ahead of their rehousing in the museum’s new Photography Centre in 2018. Curated by Martin Barnes, senior curator of photographs at the V&A, Into The Woods began as an impulse – “I just like trees!” – but gradually revealed itself to be the germ of a great idea.
Famously elusive, and unwilling to to discuss his work, the only way to get to an insight into Krass Clement’s photography is through the images themselves – but even they are cloaked in mystery. “There is a certain melancholia in my work,” he says. “I am quite attracted by it. After all I come from Scandinavia so it is a sort of second nature. And yes, a lot of my work can be characterised as being about loneliness. But I don’t want to get too philosophical about those aspects. I hope that the books I produce speak for themselves, and don’t require too many footnotes or conceptual analyses about the nature of reality, states of minds or the role of metaphors.” Born in 1946 in Denmark, Clement has shot over 20 photobooks over the years, and has shown his work in spaces such as the Bibliothek Nationale, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He taught himself how to make photographs, and his most famous photobook, Drum, was shot over a single night …
Luce Lebart has hopped across the Atlantic Ocean to take the helm of the newly-minted Canadian Photography Institute (CPI), which fills the large gap left by the abrupt and permanent closure of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in 2009, thanks to the support of Scotiabank, the Archive of Modern Conflict and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
“I lived there, I grew up there, and I loved it very much,” Latif Al Ani has said of his home, Baghdad. “All of it has been devastated, and most of it has vanished.” Known as the founding father of Iraqi photography, Al Ani captured the country in its cosmopolitan Golden Age from the late 1950s to the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War in 1980. Employed by the Iraqi Petroleum Company in the 1950s, he went on to found the photography department in the Iraqi government’s Ministry of Information and Guidance in 1960, and to become the head of photography at the Iraqi News Agency in the 1970s.
“The central thing is that the images are humanising and affectionate,” says Gideon Mendel says of his series The Ward. “They are life-affirming pictures, even though everyone they focused on did sadly die within a year of me taking them.” Originally from South Africa, Gideon Mendel is a committed photojournalist who has spent much of the last 20 years raising awareness of the global HIV/AIDS crisis, publishing numerous books on the subject shot in various countries. Now, as part of the Fitzrovia Chapel’s Lineage Programme, he’s showing his first-ever work on it.
Contrasting images of children shot in Congo and in Spain, Vicente Paredes questions perceptions of wealth and happiness, freedom and self-consciousness. Pony Congo is now going on show at Espace Images Vevey; this is an update of a BJP interview first published in 2016. “You have to bear in mind that the kids in my book will never meet in real life. It is the viewer who must imagine what would happen if they were to meet. Ideas such as colonialism, misery, pity and mistrust are in our minds, not in the pictures themselves.”
“The first time my American agent came here, she said ‘I can’t believe you do all these pictures in this little room’,” laughs Paolo Roversi as he looks around the modest space he’s used as his studio for more than three decades. The Italian remains one of the world’s most sought-after fashion photographers, having forged his reputation during the mid-1980s shooting inspired catalogues for designers such as Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, in an age when creatives were given unparalleled freedom of expression. Yet his studio is just a room in an unremarkable building in a nondescript arrondissement of southern Paris, furnished with battered chairs and old blankets. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The main issues in fashion currently are gender and identity, and a more inclusive image of beauty,” says Alessia Glaviano. “It partially comes from Instagram – Instagram has made a big change.” It’s forward-thinking comment for someone known for her work on world-famous print magazine Vogue Italia, but then Glaviano’s also known for pushing the boundaries. In addition to being senior photo editor on Vogue Italia, she’s web editor of vogue.it, and she’s also responsible for PhotoVogue – a curated online platform on which emerging photographers can submit their work. And in addition she’s director of the Photo Vogue Festival, the first-ever international festival of fashion photography, which is now back for the second time in Milan. “Well it went very well last year,” she says. “So here we are again.” Then there’s Vogue Italia itself. A very different beast to its more mainstream counterparts in the US and elsewhere, it sets the standard for cutting-edge fashion photography. It’s known for its adventurous and sometimes dark imagery, giving photographers such as Steve Meisel, Miles Aldridge, Ellen von Unwerth, …