When New York-based photographer Marc Ohrem-Leclef first travelled to India eight years ago he was struck by the “small, shared moments of intimacy” that he saw men displaying towards one another in public – admiring the openness with which they made what he assumed were public displays of romantic love. “As a gay man, I was quite excited by what I thought was romantic freedom,” he says. “Men would be holding hands or leaning against each other in public. There was a connectivity that I thought was really beautiful.” He quickly learnt that things were not as he had first thought, that the men he saw were not necessarily romantically involved at all and were often just expressing friendship.
Documentary images of North Korea have trickled steadily into the media landscape since the late 1990s. Since those granted access to the region are afforded little freedom to be creative, their main depictions are usually of totalitarian dictatorship, state-sanctioned ideologies, normalised militarism, and colossal architecture, all of which have become over-familiar in images of the country. This documentary déjà vu is what prompted Eddo Hartmann to pursue a multimedia project about North Korea, to act as a record for what many of us cannot see. The photographer visited Pyongyang, the country’s capital, four times between 2014 and 2017, creating thousands of large and medium format digital images of the city’s architecture and citizens. “I kept seeing images in this World Press Photo kind of style,” he explains. “I knew that if I were to go there, it would not be the way that I would take pictures, because it wouldn’t be interesting.”
It’s the 21st year of the prize, and this year the shortlisted projects by Mathieu Asselin, Rafal Milach, Batia Suter, and Luke Willis Thompson all “reflect a shared concern with the production and manipulation of knowledge and systems of representation through visual formats”, say the organisers of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018. Mathieu Asselin (b. 1973, France) has been nominated for Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation, which was published this year by Actes Sud and exhibited at Les Rencontres d’Arles, and which has already won the First Book of the Year in the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2017.
For Susannah Ray to get into the centre of New York city, she must first travel over a series of bridges and waterways. Whether driving across Jamaica Bay or taking the subway from her home in Rockaway Beach, Queens to Brooklyn or Manhattan, she repeatedly finds herself captivated by the sights she encounters – the sky changing colour above the water; the birdwatchers on the shores; men fishing near a scrap metal yard, up to their waists in waders. She sees groups of people performing religious rituals, gatherings and prayers on the banks of the river. She sees more simply being. Ray’s image of New York is utterly coloured by its relationship with the water. So when she decided to create a portrait on the city, she decided to use those urban waterways to weave it all together. “The water serves so many different purposes for so many different people,” she says. “It acted as a focal point. The communal draw symbolises that idea of coexistence.”
Frenchman Antoine de Beaupré has been collecting vinyl for almost 30 years and has amassed an archive of 15,000 LPs; his friend Serge Vincendet is also a vinyl junkie, and runs the Monster Melodies record shop in Paris. But they also appreciate the finer points of photography so together, with help from Rencontres d’Arles festival director Sam Stourdzé, they’ve put together a highly successful exhibition celebrating album cover images. Called Total Records the exhibition features more than 600 LPs, mostly from de Beaupré’s personal collection but also including covers supplied by Vincendet. It was a popular exhibition at Rencontres d’Arles in 2015, and it has since gone on an equally successful world tour; its latest stop is at the Fundación Foto Colectania in Barcelona, where it’s now on show until 11 March 2018. The earliest cover in this exhibition is Richard Rodgers’ Rodgers – Hart Musical Comedy Hits by Columbia Records, which dates back to 1940 and features a photograph by an unknown photographer, but visitors can also enjoy covers right up to the present day, across all genres …
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