Born in 1931 to a British diplomat and an American artist, Fay Simmonds married publisher Tony Godwin in 1961, and was introduced to the cream of literary London. Already a keen amateur photographer, by the 1970s she had started taking portraits of the writers she met and by the end of the 1980s had shot almost every significant figure of the period – including Philip Larkin, Saul Bellow, Angela Carter, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Doris Lessing, Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, and Tom Stoppard. But Fay Godwin was also a keen walker – in fact she led the Ramblers’ Association from 1987 to 1990 – and it was for her landscape photography that she became best known. Informed by a sense of ecological crisis, she shot books such as Rebecca the Lurcher (1973), The Oldest Road: An Exploration of the Ridgeway (1975), and co-authored Remains of Elmet: A Pennine Sequence with the poet Ted Hughes.
In 2017, Brian Griffin was invited to undertake an artist’s residency in Béthune-Bruay, northern France. Griffin, who is one of the most prominent British photographers of his generation, was initially selected because of the links between this region and his native Black Country, Midlands – both in terms of landscape and industrial heritage. But Griffin soon had other ideas, drawn from the fact that Béthune-Bruay was just ten miles from the Western Front during World War One. “I’m just a basic Black Country boy and I do make some obvious decisions, which do many times turn out to be fruitful,” he says. “So I decided to focus on the First World War.”
This “photographer’s photographer” is known for his measured understatement and his influential books, such as The Pond (1985) and Berlin in the Time of the Wall (2004). His latest, Looking Up Ben James – A Fable, will soon be published by Steidl, and he’s currently working on his next, The Last Days of Fontainebleau, shot in his hometown, Washington DC
How can art express movement in the human figure? And how does it convey emotion and strain through depictions of the body? A summer exhibition at Tate Liverpool will try to answer those questions by pairing work by influential 20th century American photographer, Francesca Woodman with drawings by Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele. Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman, which opens on 24th May, will investigate how Woodman’s photographs depict both physical movement and what she referred to as “the body’s inner force”. It will also highlight the relationship between the two artists’ work, and how Woodman’s images of the body from the late 1970s illuminate Schiele’s drawings – which were made more than fifty years before.
Tate Modern’s forthcoming show Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art will exhibit over 300 works by more than 100 artists, making it the first show of this scale to trace abstract art and photography’s parallel development. On show from 2 May to 15 October, the exhibition will span from early experiments of the 1900s to digital innovations of the present day, examining how photographers through the years have responded to the emerging field of abstract art. It will place pioneering work such as Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Vortographs (1917) and Imogen Cunningham’s Triangles (1928) alongside iconic paintings and sculptures by the likes of George Braque and Jackson Pollock.
Photographs of women prisoners typically depict them in their cells, behind bars, their femininity stripped away. In contrast to this, French photographer Bettina Rheims has made a series of studio-like portraits of women in four jails across France, images that seek to restore and capture the feminine aspect of their identity. Titled Détenues [Detained], the series comprises 68 frontal portraits shot against white walls in Autumn 2014, and is currently on show in the chapel of Château de Vincennes – a former royal castle near Paris, that housed ‘women of ill repute’ in the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition is accompanied by a book, published by Gallimard.
Peppers Hideout, Perv’s House, the High Chaparral, the Patio Lounge, and the Showcase Lounge – the names alone are intriguing. They were the clubs of Chicago’s South Side in the 197os, which played underground funk, blues, and early disco, and which also played host to a glamorous crowd of music-lovers. “It was a living self-contained theatre,” said Michael Abramson, the photographer who photographed the scene. A white man in a predominantly black crowd, popping off half a dozen rolls of film every night with a Leica and a flash, Abramson was an unlikely chronicler. But, throwing himself into the lifestyle, he was able to win his subjects’ trust by getting into their scene – caught on film drinking, laughing, and dancing with his subjects into small hours, he “had a ball”, he said. Born in New Jersey in 1948, Abramson was working on his Master of Photography from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago when he shot the series for this thesis; the photographs won him a National Endowment for the Arts in …
“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 …
In terms of history and photography, 1938 was a significant year. With Germany’s annexation of Austria, the Munich Agreement, the November Pogrom and the Évian Conference, which addressed the international response to the refugee crisis, it was a decisive point in time, with repercussions that would shape generations to come. It was also the year that six iconic photographers, who would document this shifting world, were born. This spring, the occasion will be honoured with a special celebration at the Sprengel Museum Hannover, titled 1938. Birthday Party with Guests. Initiated to commemorate the 80th anniversary of German photographer Heinrich Riebesehl, whose archive is housed at the museum, the exhibition evolved into a wider historical survey that sketches an international perspective on the second half of the 20th century. Joining Riebesehl are Johan van der Keuken, Josef Koudelka, Boris Mikhailov, Daido Moriyama and Helga Paris. For curator Inka Schube, this wave of artists born in 1938 represents a very particular generation: those who experienced the Second World War as children, too young to remember much more than playing in its rubble but growing up in the world it created.
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.