Peter James was an instrumental figure in British photography, establishing an outstanding collection of photography at the Library of Birmingham over his 26-year career at the institution, and researching and curating exhibitions at the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ikon Galley, the Library of Birmingham, and many more. He was also a modest and affable man, universally known as Pete and as at home over a curry as in a lecture hall delivering an academic paper. As Hilary Roberts, research curator at the Imperial War Museum, put it in a tribute on James’ Facebook page: “Pete has been a wonderful friend and exceptional colleague for more years than I can remember. His contribution to the world of photography cannot be overstated. It was a privilege to work with him and I will miss him more than I can say.”
“I never had trouble walking up to people and asking them to take their picture,” photographer Arlene Gottfried (1950-2017) told The Guardian in 2014. Largely unknown to the public for the majority of her career, it was her black-and-white photographs of New York in the 1970s-80s that first sparked an interest in her work. Looking at them, it’s clear that Gottfried had a way with people as well as with images. “Arlene had a way of looking at the world with curiosity and love that was distinctly her own,” says Daniel Cooney, who runs a gallery of the same name currently showing Gottfried’s work.
Based in Lagos, Nigeria, A Whitespace Creative Agency is in the business of “creating narratives for a new vision of contemporary Africa”. It was set up in 2014 by Papa Omotayo after he “saw the need for creatives to have a platform and organisation that aimed to push new ideas being developed by a new generation of visual artists,” says Omotayo. “We sought to bring young dynamic creatives and pair them with local and international brands and organisations,” he continues, “whilst also developing personal projects and programmes that focused on art and culture as a currency and catalyst for change within the city of Lagos.” AWCA works with local and international brands and NGOs, creating lookbooks, campaigns, editorials, documentaries and films; it also works on projects presenting the cream of Lagos’ talent overseas. AWCA’s collaboration with Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh won Best New Director at the Fashion Film Festival in Milan in 2016, for example; in 2016 AWCA took up a ten-day residency in London, showcasing some of its creatives, giving photographer Kadara Enyeasi a …
“I’m a bit at a loss at the moment; to say that I’m honoured feels like an understatement,” says photographer Daniel Shea, who has won the 12th Foam Paul Huf Award. “I’ve been following this award and Foam for a long time, and I feel incredibly honored, grateful, lucky, and humbled by this opportunity.” Shea has won the prize with his series 43-35 10th Street, described as a reflection on late capitalism and its effects on New York City. He wins €20,000 and a solo show at the Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam, which will take place in Autumn this year.
“Philip always hated being called a ‘war photographer,’” says Hannah Watson, director of TJ Boulting Gallery, of Philip Jones Griffiths. “He wasn’t interested in the ‘action’ that you often associated with war photography.” Instead, Watson draws attention to the careful consideration and intelligence behind each of the Magnum photographer’s shots. “In a single image he could give insight and an in-depth analysis to a complex situation,” she says.
French photographer Valérie Belin’s portraits are not what they seem. Often focusing on the female form, they pick out the intersection between nature and culture in the construction of human identity. “In my work you always see someone who wants to be someone else,” says Belin. “With these portraits, I transform them into someone else.” Early on in her career she was interested in typologies, and created series on bodybuilders and Michael Jackson lookalikes. Her 2001 series Transsexuels is about metamorphosis, and shows trans women at the beginning of their transition; in 2003 she cerated Mannequins, using soft light and eye-level viewpoints to breathe life into realistic shop dummies. “Suddenly you realise this is a representation of Western beauty; a representation of a stereotype,” she says – a stereotype she aims to deconstruct. Belin is primarily a studio photographer but some of her shots are captured outdoors – the superimpositions in Brides (2012) show fast food joints and sex shops shot in New York, for example, juxtaposed with a photograph of a bride. For Belin, these …
Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, which addresses the control of the one-party Communist government, and United States of Vietnam, which looks at the slow victory of capitalism over communism and its consequences for Vietnam’s economy. Using a combination of a staged, typological form of photography in United States of Vietnam, and a more autonomous, naturalistic style for Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, Sapienza intends to leave something for the viewer to work out. “They have to try to put their feet in the author’s shoes,” he says. “They just need to get the leitmotiv of your project, not the full, descriptive content. In that exchange lives the real core of the project.”
Photography is often considered a solitary pursuit, but the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) in Toronto, Canada hopes to overturn this conception with a research project led by artists, scholars, and curators such as Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Leigh Raiford, and Laura Wexler. Now an exhibition at RIC called Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography is putting their work on view. Featuring approximately 90 photographic projects the work on show demonstrates some of the many ways photographers have collaborated with their subjects and other participants. It includes Wendy Ewald’s Reciprocating in Arabic installation, which combines image and text in an attempt to show the experience of walking through the Arabic language, and WEB Du Bois’ The Potential of the Archive I, a look into the history and present challenges of black America, among many other projects.
In the late 1980s, while studying, David Moore made a series of colour photographs depicting the everyday lives of working class communities in Derby. In Pictures From the Real World, since published as a book by Dewi Lewis, we meet married couple Lisa and John, among others. Intrigued by the notion of returning photographs to the contexts from which they came, Moore had the idea for a new imagining of the work as a piece of verbatim theatre (drama derived from unedited spoken transcripts), through which the photographs could be ‘returned’ to the couple. Moore invited Lisa and her now ex-husband John to work with him on what he calls an “archive intervention” – to create new dialogues from the photographs. From this The Lisa and John Slideshow was born, a 45-minute play written and directed by Moore, assisted by Gavin Dent, where actors played the couple.
Tackling excessive consumption and its parlous effect on the environment and on mental health, Excessocenus uses brightly-coloured, staged images rather than the gritty photojournalism more familiar in this field. “On one hand we wanted to point out the culture of excess that is driving the planet to a total collapse, but on the other hand we also wanted to make a point about how this dramatic situation is normally presented to the audience,” says its creators, Cristina de Middel and Bruno Morais