From mass shootings to a family hotel – the shortlist for the 2018 First Book Award is nothing if not eclectic. Set up in 2012 to support emerging talent, the First Book Award is open to previously unpublished photographers who have been nominated by an international panel of experts, and previous winners include Irish photographer Ciarán Óg Arnold, Polish photographer Joanna Piotrowska, and Malagasy photographer Emmanuelle Andrianjafy. The ten shortlisted photographers this year come from all over the world, including Indian photographer Tenzing Dapka, Japanese photographer Hayahisa Tomiyasu, and Australian photographer Lionel Kiernan.
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
Kathleen Fox-Davies and Anna Kirrage first met when they worked together at a Mayfair gallery. Eight years later, they’ve set up their own outfit – Black Box Projects. “We always attended art events together, so we retained a continual dialogue about the art market and our respective interests,” Kirrage tells BJP. “We have always worked in small businesses where there wasn’t necessarily room for growth, so the obvious step was to start out on our own.” Fox-Davies is a photography specialist with over a decade of experience in galleries such as Michael Hoppen, Hasted Hunt and ATLAS, while Kirrage’s experience is in managing art organisations’ PR and strategy. Drawing on their complementary skills, they’ve decided to break the traditional gallery mould and will run Black Box Projects as a series of pop-up installations, rather than opening a permanent space.
Marrakech is a hub of arts-related activity this February. On the 24th, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair launches its first edition on the continent, and on the same day the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden opens a special exhibition and programme, Africa Is No Island. Curated by Afrique in visu, the latter exhibition is a physical embodiment of everything the photography platform has been working towards since it was started a decade ago online with the mission to develop a professional network for photographers across the continent and the wider diaspora.
“We’ve had five great extinctions,” says Edward Burtynsky. “Now our species is having a similar effect – we are the equivalent of a meteor impact.” He’s currently working on a five-year project on the Anthropocene – the proposed name for our current geological age, an age on which human activity has had a profound and still ultimately unknown impact. A multidisciplinary initiative with long-term collaborators Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencie, Anthropocene includes images showing urbanisation, urbanisation, industrialisation and mining, from oil bunkering and sawmills in Nigeria to the salt mines of the Ural Mountains. Now a preview of this project, plus other new work by the renown Canadian artist including an AR experience, is going on show at Photo London 2018, which takes place from 17-20 May at Somerset House. The public programme, which is supported by LUMA Foundation, will also include an exhibition called Exit from Paradise: Japanese & Chinese Contemporary Photography, presented by Korean curator Jiyoon Lee, and a photography-themed installation by set designer Es Devlin. The International Center of Photography (ICP) and Photo London will …
Arunà Canevascini was nominated by Erik Kessels for the richness of her projects, which merge femininity, domesticity and migration. In Villa Argentina, Canevascini examines these themes through elaborately-designed images in which the domestic settings she photographs are disrupted by intrusions from both the history of art and her own family past.
Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island is a concise compendium of Britain over the past few years and is an excellent visual survey of the run-up to Brexit. The photographs examine rich and complex variations of Britain that are now even more poignant after last year’s vote. Images of election campaigning in clean and tidy suburbia, protests, the aftermath of riots in London, diamond jubilee celebrations, rock concerts, a family enjoying Brighton beach, computer screens of the trading floor of Lloyds – the list goes on. Roberts has managed to capture all the major events in juxtaposition with minor situations that are large with meaning, from the dead of the Iraq war being saluted by Army veterans through Wootton Bassett to an depiction of impoverished mothers and children at a youth club in Blackburn. Contained within each photograph are mini dramas, cheap-looking high streets with pound shops set against Victorian architecture. Roberts shows a Britain at odds with itself. Rather than a harmonious society, we sense fragmentation and awkwardness and a yearning for a glorious past that never existed.
Federica Chiocchetti, the writer, curator, lecturer, and founding director of the photo-literary platform Photocaptionist picks out her top five of the year – including Giorgio Di Noto’s The Iceberg, published by Edition Patrick Frey
Patricia Karallis and Giada De Agostinis, founding editor and editor of the online photography magazine, pick out their top five of the year – including Vincent Ferrané’s book Milky Way
Vogue Italia’s picture editor picks out Monica Alcazar Duarte’s The New Colonists as one of her top five of 2017 – and throws in one more selection for luck