Christopher Bethell’s work comes from a desire to explore his identity, making his personal reflections universal. His complex relationship to home comes from his dual American and British citizenship. Despite never having visited America, he has always thought of it as a home, and so embarked on his major MA project, The Duke of Earl, last year in the US, as a way to document his understanding of this new but familiar place. What followed was a struggle between cliche and authenticity, as Christopher came to terms with the stereotypes that had informed his perception of this fractured home. Christopher’s interest in photography was first sparked at the age of 19, and he quickly threw himself into the medium, studying at Mid Cheshire College, Staffordshire University, and finally at London College of Communication, where he received a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. He cites his most valuable lessons as those about the foundations of photographic theory, and the ethics of representation, which have changed the way he approaches projects and commissions. Since graduating he …
Rome-based photographer Francesca Pompei is our first OpenWalls Editor’s Pick photographer, having been selected by our online editor Diane Smyth as one of this month’s best entries, and voted for on social media by our readers. Her work is focused on art and architecture, and she rarely features people in her photographs, with the exception of her father. Francesca is a member of the board of the Italian Association of Professional Photographers, and her photographs have been exhibited at events worldwide, from Art Basel Miami, to Frieze Art Fair in New York, and KAIF-Korean International Art Fair in Seoul. In 2016, her works were among the top rated entries to the Magnum Photography Awards. Francesca entered OpenWalls because exhibiting in Arles has long been an ambition of hers. Her selected image responds to the notion of home, and captures her father at the Centrale Montemartini, which is one of Francesca’s favourite places to visit in Rome. Keeping up a long-held tradition of going on a Saturday outing with her father, Francesca cites these weekly trips …
Seven European festivals make the best of their locations and the late-summer timing to show off al fresco programmes this September – Visa Pour l’Image, Getxophoto, BredaPhoto, Festival Images Vevey, Landskrona Foto Festival, Guernsey Photo Festival, and Brighton Photo Biennial
Our very first OpenWalls exhibition will be held next year in Arles. We are looking for up to 50 photographers to exhibit as part of a month-long group show at Galerie Huit Arles during Les Rencontres d’Arles 2019. The exhibition is calling photographers to respond to the theme Home and Away, with images capturing a sense of escapism, belonging or identity. But why is exhibiting in Arles such an important rite of passage for photographers? “The opening week of Les Rencontres d’Arles summer festival attracts the Who’s Who of the photography world,” explains Julia de Bierre, the owner of Galerie Huit Arles, and an OpenWalls judge. “They all descend on Arles to participate in this extraordinary celebratory event.” Photo editors, curators, gallery owners and photography dealers all head to Arles not only to see works by old masters, but also to poach undiscovered talent, looking to the coinciding Voies Off festival, as well as independent galleries and street artists, to commission new work. The festival also yields a huge amount of media attention, this year receiving …
Internet penetration in Kenya has grown so rapidly over the past decade that the country has been dubbed the “Silicon Savannah”. In 2009, a submarine fibre optic cable linking Mombasa to the rest of the world was launched, and construction of “Kenya Vision 2030” is now underway – a £11.2bn, 5000-acre technology city expected to create around 60,000 jobs in the IT sector.
Household tech names such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, and Vodafone all have a presence in Kenya, and, says 27-year-old German photographer Janek Stroisch, “young entrepreneurs are seizing this opportunity as a chance to make change”. “Hundreds of youths have used the internet to launch start-up companies to try to create jobs for themselves,” he adds, “because sadly there aren’t enough to go around.”
“The new interest in street photography over the last decade and a half is perhaps the single biggest global movement photography has seen in its 170-year history,” says Nick Turpin, creative director of Street London, the third annual edition of the festival dedicated to street photography, taking place at D&AD’s new east London space from 17 to 19 August.
The three-day event, hosted by Hoxton Mini Press, includes guest speakers, shoots, panel talks and, of course, a street party on the Saturday night. There is also an opportunity for photographers to pitch for a 10-minute slot on stage, the Spotlight sessions, where 12 successful applicants will present their projects to an audience for constructive feedback. The theme for discussion this year revolves around how street photography is being redefined by photographers who have emerged from other backgrounds, including photojournalism, art photography and portraiture and how this has influenced them today. There is also a conscious view to look to contemporary expressions of genre.
“If you live in Russia, you’re taught to love your family, and love your nation. It’s part of your life and education, we even have classes teaching patriotism at school,” says Alexander Anufriev, whose new project takes a closer look at what makes a modern Russia.
The idea for Russia Close-up came while he was studying at The Rodchenko Art School in Moscow, and starting to feel disillusioned with documentary photography. “At the time, it was important for me to tell stories and for them to be the truth, but it started to feel like a little bit of a lie,” he explains. “Even if you’re trying to be totally objective, it is always a bit subjective.
“I stopped shooting for six months, and I was about to quit photography, but then I thought, ‘What if I tried to be completely subjective?’ So I cropped the images very tightly, and included only the elements I wanted to show. It was a farewell to convention.” Unconventional it may be, but the series has already had some success, exhibited in Cardiff, Sydney, and Saint Petersburg, and winning third place in the Moscow Photobookfest Dummy book award.
An international jury, comprised of Rein Desle, curator and editor at FoMu Photo Museum Antwerp; Andrea Holzherr, director of exhibitions and curator at Magnum Photos France; and Ana Morales, director of programmes at PHotoESPANA, have selected Roger Grasas as the winner of this year’s Descubrimientos (or ‘discoveries’) PHE 18 Award. They have commended Grasas’ “capacity to document a global issue from a personal perspective”, inviting him to exhibit his work at the next edition of the festival. The Catalan photographer has won the award with his series Ha Aretz, an exploration of biblical sites. Created over seven years, in ancient locations across Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, the series recalls biblical landscapes, photographed in juxtaposition to contemporary conditions, such as globalisation, tourism, consumerism, and the aftermath of war. Aiming to reflect on the possible evolution, or involution, of these ancestral regions, Grasas encourages the viewer to consider these sites in a postmodern world, where they serve as a backdrop for fast-food chains, the invasion of mass tourism, and changes in the landscape caused …
“I was the first to move to New Brighton, and it was by sheer chance,” says Tom Wood. “I studied fine art part-time [a Fine Art Painting BA at Leicester Polytechnic], then went back to the car factory where I had worked before. Then I found a job as a photo technician at the poly [now Wirral Metropolitan College, where he went on to teach], and we moved there in September 1978.”
Thus began a golden age for photography in New Brighton, which lasted until 2003 when Wood moved to his current home in North Wales. In the intervening 25 years, Ken Grant also lived in New Brighton from 1992-2002, studying for a spell at Wirral Met, and Martin Parr was based just 20 minutes away from 1982-1985. Between them the three photographers created a huge body of work on the seaside town, which is based just across the River Mersey from Liverpool in North England.
When Polish photographer Wiktoria Wojciechowska first heard about the ongoing Ukrainian conflict she was in China, shooting a project titled Short Flashes, which went on to win the 2015 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award. “I was cracking the internet but everything was so blocked I couldn’t get any information,” she says. “I was asking all my friends, then I realised not many people knew about it, even though it’s so close [as Ukraine borders Poland]. I was really inspired to go by fear, by wondering how I would react if the same thing happened in my country.”