Titled XO, Josh Adam Jones’ graduation project investigates expatriate communities in Oman. “I had informed myself about Middle Eastern culture and the social landscape in the country before visiting, so upon arrival I was eager to embrace everything I was presented with,” he says. “The atmosphere was hugely welcoming, albeit stiflingly hot.”
Born in Cheltenham in 1995, and a recent documentary photography graduate from the University of the West of England, Jones says his inquisitive nature pushed him towards social documentary photography. “I like meeting people, so looking outwards, as opposed to photographing my own ‘backyard’, always felt natural,” he says. “Images have a wonderful potency that other mediums cannot quite match.”
Born in Barcelona in 1971, Txema Salvans is still based in the Catalan capital, and specialises in making documentary work about Spain and the Spanish people. He is best known for his book The Waiting Game , which showed lone women, presumably prostitutes, waiting by the sides of roads along the Mediterranean coast. Salvans spent six years shooting this project, and recently published The Waiting Game II , a series showing fisherman on the Mediterranean coast, waiting for the fish to bite. In 2010 he published Nice to Meet You, also shot along the Mediterranean, a book of ‘family photos’ in which some of those shown weren’t family.
His new book, My Kingdom, recently published by Mack Books, originally grew out of Nice to Meet You, and shows Spanish people and families relaxing on the Mediterranean coast. Its title is taken from a speech by King Juan Carlos I, however, who ruled Spain from 22 November 1975 – 19 June 2014, and extracts from his speeches run throughout the book. It is, says Salvans, a book about power rather than about Spain, the Spanish, or King Juan Carlos I. BJP caught up with him to find out more.
“There is a term to describe the cultural ache that Koreans go through: Han. A complex intermingling of historical, collective and personal sorrow, acceptance of a bitter present, and a hope of a better future.” Introduced to the term by a North Korean defector, Herman Rahman decided to adopt it as the framing concept for his project of the same name.
Han traces the collective history of the notoriously closed regime of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, relying largely on archival imagery and found text to probe at the borders of a near-impenetrable subject. The work is an interrogation, not only of the secrecy of the North Korean state, but also of the nature of photography itself.
Growing up, photographer Tom Roche learned about his Romani Gypsy heritage only through fragmentary stories and speculation. “My great, great uncle was stabbed in the heart with a wooden stake because he owed money for land,” says Roche, a recent University of the West of England graduate. “Then I had one aunt, aunt Liz, who used to pick crops, one aunt that made baskets, and another who sold pegs – or so I’m told; I don’t have any images, records, or concrete facts of my ancestors.”
“In the EU today, we take women’s rights for granted,” says Marina Paulenka, director of Organ Vida, a three-week international photography event held annually in Zagreb. Founded in 2008, the festival has always been driven by political context, and this year, for its 10th edition, its all-female team have chosen to emphasise female-identifying perspectives from around the globe.
“In a time of post-capitalist global turmoil, technological advancements, with the strengthening of rightwing extremism, the growing influence of religion that limits women’s rights again, and the semblance of democracy in the 21st century, we are facing a situation in which women must fight anew for the rights that had been won long ago,” Paulenka insists.
Pasko Kuzman wears four watches because he believes they help him travel through time. He’s an archaeologist who works in an office called Troy, searching for the burial site of Alexander the Great, and other elements of Macedonia’s Classical past.
Kuzman is one of the many characters Michał Siarek met while photographing Alexander, an exploration of Macedonian national identity by way of ‘Skopje 2014’. Set up in 2010 (and originally slated to end in 2014), the Skopje 2014 project hopes to make Skopje a tourist attraction by drawing on its history – Macedonia was once part of Ancient Greece, and shares its name with a Northern Greek province, but is now so far removed from its heritage that its neighbour lobbied for it to be called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Photomontage artist Peter Kennard is among 40 artists who have demanded their work be removed from London’s Design Museum after discovering the institution had hosted a private event associated with the arms trade. The museum complied with the requests to return work by 01 August, but defended its curatorial independence from its need to raise funds and sponsorships.
In an open letter, the artists said that they are “appalled” that the London institution arranged for Italian aerospace company Leonardo to hold an event on 17 July, during the Farnborough International Airshow. A demonstration outside the museum also took place on the same day (02 August) in which several artists arrived to collect their works.
Photography is generally accepted as a medium representing reality or the idea of that revealing what you see before you, onto a two-dimensional plane. Multiple Planes, an exhibition organised by Thai New Wave Photography, uses its platform to construct works, in terms of its materials, processes and notions, that relate to photography through atypical dimensions. “It’s a place where you can expect to see inventive works,” says curator Mary Pansanga.
“Most people would walk by a dump pile and assume that there’s no picture there,” says global industrial landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky. “But there’s always a picture, you just have to go in there and find it.” Born in Canada in 1955, Burtynsky has been investigating human-altered landscapes in his artistic practice for over 35 years, capturing the sweeping views of nature altered by industry; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, and silicon. “Of course, it’s important to me to make sure that my pictures are attractive to the eye,” he says. “But beneath the surface there’s always a bigger, deeper environmental issue.”
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 …