The overwhelming sense of being surrounded by people yet feeling alone among them is a well documented facet of city life. And even if you are among the 46 percent of the world’s population living in a rural environment, you’ll be familiar with the emblematic image of urban disconnection in which tower blocks loom over bustling streets filled with scurrying figures. But what happens when the day is over and each individual retreats into their home for a moment of calm after the storm? London-based photographer Aristotle Roufanis is fascinated by this experience of collective solitude. Trained as a civil engineer, he has an affinity for the urban structures that characterise major cities all over the world.
“It’s got nothing to do with Brexit or Europe!” says curator Greg Hobson. “I think we can’t begin to understand that yet. It’s just being addressed by photographers now. We’re discussing the exhibition A Green and Pleasant Land – British Landscape and the Imagination: 1970s to Now, which he’s curated with Brian Cass, head of exhibitions at Towner Art Gallery, and which recently opened at the Towner. Including over 100 works by 50 artists (52 if you count the people in duos separately), it’s a major survey of the land we live on and how photographers have shown it, including image-makers such as John Blakemore, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Fay Godwin, John Davies, Paul Graham, and Theo Simpson.
The 22 year-old has shot Poundbury and Milton Keynes, among others, to pick out how we shape the environment – and how it then shapes us. “I quickly realised the importance of human presence within these urban environments; how we change them over time and how the environment changes us.”
Uganda’s population is one of the youngest in the world, with 77% of the population under the age of 30, and 52% less than 15 years old. It’s also one of the fastest-growing, with a population grown rate of 3.3%, compared to a world average of 1.2%. It’s a dynamic that, as Irish photographer Robert Ellis points out, means the country is poised for rapid change.
The September issue brings the otherwise invisible into sharp focus. Invisible World explores forgotten conflicts, intimate retreats, abused landscapes and remote islands to uncover the hidden realities and unknown societies behind ordinary backdrops. “As social beings, we all demand to be seen,” says Hoda Afshar, whose latest series, Behold, takes us to an exclusive male-only bathhouse. Her point resonates with all the photoseries explored in this issue: how do we negotiate our surroundings, how do we see our societies, how do we interpret our world? We need to first see the invisible to answer these ever salient questions.
The director of Seen Fifteen Gallery on her five favourite at Arles this year – from the official programme, the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award, and the LUMA Foundation Parc des Ateliers
For his latest project, Andreas Mühe has opened a dialogue between the centuries. For alongside the photographs of austere politicians and dramatic cliffs in Pathos as Distance, he has interwoven excerpts from a novel, 1913 – The Year before the Storm by Florian Illies. In doing so, he hopes to give readers a sense of perspective about our own, increasingly fractious era. “1913 reminded me a little bit of our here and now,” says Mühe. “This unburdened and rather easy-going lifestyle right before World War One breaks out – [the start of the war] completely surprising, but very predictable at the same time.
Born in 1908, Minor White lived at a time when being openly gay was risky. He remained in the closet for much of his life, fearful of losing his teaching positions at institutions such as the California School of Fine Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology – a factor which helped shape his aesthetic vision, argues an exhibition of his work currently on show in Madrid, “employing close-ups and cropping to express what couldn’t be shown”.
Val Williams is co-curating a show on seaside photography for Turner Contemporary – and is asking photographers to submit their work for consideration. The exhibition will launch in Margate in summer 2019 before going on tour around the UK, and is being curated by Val Williams and Karen Shepherdson – director of the photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) at the London College of Communication, and director of the South East Archive of Seaside Photography respectively. They want to produce a collection which explores “how the medium of photography has both shaped and exposed the multiple layers of the seaside resort”, they say.
The Promise is book two in Vasantha Yogananthan’s ambitious seven-book project, A Myth of Two Souls. Inspired by the epic story The Ramayana, which was written by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki in around 300 BC, The Myth will retrace The Ramayana’s route from North to South India, and show scenes from everyday life that evoke its imagery. Yogananthan is producing one book for each chapter of the original story; he started the project with a book called Early Times, which helped him win the ICP Infinity Award Emerging Photographer of the Year. Book two, The Promise, has been nominated for the 2017 Author Book Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles (along with image-makers such as Antoine Agata, JH Engstrom, and Roe Ethridge). Throughout The Myth, Yogananthan is working with three different types of image – landscapes, hand-painted staged portraits, and illustrated black-and-white photographs. The hand-painting is done on large-format black-and-white photographs by Indian artist Jaykumar Shankar. In the illustrated photographs, he has been working with two artists specialising in the tradition of Madhubani painting. “In Yogananthan’s hands, The Ramayana story becomes a …