It would be an understatement to say that the legacy of Gyula Halász – better known by his pseudonym, Brassaï – has been the object of extensive research and countless curatorial projects. Yet the Fundación Mapfre, the private institution that has shown the highest devotion to photography in Spain, has entrusted Peter Galassi, the former chief curator of photography at Museum of Modern Art, to conduct what will probably be the definitive exhibition about the Hungarian-French photographer at its Barcelona gallery, the Garriga i Nogués exhibition hall (19 February to 13 May). The exhibition could be considered to be Galassi’s biggest curatorial endeavour so far since he retired from MoMA, and the catalogue, published by Fundación Mapfre, can attest to the pertinence of this major survey of Brassaï.
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.
On 13 February, Çağdaş Erdoğan will stand trial in Istanbul accused of membership and support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist group classified as a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government. Erdoğan is of Kurdish descent, grew up in the region and, as an adult, embedded with affiliates of the PKK during the complex, multifactional conflict that has crossed the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. But he did so, he claims, purely as a photojournalist intent on documenting an unseen conflict for the world’s media and without any alliance with or allegiance to any organisation. His only allegiance was to photography.
Last month BJP focused in on group work; this month we’re looking at a different kind of collaboration – projects in which photographers engage in a two-way dialogue with their subjects. One of the best – and the best-known – examples is Jim Goldberg, who works with subjects such as teenage runaways and migrants to tell wide-sweeping stories of marginalisation and economic disparity. Using an eclectic mix of photographs, archive materials and video, and both marking up himself and invites his subjects to write on, he creates complex montages guided by his sense of “intimacy, trust and intuition”. Incorporating the perspectives of the communities and subcultures he represents, his work is informed by his own background in a blue-collar family in New Haven.
Situated on the harbour in the Stadsgårdskajen district of Stockholm is the privately-owned and commercially-run photography centre Fotografiska. A self-styled museum housed in an impressive and beautifully-renovated former customs house, built in 1906 in the Art Nouveau style, Fotografiska opened in 2010, and has since exhibited the work of renowned photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Joel-Peter Witkin, Anders Petersen, Sarah Moon and Christer Strömholm, to name but a few. Two of the most recent solo exhibitions were of the photojournalist Paul Hansen and the fashion and art photographer Viviane Sassen. Such is the success of Fotografiska that the museum is now set to open two new galleries, with others planned for the future. New York will be first, then London – and the plans for London would make the world’s largest photography gallery.
British Journal of Photography is a thoroughly international publication, dedicated to showcasing the best of photography from around the world.
Since 2009, around 400 acres of land in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a commune in the west of France, has been home to Europe’s largest rural protest camp. Led by a mix of environmental activists and locals, the ZAD (which roughly translates to ‘Zone To Defend’ in English) developed in opposition to the construction of an international airport that would wipe out the wildlife and villages of the area. Though these plans have stalled for several years now, the ZAD has taken root, growing into a self-sufficient community complete with its own markets, bakery, brewery, theatre space, newspaper and even a pirate radio station. Intrigued by people and the structures that bind them, sociologist-turned-photographer Kevin Faingnaert spent a month documenting the ZAD as part of his participation in World Press Photo’s most recent Joop Swart Masterclass.
The medium of photography is inherently entwined with memory and nostalgia, especially when it relates to family history. For Christopher Bethell, the recollections of his American grandfather, Joseph ‘Joey’ O’Donnell, were shaped by the few photographs he saw of his relative while growing up in the seemingly unglamorous northern town of Stockport, England. Joey passed away when Bethell was a baby, and the photographer developed a fiction around him – that of a jazz musician who had left his family for a doomed second shot at his career, before falling for the temptations of Las Vegas and ending up in an early grave. Yet when he eventually sat down with his grandmother to find out what she remembered of Joey and their life together in the US, he uncovered “a story that was far more complex and much less cinematic”. In an attempt to deconstruct his own romanticised timeline of his grandfather and – as a dual citizen of the UK and the US – to discover America for himself, Bethell took a six-week road trip taking in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Reno and Seattle in 2015, ending the journey in Clarkston, Washington, where his grandfather had settled at the end of his life. The subsequent series is affectionately titled The Duke of Earl, a reference to the song by Gene Chandler, which Joey had sung to his future wife the first time they met. Divided into four chapters, Bethell’s images are prefaced with a family photograph of Joey, each followed by its inscription on the back, penned by Joey.
With more than 560 federally recognised tribes across the US, the Native American community is as diverse as it is geographically sprawling. In 2013, Italian photographer Carlotta Cardana and writer Danielle SeeWalker, an enrolled tribal member of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, set out to build a portrait of contemporary Native American identity through words and images. An ongoing work, The Red Road Project has so far taken them 15,000 miles across the States. The pair first met in drama class at school in Nebraska, then began working together after SeeWalker invited the now London-based photographer to attend a ceremony at Standing Rock. What began as a collaboration between two close friends has grown into a project of epic proportions with one clear mission: to challenge the reductive stereotypes and damaging narratives that characterise media representations of Native Americans, who now comprise just 1 per cent of the US population.
“The Magnum/BJP series of workshops have been extraordinarily rewarding for me,” says Beren Patterson. “Despite being only two intense days per topic, the depth, coverage and expertise from Magnum photographers, industry speakers, and fellow attendees is incredible. I can’t recommend the workshops strongly enough for those wanting to be inspired and grow as a photographer.” Patterson has attended all of the Magnum/BJP workshops to date – and has already signed up for the 2018 series, which kicks off on 17-18 February with session titled Editorial Assignments – How to succeed in the editorial market.