Now in its seventh edition, Unseen Amsterdam has confirmed itself as one of Europe’s most dynamic photography events. Featuring over 300 emerging and established artists, the release of the complete 2018 programme brings together the international photography community to discuss and debate the future of the medium. Running from 21-23 September in Westergasfabriek, Unseen Amsterdam will host over 85 photographic debuts. 50 galleries from 17 countries will be present, showcasing new work from emerging artists such as Mustafa Saeed from Somaliland, whose work explores war, environment and conflict; Keyezua from Angola, who revisits clichéd representations of African women, and France’s Elsa Leydier, who examines and reconstructs exotic environments. Inez & Vinoodh, Rafal Milach, and Isaac Julien will also premiere unseen work over the weekend. Also present at Unseen is CO-OP, a platform for international artist collectives to present their ideas and work in new and innovative ways. In its second year, collectives involved include the Migrant Image Research Group, exploring Mediterranean migration to Europe, 280-A from Vienna who challenge the concept of authorship, and Switzerland-based …
Rose Marie Cromwell went beyond the cliches to build an expressionistic homage to the Cuba she knows and loves. “I wanted to make images that investigated my complicated relationship to this specific place, rather than trying to document something ‘about’ Cuba,” she says.
Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1988, Hashem Shakeri studied architecture in TAFE (New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission of Australia), and started his professional photography career in 2010. In 2015 he was Commended in the Ian Parry Scholarship, and in 2017 his images were included in the Rencontres d’Arles exhibition Iran, Year 38, alongside work by photographers such as Abbas Kiarostami and Newsha Tavakolian.
Shakeri’s ongoing series on climate change in Sistan and Balouchestan looks at the effect of drought in the Iranian province, which is located in the southeast of the country, bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has been suffering from drought for the last 18 years, which has created severe famine in a region once famed for its agriculture and forests. “Nowadays, the Sistan region has faced astonishing climate change, which has turned this wide area into an infertile desert empty of people,” writes Shakeri.
“A lot of my work has undertones of female sexuality and ritual, because photography was a place where it was okay to explore those things,” says Tabitha Barnard, the oldest of four sisters raised in a close-knit, religious community in rural Maine. “In photographing my sisters, and in trying to find a private place to do that, we kind of found this escape. I could always just tell my parents it was make-believe.”
Growing up, the sisters were surrounded by stories of witches and monsters, often read to them by their mother with the intention of scaring them. They ended up becoming a topic of fascination instead, inspiring elaborate fantasy games the sisters would make up and play together. As Barnard got older, she began to look into the darker stories in the Bible, and was captivated by tales of wicked and promiscuous women like the Witch of Endor and the Whore of Babylon.
Belgian photographer Max Pinckers has won the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Award with his series Red Ink. He receives €25,000, plus a Leica M camera and lens.
Red Ink was shot in North Korea while Pinckers was on assignment for The New Yorker magazine, accompanying journalist Evan Osnos on a four-day trip in August 2017 – the height of the propaganda war with the US. Pinckers’ access to the country was heavily stage-managed by the North Korean government, which carefully set up scenes for him to photograph. Knowing that this would be the case, Pinckers shot the images with a flash, creating a sense of the artificial that tipped the scenes presented to him into the surreal.
“The ethics for me is the backbone of what we do. If we don’t follow strict ethics within our work, I think we are damaging the credibility of the whole of this profession,” says Bénédicte Kurzen, a photographer and member of the prestigious NOOR photography collective since 2012. Now she, and seven other NOOR photographers are putting her words into action, with three masterclasses offered free of charge to budding photojournalists.
Supported by Nikon Europe, the masterclasses are four days long, and each feature three tutors. Kurzen is teaming up with Sanne De Wilde and Francesco Zizola for the masterclass in Turin, held from 12-15 November; Tanya Habjouqa, Sebastian Liste and Kadir van Lohuizen are at the masterclass held in Budapest from 26-29 November; and Tanya Habjouqa, Jon Lowenstein and Léonard Pongo are at the masterclass held in Zürich from 03-06 December.
It’s six years since the inaugural edition of Unseen Amsterdam arrived with the mission to shake up the art fair model, focusing on emerging photographers and collectors, and instilling a welcome dose of fun to proceedings. And despite its beginnings during difficult times for arts funding, the ‘fair with a festival flair’ has largely succeeded, developing into something more ambitious than a glorified trade show, with its own public programme and a city-wide celebration of the medium in one of the world’s great photography capitals.
The emphasis remains on championing new talent, and with this in mind, the latest addition to Unseen is Futures, a cross-European photography platform bringing together 10 cultural institutions from around the continent, each with their own talent programmes.
Unseen Amsterdam has announced the 34 photobook dummies shortlisted for the Unseen Dummy Award 2018. Picked out from 212 submissions by a five-strong committee, the shortlist respects “a degree of rawness, including an ‘unfinished’ look and feel’, in keeping with the prize’s ethos of celebrating books-in-progress. The winner will be announced on 21 September at Unseen Amsterdam, after being picked out by an international jury including: Paul van Mameren, managing director of the award’s sponsor Lecturis; Sarah Allen, assistant curator, Tate Modern; Tim Clark, editor-in-chief and director, 1000 Words; Russet Lederman, co-founder, 10×10 Photobooks; and Małgorzata Stankiewicz, winner of the Unseen Dummy Award 2017. Stankiewicz’s winning book dummy, cry of an echo, was published by Lecturis in May. Showing the Białowieża Forest, the last remaining primeval forest in Poland, Stankiewicz used several unusual interventions when processing her images – including masking, uneven development, and even bleaching – to protest against the intensive logging which has been allowed in the forest by new legislation passed in 2016. Unseen Amsterdam takes place from 21-23 September at Westergasfabriek https://unseenamsterdam.com
Projects exploring mysterious religious rituals in Russia, Soviet health resorts in Poland, and Ukrainian school graduations all feature on the shortlist for this year’s New East Photo Prize. Including 16 photographers from Latvia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Croatia, Slovakia and Azerbaijan, the shortlisted series will be exhibited as part of a group show this autumn.
“Each of the shortlisted photographers demonstrate a unique approach to the people, places and stories that shape the region,” says Ekow Eshun, creative director of Calvert. “The prize has proven itself once again to be an important space for emerging photographers to gain international recognition, and we look forward to working with each of them in the exhibition and beyond.”
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.”