On 7 September 2017, just before midnight, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake hit Mexico’s southern coast, the second strongest earthquake in the country’s history. It was felt by 50 million people across Mexico and, in the heavily affected states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, killed dozens of people and left over 100,000 homes damaged.
When the earthquake hit, Andres Millan was living in his hometown in Bogota, Colombia, preparing for a four-month residency that would start in November at Casa El Ocote, a gallery and cultural centre in Oaxaca. At quarter to midnight, alerts started to pop up on Millan’s mobile phone. When he switched on the news, the first image he saw was of the Mexican flag at the Municipal Palace in Oaxaca, lit up by lights coming from police cars.
My home is my castle references these first images that Millan saw from Colombia when the earthquake hit. “I wanted to recreate the light from the police car, so the photos are made with two flashes, one with a red filter and another with a blue one. The mixture of colours made the images acquire that pink colour,” he explains.
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.
Born in London’s prosperous Hampstead in 1904, Cecil Beaton went to school with Evelyn Waugh (who bullied him), and Cyril Connolly (who admired the beauty of his singing). Taught photography by his nanny, Beaton found work assisting cutting-edge young photographer Paul Tanqueray, and became famous for his portraits of the Bright Young Things – the decadent young socialites of the 1920s and 30s, whose hedonistic lives were captured in Waugh’s glittering, somewhat fatalistic novel Vile Bodies. Beaton was taken on by Vogue in 1927 and moved to the US in 1929; he was a staff photographer for both Vogue and Vanity Fair until 1938, when he was fired for inserting anti-Semitic phrases by the side of an illustration of New York society in American Vogue. Returning to Britain, he went on to take photographs for the British Ministry of Information during World War Two and later rehabilitated his career, going on to photograph stars such as Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe, and Andy Warhol. He also launched a successful career in set and costume design in the 1950s and …
“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.
Last year, VII Photo Agency invited six women to join its collective. With seven female members in total, “the seven of VII” quickly became a phrase that stuck. After numerous email exchanges, and a big discussion at the annual general meeting in Barcelona in March, the seven of VII are now staging a group exhibition together – Her Take: (Re)thinking Masculinity, which opens at Photoville in Brooklyn, New York on 13 September.
The exhibition is made up of seven separate projects, each exploring the topic of masculinity. “The exhibition is a conversation, and it’s a conversation that we want to have with both women and men,” explains Sara Terry, whose project recreates Manet’s famous painting, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, with a naked man replacing the female nude.
It is difficult to unravel, in many of the stories that Max Pinckers tells, where fiction became unstuck from fact. Or how the characters in his photographs can look back out at the world so boldly, shake their heads at reality as most people see it, and tell stories that fly in its face. But for the Brussels-based photographer, the six curious individuals in his latest book, Margins of Excess – including a boy who compulsively hijacks trains, and a private detective with prosthetic hands – lead the way to understanding documentary photography’s role in the ‘post-truth’ era.
One such character, an American amateur inventor with a mane of silken hair, sat at the kitchen table of his home in Dunnellon, Florida and told Pinckers that he believed he had become the media’s new Osama bin Laden. “My name is Richard Heene. A few years ago I got into a bit of trouble,” said the forty-something showman, detailing the events that led him to end up behind bars.
EyeEm is currently the world’s largest photography competition, and this year it welcomed a record 700,000 entries. The submissions came from more than 100,000 photographers, hailing from over 150 countries, who have now been whittled down to 100 finalists. The daunting task of selecting the finalists from this number came down to a panel of industry experts that included Nik Schulte, Image Director of High Snobiety; Jose Cabaco, the Global Creative Concept & Storytelling Director at Adidas; Lucy Pike, Director of Photography at WeTransfer; and Sasha Dudkina, last year’s EyeEm Photographer of the Year, among others. Together, they selected the top 10 images from each of the nine categories, and the 10 shortlisted photographers for Photographer of the Year. Among the diverse categories are ‘The Architect’, ‘The Creative’, and ‘The Traveller’, with shortlisted images ranging from Juan Manuel Molina Avilés’ eerie photograph of a man with his head submerged under a tap in ‘The Creative’ category; Maxym Gorodetskyy’s depiction of far-right protesters baring #freetommy posters, and fighting for the release of ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson …
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.
Richard Renaldi’s photography career began with a passion for drawing. But, when his high school drawing class was full, he took photography instead; the rest is history. The medium has since become one of the great loves of his life and his vast archives have culminated in his most recent project: I Want Your Love. This new work charts the many challenges and triumphs of his life and is, in many ways, an extensive self-portrait. Having always been interested in the humanist elements of photography, Renaldi’s earlier work is rooted in portraiture, and his desire to document the many facets of American society. His project, Touching Strangers, has become symbolic of our potential to get along, and involved Renaldi asking strangers to interact with each other physically while posing together for a portrait. We spoke to Renaldi about where the idea for this project came from, the value of this unique interaction, and how far photography can go in unifying us all. Where did the idea for Touching Strangers come from? I was always interested …
Meet Veronica Sanchis Bencomo, the woman behind Foto Feminas, a platform dedicated to improving the representation of female Latin American and Caribbean photographers across the globe. Growing up in Venezuela, Bencomo was always interested in Latin American photography, and particularly, in photographs by her female peers. But on moving to the UK, where she studied photography at Brighton City College, and then photojournalism at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Swansea, Bencomo noticed that none of these photographers had followed her across the Atlantic. Representation is everything, and throughout time, it has been notoriously difficult to penetrate the fields of art, music, and literature as a woman. Even more so if you are not from the West. For many years, Bencomo felt that the Latin American continent was too often portrayed by foreigners, and by men. “From a young age I did notice it was difficult to come across women’s works from Latin America and the Caribbean,” she says. “With Foto Feminas, my main motivation was for people to learn more about a contemporary …