“I don’t start with intentions,” explains Elliott Erwitt. “I take pictures and then see what I’ve got and put something together.” It’s a process which has served him well throughout his career as a photographer. Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, he spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the US, via France, with his family in 1939; he first cut his teeth in the photography industry whilst still at high school, then built up a professional portfolio whilst serving with the Army Signal Corps in Europe. Joining Magnum Photos in 1953, he went on to apply his unmistakable style to everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Presidents of the United States. Now 89, he prefers to let his very varied collection of photographs speak for themselves, and his new collection, Cuba, is no exception. “I took a lot of pictures and sat down and made an edit. The way I always work,” says Erwitt. “[The book] seemed like a good idea since I was going to Cuba anyway
“Rwanda is a country in progress,” says Jacques Nkinzingabo, a photographer born in Rwanda in 1994 – the year of the infamous genocide in which 500,000-1,000,000 Tutsi were killed by the Hutu majority government. “It’s one of the countries with the youngest population in Africa: most of them were born after the genocide,” he continues. “Of course, they have read the news, books, seen images online, but they didn’t experience it. So now they’re building their country. There is a mind-set now that there is no Hutu or Tutsi anymore; everyone is Rwandese. These people want to look beyond the past.”
Nola Minolfi was born in Buenos Aires but raised in Milan, from where she and her family would regularly holiday in a remote village in the Italian Alps. To this day there are no cars in Chamois; in fact, there are no roads and the only way to reach the community of fewer than 100 inhabitants is by foot or cable car. The paths leading up to the six hamlets have no names, so when the postman visits he calls ahead to arrange a time to meet in the main square. A key member of the community is 84-year-old Emilio, who Minolta first met when she began work on her project The man who never saw the sea. To find him she took a snowy trail from Chamois that leads to a bridge across a river. From there she followed the instructions written on a tiny map, telling her where to go after a fork in the path: “Turn right, down towards the altiport and then right again after the wooden cross. First house on the left.”
“The photography in The Face highlighted the important fact that none of these cultural things existed in a vacuum,” says Paul Gorman. “It was nearly always reportage.” In his new book The Story of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture, the long-standing author and music journalist hopes to show just how important the iconic magazine was in shifting British perspectives on culture – and how photography helped it do so. Founded in 1980 by Nick Logan, the same man behind NME and Smash Hits, The Face was one of the first UK magazines to champion youth and counter-culture, fashion, music and film under one banner, and in doing so, argues Gorman, helped launch some of the most influential music, fashion and documentary photographers of our time, including Sheila Rock, Corinne Day, Juergen Teller, Nick Knight and Ewen Spencer.
“Her project talks about the identity that the state wants women to project in public,” says Vivienne Gamble, director of Seen Fifteen and now curator of the show Catharsis for Belfast Exposed. “She comes from a family where they didn’t have those rules behind closed doors at home. She was conflicted about having this public-facing image, and this different, much more relaxed and liberal, private existence.” She’s talking about Shenasmenah, a project by Iranian-born photographer, filmmaker and curator Amak Mahmoodian included in the three-person Catharsis show.
Eva Roefs has an affinity for capturing bizarre moments in exceptionally mundane situations. The young Amsterdam-based photographer grew up in south Holland in a small town called Loosbroek, and says the monotonous surroundings spurred her search for the absurd as soon as she started photographing at age 13. A decade on, Roefs’ latest series West Flemish Coast applies her signature ethereal stylings to documentary subject matter. “I started thinking, ‘Why go to Australia, Canada or South America when beauty can also be found at my neighbour’s house?’” says Roefs. “So I decided to go to Belgium, where people have smaller holidays that aren’t particularly fancy. It’s just family, the sea, food – not very good food – and animals, all together. It’s not at all like going to surf in Australia or going to Dubai to see big buildings. It really is the root of holidays and how they began.”
Daniel Castro Garcia wins the $35,000 W. Eugene Smith grant to continue his work on the European migrant crisis – read more about the work in BJP’s interview with him, first featured in our September 2016 issue. l. “The fact that my mum and dad are foreign, it’s played a massive role in my life. When those two boats capsized, the way that was written about, the adjectives used, and the type of photographs – on a personal level, that resonated. I know the kind of things my parents went through when they moved to the UK, and I know they’ve contributed really positively to British society. It felt increasingly uncomfortable, the way they were representing people who effectively did what my parents did, for the same reasons – poverty. Some of the things that were written were just unbelievable bullshit about people that are just the same as any of us. What an individualistic, separatist, regressive mentality.”
“Everyone talks about 1968 as the year of revolution, but America was burning in 1967,” says Mark Sealy. “There were many riots and disturbances that year, but Parks was looking at intimacy, not running across the country shooting riots. He was telling history through these very personal stories.” He’s talking about Gordon Parks, the feted documentary photographer and film-maker (best known for directing Shaft). In particular Sealy is talking about Parks’ work with the Fontenelles, a family living in poverty in Harlem in 1967 that Parks photographed for a 16-page story published in Life in March ’68.
100 works by legendary fashion and portrait photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe are going on show at The Fashion and Textile Museum from 20 October-21 January 2018. A Style Of Her Own features over 100 photographs shot from 1931-59, celebrating work that helped define the image of the modern, independent woman, and inspired photographers such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. Born in San Francisco in 1895 to Norwegian parents, Dahl-Wolfe studied art history and design at the San Francisco Art Institute, taking up photography in 1921 and going professional in 1930 after meeting Edward Weston and Dorothea Lange. A leading contributor to Harper’s Bazaar between 1936 and 1958 (where she worked extensively with influential editor Carmel Snow, fashion director Diana Vreeland, and designer Alexey Brodovitch), Dahl-Wolfe is credited with having invented the idea of the ‘supermodel’, and creating distinctive styles for models such as Suzy Parker, Jean Patchett, Barbara Mullen, Mary Jane Russell and Evelyn Tripp. She is said to have kickstarted actress Lauren Bacall’s Hollywood career, after shooting her for a Bazaar cover in 1943.
Palomäki specialises in taking photographs of children and young people, and says her work deals with growth, memory, the problematic ways we see ourselves, and – crucially – our mortality. “We fight against our mortality, denying it, yet photographs are there to prove our inescapable destiny,” she has written. “The idea of getting older is heart-rending.” Palomäki is currently showing new images, depicting siblings, titled Shared. BJP caught up with her to find out more about this project and her work in general.