It’s a spectacularly beautiful early morning in December and the traffic is rolling past indifferently on one of North London’s less than silent streets. I’m standing in front of a large red door, having come to visit David King and his world-famous collection documenting the extraordinary visual history of the Soviet Union. King has been assembling the collection for almost five decades and now it is in the process of being transferred to the archives of Tate Modern. The collection has always run in parallel to his work as a graphic designer, photographer and author – work, it is fair to say, that shows influence from the Bolshevik-era material he has discovered on his many visits to the former USSR, and which he has often drawn from in his books, posters, photographs and graphic work.
Marking the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest signed by King Henry III, and corresponding with the launch of the 2017 Charter for Trees, Woods and People, the V&A’s new display Into The Woods: Trees in Photography, celebrates the significance of trees in the work of photographers across the world and throughout history.
The exhibition is comprised of works from the V&A’s permanent collection as well as photographs recently transferred from the Royal Photographic Society ahead of their rehousing in the museum’s new Photography Centre in 2018. Curated by Martin Barnes, senior curator of photographs at the V&A, Into The Woods began as an impulse – “I just like trees!” – but gradually revealed itself to be the germ of a great idea.
In Money Must Be Made, Lorenzo Vitturi’s latest photobook, the photographs address the question of how, not merely where. It is not exceptional to visit a market in Lagos with a camera, especially if, as white, you are working within a tradition of photography that depicts Africans in despair and as NGO-needy. What distinguishes this work is the complexity suggested, an indication that the market – one of the largest in west Africa – is connected to its people and products in many, many ways.
Famously elusive, and unwilling to to discuss his work, the only way to get to an insight into Krass Clement’s photography is through the images themselves – but even they are cloaked in mystery. “There is a certain melancholia in my work,” he says. “I am quite attracted by it. After all I come from Scandinavia so it is a sort of second nature. And yes, a lot of my work can be characterised as being about loneliness. But I don’t want to get too philosophical about those aspects. I hope that the books I produce speak for themselves, and don’t require too many footnotes or conceptual analyses about the nature of reality, states of minds or the role of metaphors.” Born in 1946 in Denmark, Clement has shot over 20 photobooks over the years, and has shown his work in spaces such as the Bibliothek Nationale, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He taught himself how to make photographs, and his most famous photobook, Drum, was shot over a single night …
Contrasting images of children shot in Congo and in Spain, Vicente Paredes questions perceptions of wealth and happiness, freedom and self-consciousness. Pony Congo is now going on show at Espace Images Vevey; this is an update of a BJP interview first published in 2016. “You have to bear in mind that the kids in my book will never meet in real life. It is the viewer who must imagine what would happen if they were to meet. Ideas such as colonialism, misery, pity and mistrust are in our minds, not in the pictures themselves.”
“The first time my American agent came here, she said ‘I can’t believe you do all these pictures in this little room’,” laughs Paolo Roversi as he looks around the modest space he’s used as his studio for more than three decades. The Italian remains one of the world’s most sought-after fashion photographers, having forged his reputation during the mid-1980s shooting inspired catalogues for designers such as Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, in an age when creatives were given unparalleled freedom of expression. Yet his studio is just a room in an unremarkable building in a nondescript arrondissement of southern Paris, furnished with battered chairs and old blankets. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
Running to over 1200 pages and featuring 1250 images, is this the biggest photobook in history?
“The main issues in fashion currently are gender and identity, and a more inclusive image of beauty,” says Alessia Glaviano. “It partially comes from Instagram – Instagram has made a big change.” It’s forward-thinking comment for someone known for her work on world-famous print magazine Vogue Italia, but then Glaviano’s also known for pushing the boundaries. In addition to being senior photo editor on Vogue Italia, she’s web editor of vogue.it, and she’s also responsible for PhotoVogue – a curated online platform on which emerging photographers can submit their work. And in addition she’s director of the Photo Vogue Festival, the first-ever international festival of fashion photography, which is now back for the second time in Milan. “Well it went very well last year,” she says. “So here we are again.” Then there’s Vogue Italia itself. A very different beast to its more mainstream counterparts in the US and elsewhere, it sets the standard for cutting-edge fashion photography. It’s known for its adventurous and sometimes dark imagery, giving photographers such as Steve Meisel, Miles Aldridge, Ellen von Unwerth, …
Dan Wilton wants to slow down. That’s all. The London-based photographer is best known for his intimate portraits, having shot world-famous musicians and recording artists from Stormzy to James Blake over the years. In 2015, he travelled to Los Angeles’ Runyon Canyon with writer Josh Jones to photograph and interview the characters they found there, turning the result into a book. But for his new publication Crane, he wanted to rein it back, taking a step away from the lives of others and creating something more distant, quiet and reflective.
“Really, it was only in the Snowden revelations that we realised how often these agencies don’t act in our best interest,” says Lewis Bush. “In some ways I hope that a project like this can make people think about how these abstract but very powerful forces in the world can be visualised when you find the right strategy.” He’s talking about his new project, Shadow of the State, a new photobook that investigates and exposes mysterious broadcasts dating back to the Cold War. Bush has spent the past two years seeking out the sources of these broadcasts, covert sites across the globe from North Korea and Russia to Washington and Cuba.