Vanessa Winship’s biggest UK show to date, the first UK retrospective of Dorothea Lange, and a huge group exhibition including work by photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Dayanita Singh, Alec Soth, Chris Steele-Perkins, Daido Moriyama, Diane Arbus, Pieter Hugo, Bruce Davidson, and Boris Mikhailov – they’re all coming up this year at London’s Barbican Centre, in a season titled The Art of Change.
“The Hobbyist is the first major exhibition to explore the relationship between photography and hobby culture, focussing both on the photography of hobbies and photography as a hobby,” write curators Pierre Hourquet, Anna Planas and Thomas Seelig of the forthcoming show at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, The Hobbyist – Hobbies, Photography and the Hobby of Photography, which opens on 08 September. It’s a fair but also deceptively simple summary of this intriguing show, which is backed up by a busy events programme and a magazine (in place of a catalogue). “A phenomenon as diverse and participatory as the hobby can hardly be tackled through a classical exhibition alone,” write the curators, and the magazine reflects some of this diversity, including images by photographers such as Alberto Garcia-Alix, Bruce Davidson, Alec Soth, Mike Mandel, Ricardo Cases, and Kirill Golovchenko, vintage adverts for TVs, cameras and videotape recorders, an extract from Theodore W Adorno’s test The Culture Industry, a Q&A with Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane on their Folk Archive, and essays by contemporary cultural theorists such as Olivia Baeriswyl, Therese Steffen, and Doris Gassert.
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” said Magnum Photos co-founder Robert Capa, famously. This week Magnum Photos is revisiting Capa’s concept with its Square Print Sale, part of a cycle of four print sales it’s running to celebrate its 70th anniversary.
The connection between photographer and subject is a vital element in the power of an individual photograph. In turn, the image has the power to inspire, inform and communicate human engagement. In 1948, David ‘Chim’ Seymour would come to pioneer this visual form of emotional empathy through his work with UNICEF – following the children orphaned and scarred by the consequences of the Second World War. Working for six months on a dramatically reduced fee, Chim painstakingly travelled across Europe shooting 257 rolls of film, going beyond mere illustration of UNICEF’s work, the assignment became a labour of love, revealing his unique capacity to awaken the public’s conscience to war’s most vulnerable victims. His unapologetically compassionate approach reflected both his deep seated humanism and unique ability to treat those he photographed with equanimity, reverence and respect, developing a genuine human connection that would become emblematic of the engagement at the heart of documentary photography today. Chim’s photographs remain an indispensible part of history, creating a style of photography which has not only shaped the ethos of Magnum Photos …