If you caught the documentary What Do Artists Do All Day on him on BBC Four a year ago, you’ll have an idea of what Dougie Wallace is like – upfront, funny, and very, very energetic. You could say the same for his photography too, which though it’s been shot in a variety of places ranging from Mumbai, to East London, to outside Harrods, always bears his trademark wit and momentum. Now Wallace is showing his five book projects to date at the Bermondsey Project Space in London – Stags, Hens & Bunnies, Road Wallah, Harrodsburg, Shoreditch Wildlife, and a new title, Well-Heeled. A dogs-eye view of pampered pets, it’s now being published as a book by Dewi Lewis.
In the late 1980s, while studying, David Moore made a series of colour photographs depicting the everyday lives of working class communities in Derby. In Pictures From the Real World, since published as a book by Dewi Lewis, we meet married couple Lisa and John, among others. Intrigued by the notion of returning photographs to the contexts from which they came, Moore had the idea for a new imagining of the work as a piece of verbatim theatre (drama derived from unedited spoken transcripts), through which the photographs could be ‘returned’ to the couple. Moore invited Lisa and her now ex-husband John to work with him on what he calls an “archive intervention” – to create new dialogues from the photographs. From this The Lisa and John Slideshow was born, a 45-minute play written and directed by Moore, assisted by Gavin Dent, where actors played the couple.
“The end of war does not mean peace,” says Sara Terry, founder of The Aftermath Project. “Every story of war includes a chapter that almost always goes untold – the story of the aftermath, which day by day becomes the prologue of the future.” It was in September 2000 that Terry decided to go to Bosnia. Six weeks earlier she had come across a story reporting on so-called ‘Bosnia fatigue’, the factor that meant that, five years after the end of the Bosnian War, the reporters were long gone and the international aid agencies were shipping out. Frustrated by the idea that people could forget what had happened, Terry felt compelled “to capture the images that are the all-too-often forgotten companions of the vivid pictures of war itself.” Terry had started out as a print reporter but went on to produce formative photographic work in Bosnia, which she published as Aftermath: Bosnia’s Long Road to Peace. The experience also led her to set up The Aftermath Project in 2003, with the aim of telling post-conflict stories from around the world and throughout time.
Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island is a concise compendium of Britain over the past few years and is an excellent visual survey of the run-up to Brexit. The photographs examine rich and complex variations of Britain that are now even more poignant after last year’s vote. Images of election campaigning in clean and tidy suburbia, protests, the aftermath of riots in London, diamond jubilee celebrations, rock concerts, a family enjoying Brighton beach, computer screens of the trading floor of Lloyds – the list goes on. Roberts has managed to capture all the major events in juxtaposition with minor situations that are large with meaning, from the dead of the Iraq war being saluted by Army veterans through Wootton Bassett to an depiction of impoverished mothers and children at a youth club in Blackburn. Contained within each photograph are mini dramas, cheap-looking high streets with pound shops set against Victorian architecture. Roberts shows a Britain at odds with itself. Rather than a harmonious society, we sense fragmentation and awkwardness and a yearning for a glorious past that never existed.
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Laia Abril is no stranger to themes of distress. Bulimia, coping with the death of a child, the asexual community, virtual sex-performer couples – these are all topics that the Barcelona-based photographer has explored and attempted to demystify with her multi-layered, story-based practice. The subjects she tackles are complex and provocative, but ones she is able to connect with by way of female empathy, “where I can be involved emotionally”, she says.
Tormented by a traumatic past and challenged by a difficult present, Sicily is still haunted by the destructive presence of Cosa Nostra. In Terra Nostra, Mimi Mollica shows this problematic entanglement, focusing on the legacy of the Mafia in Sicily. Born and raised in Palermo, Mollica says the series was a labour of love on his homeland, and he tells BJP how he created it, and how he got into photography in the first place.
“Arlene had a unique vision of the world around her,” says gallerist Daniel Cooney. “She was kind and compassionate and she had a wonderful sense of humour, and all of it came through in her work. That’s what made her images so beautiful and unique.” Born in the Coney Island district of New York and growing up in the Crown Heights district of Brooklyn, Arlene Gottfried studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and initially found work with an advertising agency before going freelance for publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Life, and Newsweek. But her true passion was for portraits shot on the fly, and often on the street, and it was for this work that she became celebrated.
Photographers and publishing experts spill the beans on how to fund and promote your photobook.