Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to seek, and to enjoy in other countries, asylum from persecution.” The UK was one of 48 nations to vote in favour of this document at the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and now, 68 years later, British photographer Sam Ivin prints the full statement at the start of his first photobook, Lingering Ghosts. Made up entirely of portraits of people who have applied for asylum here, the book is a reminder – and an interrogation – of the codified notions of morality and fairness that Britain voted for but is not living up to.
Published by Fabrica, Lingering Ghosts asks a simple but thorny question – what does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? Ivin scratched out the eyes of his subjects to induce a sense of foreboding, discomfort and alienation. As Gemma Padley notes in the foreword, “Once we remove our ability to connect with a subject through a person’s eyes, what remains?”
When the HOME project was proposed to her, Olivia Arthur was heavily pregnant with her second daughter and focussing that seemed a natural choice. “But in terms of presenting it as a project to the outside world, I think what’s interesting is this period of waiting – that’s where it all becomes very personal,” she says. Aptly titled Waiting for Lorelai, the project became about the anticipation she and her family experienced in the lead-up to the birth. “There’s this kind of emotion about how much it’s going to change the dynamics between us,” says Arthur, “and how my [older] daughter’s going to react when she finds out it’s not just her.”
“What is ‘home’?” writes Magnum Photos curator Pauline Vermare. “Instinctively, the idea of peaceful haven comes to mind. A cocoon where one feels secure, loved and understood – a nurturing and forgiving place.” It’s a topic she’s been thinking about in depth, because back in 2017 Fujifilm invited Magnum Photos to collaborate on an ambitious group project, which eventually saw 16 of its documentary photographers reflect on the idea of ‘home’. These photographers are better-known for documenting the lives of others, but in this project, they were able to create intensely personal work instead. “This project provided photographers with an ideal pretext to explore a place they held dear, a familiar and familial landscape,” says Vermare. “It was an invitation to look inward and outward. Home – an inherently intimate and introspective subject matter – was also a formidable challenge to take on; for the past seventy years, Magnum photographers have predominantly been looking into the lives of others – and seldom looking into their own.”
It’s a commendable milestone by anyone’s standards – for 70 years, Magnum Photos has been at the forefront of documentary photography, photojournalism and visual storytelling, its members reporting on conflicts, crises and changes for humanity the world over. To celebrate Magnum’s long and rich history, the agency has devised Magnum Retold, a huge group project in which current members revisit stories by their predecessors. Photographers were invited to respond to an archival story that had influenced or inspired their practice in some way – a story that meant something to them personally, or a topical subject they wished to revisit. “There is a repository of amazing work, which is the 70-year-old legacy of these incredible photographers,” explains Magnum’s content director, Francesca Sears.
Illuminating India: Photography 1857-2017, is the first exhibition to document the history of photography in India, and includes both archive and contemporary work. It includes images by India’s first known photographer Ahmad Ali Khan, pioneering art photographer Marahaja Ram Singh II, the country’s first female photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla; and award-winning contemporary photographers such Magnum’s Sohrab Hura. It also includes images of India taken by non-Indians, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Werner Bischof, Margaret Bourke White, Lucien Hervé, Mitch Epstein, Vasantha Yogananthan, and Olivia Arthur.
Now in its third year, the Sicilian photo festival is tackling big issues under a theme of “Communication in uncertainty and chaos”. The idea is telling of its locale: a crucial crossing point in the Mediterranean and an entry gateway to Europe, Sicily has been at the centre of the migrant crisis as people cross the sea in search of peace and a better life. The photographs in this series cover ideas of identity, politics, war, nationality, feminism and more.
“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 world-famous photo agency goes to town with four exhibitions, a live residency, a swap shop, a book launch, a series of talks and discussions, and even a t-shirt collection
During her life, she encouraged photographers to realise their photographic ambitions. In death, the former Magnum photographer’s legacy lives on in the Inge Morath Foundation, established in 2003 – a year after her death – to preserve her archive. Central to the foundation is the Inge Morath Award, a $5000 grant designed to help women photographers under the age of 30 finish a long-term documentary project. “When Inge died, Larry Towell and a group of Magnum photographers created the award in her memory,” John Jacob, director at the foundation, told BJP in an article first published in our April 2014 ‘Women Only’ issue. “The Inge Morath Foundation co-administers the award, but it’s very much driven by the Magnum Foundation.” Every year, Jacob and a jury of Magnum photographers name an overall winner and up to two finalists. Entrants submit between 40 and 60 images from an ongoing personal project. “Each year we look at 80 to 100 submissions and then select a number to present to the Magnum photographers at their AGM,” explains Jacob. “There was …
“Photography can be a powerful way of telling a story and these photos remind us that people have been fleeing conflict and persecution throughout history,” says Tom Davies, campaign manager at Amnesty International UK. “We’re trying to engage with the public – and ultimately decision-makers – to show that forced migration is not new, [and that] how we respond is up to us.” He’s talking about the I Welcome show, a joint initiative between Amnesty International and Magnum Photos open on London’s South Bank from 07-18 December. Featuring work by nearly 20 Magnum photographers, including Moises Saman, Philip Jones Griffiths, Thomas Dworzak and David “Chim” Seymour, it presents the depressing but inescapable truth that refugees have long existed, and in doing so provides a wider context for the current, ongoing crisis. “We felt that linking up with Magnum was a good way of showing that historical context,” explains Davies. “We were aware that it was Magnum’s 70th anniversary in 2017, and that they had an amazing back-catalogue of incredible photography, so we felt that in …