It’s little more than a decade since Ricardo Cases took his first tentative steps into the world with his personal work, exhibiting as part of New Spanish Photography at Lodz Fotofestiwal in 2007, a group show that travelled on to China and Slovakia. More than a dozen solo shows followed across Spain over the next three years before his international breakthrough with the book Paloma al aire [Pigeons in flight], published by Dewi Lewis in 2011. Ostensibly, the book follows pigeon-fanciers in Valencia and Murcia going about a local racing ritual, painting male birds for a competition in which the winner is the cock that attracts the hen. But with its distinctive spiral-bound, notebook appearance, and Cases’ tight framing, emphasising the surreality of the chase, it acquired a cult following, marking the arrival of a singular talent. The unconventional traits to this and his subsequent works are clearly evident in his first major survey exhibition, on show in Madrid from 13 June to 22 July at the spectacular Sala Canal Isabel II, as part of this year’s Photo España.
Europe boasts more than a hundred photography festivals, but few match the scale and ambition of Photo España in Madrid. This year, the organisation behind it, La Fábrica, celebrates the festival’s 20th edition with a typically eclectic summer season of activities throughout the Spanish capital, encompassing the work of more than 500 artists across dozens of venues that range from the small to the iconic. “The festival is a collective project with a wide variety of institutions, both public and private, supporting it,” says director Claude Bussac, who is hoping that the 2018 edition will “push forward both the formal and geographical boundaries of photography… We aim to celebrate our 20th anniversary questioning photographic meaning and inviting photographers from every continent.”
The Madrid-based photography correspondent reports on the Spanish top five of 2017 – including Álvaro Laiz’s The Hunt
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.”
For three days this week, from 22 to 24 September, the Dutch capital will host the sixth edition of Unseen Amsterdam. With an extensive and exclusive programme, the event prides itself on incubating and exhibiting photography from both established and emerging artists. This year is no different: the old gasworks factory, the Westergasfabriek will host more than 53 international galleries with new additions from Mexico and Lebanon, showing over 160 artists and about 80 ‘premieres’ – brand-new work that will make its debut at the fair, featuring projects by Todd Hido, Gregory Halpern, Peggy Franck and Ricardo Cases. Founded in 2012, the event has always been keen to embrace elements and experiments beyond its primary identity as a fair. This year the Unseen Photo Fair & Festival has become Unseen Amsterdam, drawing together the fair, book market, speakers programme, onsite projects and exhibitions, talent awards, city programme, magazine and website under one umbrella. This change is a move to becoming a multi-faceted photography platform that will function throughout the year with smaller events abroad. A …
“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.
Blank Paper: Histoires du présent immédiat [Stories of the Immediate Present], which features recent work by Julián Barón, Ricardo Cases, Federico Clavarino, David Hornillos, Alejandro Marote, Óscar Monzón, Bernardita Morello, Miren Pastor, Michele Tagliaferri, Fosi Vegue and Antonio M. Xoubanova, opened this week at the offbeat Ground Control space in Arles. Images from the six-member collective are intertwined with those from teachers and alumni from the eponymous school
It’s the biggest, most prestigious photography festival in the world and it’s back – Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles opens on 03 July and closes on 24 September. It’s the 48th edition of the festival, which has seen seismic changes in the last few years – the departure of its long-standing director Francois Hebel after the 2014 edition, and the arrival of his replacement, Sam Stourdze, the backing of the influential LUMA Foundation, and the Cosmos-Arles book fair. This history and reputation mean Arles is able to pull in the big names, which this year means including solo shows by Joel Meyerowitz, Michael Wolf, Gideon Mendel, Masahisa Fukase, Alex Majoli and Roger Ballen; plus an exhibition on Surrealism organised by Le Centre Pompidou and including works by Hans Bellmer, Erwin Wurm and Rene Magritte. Arles also uses its might to showcase lesser-known names and regions, however, and one of the themes running through the 2017 edition is Latina!, a celebration of work from South America in four separate shows. Urban Impulses is a group …
Curated by Louise Clements, Derby’s FORMAT17 draws on cutting edge photography to consider the man-made world and our place in it
“Three or four years ago, I had a tragedy in my life,” says Ricardo Cases over Skype from his home in Spain. “My mother and a good friend had just died. I was angry with life. I was angry with my friends. I lost a lot of friends at that time, so I moved to Valencia, where I knew nobody. I came here to change my life because I had become a monster.” Cases started El porqué de las naranjas [which translates loosely as ‘the reason of oranges’] while living there. “One of the symbols of the Levante region [the eastern side of the Iberian Peninsula on the Mediterranean coast] is oranges, but also tourism and construction. I needed to start something really open, so as a starting point I chose this question, ‘el porqué de las naranjasʼ. I used it to help me make pictures; I used it to act as a kind of therapy for everything that was happening in my life.” With that in mind, Cases began walking around his new hometown, …