Trained in photography at Westminster University, Patricia Karallis set up Paper Journal in 2013 and swiftly gained a reputation for her discerning eye for images. For five years the magazine ran online only, racking up more than 500 interviews, features, photo book reviews, fashion features, and studio visits, and attracting well over 150,000 followers to its Instagram feed. It’s now gone into print for the first time, and the photographers featured in it reads like a who’s who of interesting contemporary image-makers, including Daniel Shea, Gregory Halpern, Matthew Connors, Senta Simond, Kristine Potter, and Stephanie Moshammer, as well as less familiar names such as Joseph Kadow, Nhu Xuan Hua, and Xiaopeng Yuan.
“Tu sais qu’est-ce que c’est le rayon vert?” Marie Rivière’s listless character Delphine asks, her legs swinging, in Éric Rohmer’s 1986 film Le Rayon Vert [The Green Ray]. The film – a portrait of its main character’s halting search for summer romance – was based on Jules Verne’s 1882 novel of the same name. While in theory its title refers to an optical phenomenon – in which the appearance of the sun as it rises or falls beyond the horizon creates a brief flash of green, and with it a supposed moment of mental clarity for all those who see it – in reality its subject matter is far more elusive. “I related the ‘rayon vert’ phenomenon to the process of photography – this special and quick moment that happens rarely,” Swiss photographer Senta Simond explains, referring to her project of the same name. Her series, which will be published by Kominek and shown at London’s Webber Gallery soon, adds a new, compelling layer to the meteorological event/Jules Verne/ Éric Rohmer mix of references. Indeed, Simond, a former student of ECAL, University of Art and Design Lausanne, from which she graduated last summer, first encountered the concept via the 1986 film.
“It’s hard to know when to stop,” says Gregory Halpern. “I remember putting my camera away on a trip home and being relieved it was out of sight. I never feel that way, so that was clearly a sign. I haven’t kept track, but I shot maybe 700 to 1000 rolls of film.”
He’s talking about ZZYZX, which he’s worked on for five years, partly supported by a Guggenheim fellowship. Shot in Southern California, starting out on the eastern fringes of the state then moving slowly westwards towards Los Angeles and the Pacific, it’s named after an ‘unincorporated community’ in the Mojave desert, and has a similar sense of the outsider. The opening picture shows a gnarled hand, with a callus on the thumb and dirt in the fingernails, outstretched to show seven stars tattooed on the palm. The next shows stark black trees in the desert in the wake of a fire.
“It’s a story that starts at its end, in death. We have an evocation of a life which has been lost, which then becomes another kind of life, one whose presence or absence is conjured up in various states of remembrance.” So says Tim Clark, editor-in-chief of the online magazine 1000 Words, who has curated an exhibition of Peter Watkins’ series The Unforgetting at Webber Gallery. It’s a highly autobiographical piece of work, showcasing photographs and sculptures produced after a long inner exploration of a traumatic loss. On the 15th of February 1993, Watkins’ mother walked from Zandvoort beach into the North Sea, to her death. The heart of the artist’s project is his reconciliation to that loss, through an examination of their shared German heritage. “This is a work that explores the machinations of memory in relation to the experience of trauma,” says Watkins. “The culmination of several years work, The Unforgetting is a series made up of remnants, as well as the associated notions of time, recollection and impermanence, all bound up in the objects, places, photographs, and narrative structures …
“The series toys with the question regarding the necessity of travelling to a place that has been photographed innumerable times, the need to record additional photographs,” says the artist. “If countless images of a specific place are readily available, has one been there already?”
Theo Simpson lives and works in the North of England, where he is an associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. He has published several books, including Eleven Miles of Derbyshire Power Lines, A Survey of Operational Deep Coal Mines in the UK, and What We Buy. He has shown work in The Naughton Gallery at Queens, Belfast; SIA Gallery, Sheffield; Royal Institute of British Architects, London; Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland; and currently has a solo show, The Land of the Day Before, at Webber Gallery, London. BJP: What do you hope to show with your photography? TS: I’m interested in showing an alternative communication of the landscape around me – to reconsider and re-imagine it, as a site for new opportunity and possibilities. What I’m attempting is a more honest and progressive way of thinking about these specific environments. BJP: What are you showing in the Webber exhibition? TS: My work method involves bringing together different approaches and strategies for examining the landscape. This methodology involves observing the surrounding land over a prolonged period of time and examining how …