Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including Paris’ Circulation(s) festival of emerging European photography, the first-ever Kyiv Photo Book festival, and Todd Hido’s Bright Black World
Emerging Europeans at Paris’ Circulation(s) festival
Returning to Paris from 20 April – 30 June, the Circulation(s) festival focuses in on work by emerging photographers originally from or currently living in Europe, and includes a special focus on Romania featuring work by Ioana Cirlig, Felicia Simion, and Mihai and Horatiu Sovaiala. “It is in the very nature of the festival to explore the whole of European production and not to be confined to the so-called ‘prescribers’ countries,” explain this year’s invited directors, Francois Cheval and Audrey Hoareau, who work collectively as The Red Eye. “So we went to Bucharest to meet the local photographic community: schools, galleries, photographers, associations.”
The first-ever Kyiv Photo Book festival
The first event of its kind in Ukraine, Kyiv Photo Book festival on 09 February will feature both local and international photographers, publishers and galleries, with organisations such as MOKSOP (Museum of Kharkiv School of Photography) and Rodovid Press lined up to take part. Coming at a good time for Ukrainian photographers, as image-makers such as Victor and Sergey Kochetov, Viacheslav Poliakov, and Sergey Melnitchenko attract international audiences, it’s a chance to both throw the spotlight on interesting Ukrainian photobooks, and allow the local population to see good international work. The festival will also include a programme of lectures and and events.
Todd Hido’s Bright Black World
To look through Todd Hido’s lens is to view the world darkly. The San Francisco-based photographer’s entire oeuvre is shrouded in inky obscurity, and in this regard, his latest work is no exception. The difference is that for the first time he has departed from his usual territory of suburban landscape and its relation to his own troubled childhood. Instead Bright Black World results from extensive travels abroad, and is steeped in a deep sense of pessimism about the future from the perspective of the present, attempting to “photograph the darkness that I see coming”.
Ukrainian youth by Vladyslav Andrievsky
Born and raised in the outskirts of Kyiv, Vladyslav Andrievsky got into photography when he was a child, when his mother would give him a camera and a couple of rolls of film when he headed off to summer camp. Andrievsky now lives in downtown Kyiv and says his work is focused on the city and its younger generation – in particular on Kyiv’s vibrant youth culture, and the way it contrasts with the uninspiring housing blocks in which many live in the city. “I like to explore and investigate the phenomenon of how they [the younger generation] can dream of something important and sublime, even living in these grey concrete boxes,” he says.
Simone Sapienza’s alternative view of Vietnam
Determined to find a Vietnam that lies beyond its infamous history, Simone Sapienza spent six weeks in the country trying to penetrate its complex present. The result is two complementary bodies of work: Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, which addresses the control of the one-party Communist government, and United States of Vietnam, which looks at the slow victory of capitalism over communism and its consequences for Vietnam’s economy. Both leave something for the viewer to work out. “They have to try to put their feet in the author’s shoes,” he says. “They just need to get the leitmotiv of your project, not the full, descriptive content. In that exchange lives the real core of the project.”
Irina Rozovsky’s search for the familiar in former Yugoslavia
In 1989, a record number of 71,000 Soviet Jews were granted exodus from the USSR after a century of radical changes, fuelled by a wave of anti-semitism. Between 1988 and 2010 over 1.6 million Jews left the territory of the former Soviet Union, among them seven-year-old Irina Rozovsky and her family. In 2014 she attended a photo festival in Zagreb, Croatia, and – seeing the former Soviet state – “something clicked for me there”. Returning to make several trips to the former Yugoslavia over the next five years, she created the series Mountain Black Heart. “I was so struck,” she says. “I felt that the place was really familiar, but also wild and unexplored.”
Guy Martin’s The Parallel State
Taking a new approach to documentary photography after a near-death experience in Libya, Guy Martin captured Turkey’s fantasies in a series now published by GOST as the book The Parallel State. Mixing images taken on the street with those taken on set in lavish Turkish soap operas – along with vintage Turkish film posters, and transcripts of conversations between the people who lead the failed coup in July 2016 – the project reveals a wider truth about Turkey, and beyond. “My project might hopefully be a warning – see what happens when you tell the media that they’re fake news, when you have supporters and media that just support you, that hang off your every word, and you say everyone else is wrong,” he says. “I’ve seen what happens in that vacuum, and that’s very sobering for me.”
Q&A: Void’s Hunger project
“Every photographer is a Hunger Artist,” say Greek publishing house Void, whose project Hunger is based on a Franz Kafka story and includes artists such as Joan Fontcuberta, JH Engstrom, and Albert Elm. Beginning as a series of newsprint publications, then remodelled into an online exhibition hosted by PHmuseum.com, Hunger has been seen by over 70,000 unique visitors from all over the world every year since it launched in 2013. “We are hunger artists, and we don’t care if we starve in our jails, even if no one is looking,” say Void, a Photobook publishing house based in Athens.