Documentary, Exhibitions

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Abbey Way play area, with repurposed sewage pipes, in front of the west facade of Maran Way. Mid 1970s © Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives

Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including a new book on London's Thamesmead estate, an exhibition of Diane Arbus' early work, and World Press Photo Foundation's pick of the emerging photographers from Asia

The Town of Tomorrow: 50 Years of Thamesmead
In the mid-1960s, vast blocks of concrete began to rise out of London’s Erith marshes on the south bank of the River Thames. 50 years on, a new book celebrates one of London’s most famous social housing projects as it gears up for another bold redevelopment. “It’s a crazy place,” says Tara Darby, who shot new images of the estate which are paired with archive images in the publication. “Because of its geographical location it feels like you’re on the edge of London, but then coupled with that you get this amazing feeling of nature.”

The Southern end of Coraline Walk, viewed from Lensbury Way. The mural was added in 2013 bt Steve Wilson (Murality). © Tara Darby

Diane Arbus comes to London
Featuring more than 100 photographs, many of which have never been displayed in Europe before, Diane Arbus: In the Beginning comes to London’s Hayward Gallery from 13 February – 06 May. Concentrating on her early work from 1956-62, the exhibition includes images of children and eccentrics, shoppers and transvestites. “Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience,” Arbus once remarked. “Freaks were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re aristocrats.”

Lady on a bus, NYC 1957. Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York/ Copyright © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC

ICP announces Infinity Awards winners
The International Center of Photography has announced the honourees of the 35th Infinity Awards, which will be celebrated on 02 April. American photographer Dawoud Bey will be presented with the Art award, Jess T. Dugan with Emerging Photographer, and Zadie Smith with Critical Writing and Research, for her piece in the New Yorker titled Deana Lawson’s Kingdom of Restored Glory. Rosalind Fox Solomon is recognised in the Lifetime Achievement category, and Shahidul Alam in a Special Presentation.

© Rosalind Fox Solomon

Q&A: Paul Thulin’s Pine Tree Ballads
In the early 1900s, Paul Thulin’s great-grandfather settled on the coast of Maine, reminded of his homeland of Sweden. Thulin’s family has returned to Gray’s Point each summer ever since, and Thulin has been working on a project there for over a decade – Pine Tree Ballads, which is now being published as a book. Initially inspired by his grandfather’s photographs, he hopes it has “a subtext of struggle and hope that mirrors my narrative sense of self and heritage”.

From Pine Tree Ballads © Paul Thulin

David Denil’s Let Us Not Fall Asleep While Walking
Travelling to Kiev in the wake of protest, revolution and civil war, Belgian photographer David Denil set about documenting the aftermath of conflict in the minds of ordinary people, still coming to terms with the country’s sharp divisions. The resulting series, Let Us Not Fall Asleep While Walking, departs from journalistic record, instead attempting to depict “the psychological state of this Ukraine looking at its future while haunted by its past and memory”.

From Let Us Not Fall Asleep While Walking © David Denil

World Press Photo Foundation’s 6×6 talents from Asia
Aimed at picking out under-recognised visual story-tellers from around the world, the 6×6 programme is now on its sixth and final region in its first cycle, Asia, and the six selected talents from Asia are: Amira Al-Sharif, Yemen; Azin Anvar Haghighi, Iran; Saumya Khandelwal, India; Senthil Kumaran Rajendran, India; Shahria Sharmin, Bangladesh; and Yan Cong, China. The photographers’ work will be presented during Miami Photo Fest’s nightly multimedia presentations from 23 February – 03 March, and featured on World Press Photo Foundation’s online magazine Witness.

A tiger in cage during translocation away from human settlement, 2013. It was rescued from the human settlement in Valparai, Ananmalai Tiger Reserve. From the series Boundaries: Human and Tiger Conflict, which considers the 48 tiger reserves in India – home to an estimated 2300 of the 4000 last surviving wild tigers on this planet © Senthil Kumaran Rajendran

Colour pioneer Luigi Ghirri’s The Map and the Territory
The Map and the Territory – which showed at Germany’s prestigious Museum Folkwang last year before moving on to the equally renown Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and is now opening at Paris’ Jeu de Paume – is a large but focused exhibition honing in on the first decade of Luigi Ghirri’s work. Capturing 1970s Europe in landscapes, people, and still-lifes, Ghirri’s work is tightly cropped, yet sparse and economical, and shows an elegant sense of colour. “He was, in a way, mapping the changing topography of modern life in Europe in the 1970s, and also the change in the relationship between people and images,” says curator James Lingwood.

Orbetello, 1974 © Eredi Luigi Ghirri

Jasper by Matthew Genitempo
Photographed in the forests and mountains of the Ozarks, Matthew Genitempo’s first book, Jasper, published by Twin Palms, is a poetic exploration of the American landscape and the people who seek peace within its grasp. Completed as his graduate thesis for an MFA at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, it’s the first major project he’s fully completed, and a gear shift towards leading from his gut. “I had been making photographs that were preconceived, but I wanted to make pictures that were leading with my eyes and my instincts,” he explains.

From Jasper © Matthew Genitempo

Thomas Struth’s Nature & Politics
With Nature & Politics, Thomas Struth told BJP back in 2017, he hopes to “open doors to what our minds have materialised and transformed into sculpture, and to scrutinise what our contemporary world creates in places which are not accessible to most people”. Shot at industrial sites and scientific research centres throughout the world over the last 10 years, the large-scale colour images show the strange contraptions created at the cutting-edge of technology. But these images also, he told BJP, say something about his own relationship to the world, and the place in which he finds himself at this particular point in time. The series is now on show at MAST Foundation in Bologna.

Chemistry Fume Cabinet, The University of Edinburgh, 2010 © Thomas Struth

Creative Brief: Nacho Alegre
Last summer marked 10 years since Nacho Alegre and his partners, Omar Sosa and Marco Velardi, co-founded Apartamento magazine – a publication which, since its inception in 2008 in Barcelona, has peered into the interiors of people’s homes through the prism of their lives. Succinct and delightfully subjective, the biannual magazine has become synonymous with direct, characterful interviews and unmistakable images, in features which team some of contemporary culture’s best-loved figureheads with photography talents original enough to capture them as they have never been seen before.

Kembra Pfahler, New York City, issue 18 © Vincent Dilio

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