Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including the World Press Photo and MACK First Book Award nominees, and interviews with Iain McKell, Tommaso Rada, and Mona Kuhn
Nominees announced for World Press Photo 2019
Six images have been shortlisted for this year’s World Press Photo of the Year, and three photographers shortlisted for a new award that celebrates visual storytelling – the World Press Story of the Year. The six images nominated for World Press Photo of the Year are: Victims of an Alleged Gas Attack Receive Treatment in Eastern Ghouta by Mohammed Badra (Syria); Almajiri Boy by Marco Gualazzini (Italy); Being Pregnant After FARC Child-Bearing Ban by Catalina Martin-Chico (France/Spain); The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi by Chris McGrath (Australia); Crying Girl on the Border by John Moore (United States); and Akashinga – the Brave Ones by Brent Stirton (South Africa). The three nominees for the World Press Story of the Year are Marco Gualazzini (Italy), Pieter Ten Hoopen (Netherlands/Sweden), and Lorenzo Tugnoli (Italy) – making Gualazzini the first photographer to have been nominated for both the World Press Photo of the Year and the World Press Story of the Year.
Q&A: Marco Gualazzini, World Press Photo nominee
“For me it has always been about the human side. The only way of reporting this drama is through stories of people,” says Marco Gualazzini, whose documentation of the diminishing Lake Chad in Africa has been nominated for both World Press Photo of the Year and World Press Story of the Year. “Lake Chad’s humanitarian crisis is developing on several levels, such as from the base, where a totalitarian government makes it difficult to get aid to the basin, the surface area of which has, over the years, been drastically reduced as a result of climate change, creating internal refugees who become vulnerable and easy prey for the terrorist group.”
World Press Photo of the Year nominee Catalina Martin-Chico
In Catalina Martin-Chico’s World Press Photo of the Year-nominated image, former guerilla fighter Yorladis is photographed with her husband Michael in their home in the Colombian jungle. It is her sixth pregnancy, but Yorladis will be delivering a baby for the first time. Until three years ago, when a peace deal was signed with the Colombian government, Yorladis was a member of the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc). Pregnancy was forbidden, so many female members underwent abortions. Yorladis has had five abortions – her last pregnancy terminated at six months. “She feels that now, she deserves this baby,” says Martin-Chico.
Shortlist announced for MACK’s First Book Award
Ten photographers have made it into the shortlist for MACK’S 2019 First Book Award, with the winning project to be announced in May at Photo London in Somerset House. The shortlisted books are: E2-E4 by Jacob Clayton; Turunc by Solene Gun; Oobanken by Jerome Ming; 1972 by Rachel Monosov & Admire Kamudzengerere; The Buzzer by Miguel Proença; June by Tereza Cervenova; Flattened in Time and Space by Angelo Vignali; Alexander by Michal Siarek; Czarna Madonna (Black Madonna) by Jagoda Wisniewska; and Days by Alia Zapparova.
The Temps Zero experience hits Foto Wien 2019
Since 2012, Temps Zero has matched cutting-edge photographers and music, creating “a sonic and visual experience” that has popped up in Paris, Berlin, Athens, Rome, and many more. No two performances are alike, but the project is overseen by Stéphane Charpentier, a French photographer currently based in Athens. Temps Zero’s next outing is in Vienna during Foto Wien 2019, with a photo projection in the Schikaneder Kino on 23 March, 24 March and 13 April accompanied by a soundtrack recorded by Alyssa Moxley, plus a photography show in the cinema. Guest-curated by Damien Daufresne and Kunstnetzwerk, the show includes images by French photographers Gaël Bonnefon and Gabrielle Duplantier, Swedish photographers Theo Elias and Martin Bogren, and Italian photographer Lorenzo Castore.
Private Reality: A Diary of a Teenage Boy in 1976
It’s the summer of 1976 in Weymouth, England, and 19-year-old Iain McKell is working the length of a busy seafront with two cameras strung round his neck. One is for his summer job, which is to sell portraits to sunburnt holidaymakers for £1.50 a print. The other is for a personal project, which now – 43 years later – is on its way to being published as a book, Private Reality: A Diary of a Teenage Boy. Back then McKell was making photographs of everyone, not just sunburnt holidaymakers, but also friends, family, and the Weymouths. His friends had no idea what he was doing, he says, but then to some extent neither did he. “We were all partying and having fun, but somehow, I had my eye on the prize,” he says.
Tommaso Rada on Europe’s southern borders
“I consider myself a son of the European project,” says Tommaso Rada. “I am part of a generation that lived through the opening of the borders between many different countries, the introduction of the euro, and all the new cultural and linguistic mixing that the European project meant. The feeling of being Italian as well as European is the reason why I am interested in the European Union.” Rada is now based in São Paulo, but was born in Biella in northern Italy and lived in his home country until he was 25. He watched as the policies of the EU evolved, and as the meaning of the Union began to change. His ongoing series Domestic Borders frames a number of different projects he has made, evoking the varying perspectives of those living along the borders of the member countries.
Busy living everything with everyone, everywhere, all of the time
Last year, Simon Baker joined the Maison Européenne de la Photographie as director; now he’s shaking up the Parisian institution with a solo show by dynamic young Royal College of Art graduate Coco Capitán? The 26-year-old Spaniard’s work is always dynamic and often playful, though it’s underpinned by a precision and a poignancy too – whether created with fashion brands such as Gucci, or part of her diverse self-initiated series, which include text and paint along with traditional photography. “To me, she an exemplar of the way that younger artists have understood what photography can be,” says Baker. “She stands for a kind of freedom and confidence.”
Mona Kuhn’s abstraction of being
“I got into photography because I’m a little restless, and I liked that it was fast,” says Brazilian photographer Mona Kuhn, who has just published her sixth book with Steidl, She Disappeared Into Complete Silence. Even so, the speed of photography haunted her, as Kuhn feared that her photographs would be consumed then discarded – like so many of the magazines she read and tossed away. “I wanted to stop time with photography,” she says. “That’s another reason I got into nudes, for the timeless aspect.” She Disappeared Into Complete Silence is an experimental project shot in Acido Dorado, a reflective house in the middle of the Californian desert designed by American architect Robert Stone. Here, Kuhn presents a solitary nude on the edge of the desert, removed from any symbols of time, creating “an abstraction of being,” and “a space where our mind resides”.
Obituary: Xavier Barral, publisher, 1955-2019
Xavier Barral, the award-wining publisher behind Éditions Xavier Barral, has died suddenly, at home in Paris on 17 February. Barral set up Éditions Xavier Barral in 2002 , specialising in publishing books on photography, contemporary art, and science, and swiftly gaining a reputation for creating “an irresistible collection of tomes”, as curator and photo editor Cheryl Newman put it in The Daily Telegraph in 2013. Éditions Xavier Barral was behind books such as Antoine D’Agata’s Anticorps in 2013, a joint publication with Le Bal which won the Rencontres d’Arles Author’s Book Award; in 2015 another Éditions Xavier Barral/Le Bal co-publication, Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence by Eyal Weizman, won the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photography Catalogue of the Year.