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Untitled 08, from the series Outburst, 2018 © Vincent Levrat (Switzerland), nominated for the Hyeres photo prize

Our pick of the key stories this week includes a preview of photography festivals in Japan and France, news on the National Portrait Gallery's refusal to accept a £1m Sackler Trust donation, and interviews with photographers Aaron Schuman and Tomas Bachot

Seeing leafy New England askew in Aaron Schuman’s Slant
Inspired by local Police Reports, the curator, photographer and editor Aaron Schuman uncovered a humorous – but disturbing – fear at the heart of Amherst, Massachusetts. We spoke to Shuman about his project, Slant, now being published by MACK.

From SLANT, 2017 © Aaron Schuman

The NPG “not to proceed” with a £1m Sackler Trust donation
London’s National Portrait Gallery is no longer taking a £1m gift from the Sackler Trust, amid growing controversy over the trust’s links to Purdue Pharma – makers of the OxyContin prescription painkiller which has been linked to the opioid crisis. The £1m gift was to support the gallery’s Inspiring People initiative, a £35.5m project which would see the biggest-ever building development of the gallery since it opened in 1896.

NPG Gallery’s current entrance – Born Digital. Image courtesy the NPG

Ooshot Award: an exhibition of commissioned photography
The first award dedicated to commissioned photography will exhibit the winning project – Sneakers like Jay-Z by Ambroise Tézenas and Frédéric Delangle – alongside selected commercial work by 25 other image-makers. The exhibition will be on show at Magasins Généraux – BETC from 19 to 28 April.

© Charlie Engman for Emilio Pucci

Hyères Festival returns, 25-29 April
Established in 1986 as a festival for young fashion designers, the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion accessories, Hyères, has established itself as a small but beautiful festival with a cutting-edge handle on photography in fashion and beyond. Featuring 10 emerging image-makers shortlisted for a photography prize plus exhibitions by world-famous names such as Craig McDean, it returns to France from 25-29 April.

Kate Moss, Harper’s Bazar, December 1996. From the exhibition Craig McDean

Kyotographie 2019: VIBE
Set within the ancient city of Kyoto, among countless temples, shrines, and imperial palaces, is Japan’s largest international photofestival, Kyotographie. Weronika Gęsicka, Teppei Kaneuji and Ismaïl Bahri are among the headliners of this year’s festival, which returns for the seventh time from 13 April to 12 May.

Teppei Kaneuji, Sea and Pus (Concrete Block), 2018 © Teppei Kaneuji

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life
Tomas Bachot’s documentary series about a gold mining initiative in Rosia Montana, Romania took an unexpected turn after receiving negative feedback from one of his couchsurfing hosts. From there, the project evolved into an introspective investigation into the nature of documentary photography itself. We spoke to Bachot ahead of an open-air projection of his work during Riga Photomonth this May.

From the series ‘Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life’ 01 © Tomas Bachot

Massimo Vitali: Short Stories
Massimo Vitali believes that “When you overshoot, you lose your balance” and his new book and exhibition are an exercise in restraint – including just 12 of his iconic images, shot on beaches and other crowded public places. “For me the beach is the perfect place to observe people,” he wrote on his blog back in July 2018. “In other words, we go to the beach to take pictures of people, not to take pictures of the beach.”

Cefalù Orange Yellow Blue, 2008 © Massimo Vitali, courtesy Mazzoleni London Torino