It is difficult to unravel, in many of the stories that Max Pinckers tells, where fiction became unstuck from fact. Or how the characters in his photographs can look back out at the world so boldly, shake their heads at reality as most people see it, and tell stories that fly in its face. But for the Brussels-based photographer, the six curious individuals in his latest book, Margins of Excess – including a boy who compulsively hijacks trains, and a private detective with prosthetic hands – lead the way to understanding documentary photography’s role in the ‘post-truth’ era.
One such character, an American amateur inventor with a mane of silken hair, sat at the kitchen table of his home in Dunnellon, Florida and told Pinckers that he believed he had become the media’s new Osama bin Laden. “My name is Richard Heene. A few years ago I got into a bit of trouble,” said the forty-something showman, detailing the events that led him to end up behind bars.
Belgian photographer Max Pinckers has won the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Award with his series Red Ink. He receives €25,000, plus a Leica M camera and lens.
Red Ink was shot in North Korea while Pinckers was on assignment for The New Yorker magazine, accompanying journalist Evan Osnos on a four-day trip in August 2017 – the height of the propaganda war with the US. Pinckers’ access to the country was heavily stage-managed by the North Korean government, which carefully set up scenes for him to photograph. Knowing that this would be the case, Pinckers shot the images with a flash, creating a sense of the artificial that tipped the scenes presented to him into the surreal.
Holly Hay’s induction into publishing came by way of the fashion communication and promotion BA at Central Saint Martins. “That course was like training to work at a magazine,” she explains. “It was photography, journalism and graphic design, all meshed into one.” While on it she started taking her own photographs and after she left, she had a stint as a photographer. “It was all going quite well until I met more photographers, and realised I liked their work more than my own!” she laughs. “I discovered that I could create the images I wanted through other people, rather than myself.” Following this revelation, she shifted to a producer role, commissioning photographers, writers and stylists at the newly-conceived Garage magazine, before spending three years as the photographic editor at AnOther, fostering an extensive network of image-makers and collaborators. Now, just over eight months into her tenure as photography director of Wallpaper*, she’s making her presence felt in artist collaborations and visual journalism. How has the way you commission changed since joining Wallpaper*? I would describe the …
It’s six years since the inaugural edition of Unseen Amsterdam arrived with the mission to shake up the art fair model, focusing on emerging photographers and collectors, and instilling a welcome dose of fun to proceedings. And despite its beginnings during difficult times for arts funding, the ‘fair with a festival flair’ has largely succeeded, developing into something more ambitious than a glorified trade show, with its own public programme and a city-wide celebration of the medium in one of the world’s great photography capitals.
The emphasis remains on championing new talent, and with this in mind, the latest addition to Unseen is Futures, a cross-European photography platform bringing together 10 cultural institutions from around the continent, each with their own talent programmes.
In Dave Eggers’ novel The Circle, recent graduate Mae Holland joins a highly successful social media corporation in California. The Circle, as the company is named, demands 24/7 loyalty from its staff but, seduced by its power and glamour, Holland is quickly drawn in and starts sleeping at the on-site dormitory and almost exclusively hanging out with its employees. By the end of the book things have taken a dystopian turn, and The Circle has morphed into a totalitarian regime, governed by slogans such as ‘Privacy is Theft’ and ‘Secrets are Lies’, poised to take over the world.
It’s a compulsive read, and is currently being turned into a film starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, so you’d think it would be required reading for young entrepreneurs relocating to San Francisco to set up their own tech businesses. Photographer Laura Morton agrees, but says most of them have never heard of the book. “You have to understand, most of them are completely dedicated to their work,” she says. “They have to launch faster than the next guy, quickly scale up their business… They’re not looking outward a lot.”
American photographer Laura Morton has won the 2018 Canon Female Photojournalist Award. The award gives her €8000 funding towards a new project, which will be exhibited at the 2019 Visa Pour l’Image festival.
Originally trained in Political Science and Journalism, Morton has previously shot projects on FARC guerrillas in Colombia, the segregation and oppression of Pashtun women in Pakistan, and military sexual assault survivors in the US, and her project on young tech entrepreneurs in San Francisco, Wild West Tech, was funded by the Magnum Foundation and published in BJP’s April 2016 relaunch issue. But she won the award with a pitch for a new project titled University Avenue, named after a road which runs through two very different districts of her home town, San Francisco.
“You should get into the habit of looking above eye-level while walking,” says American photographer Brian Kanagaki. “It’s much more beautiful than looking down at the dirty street and trash.” Golden Persimmons, shot over a period of six years, captures geometric subjects in ambiguous environments; spanning over eight countries (though predominantly New York), the brutally black and white images take inspiration from the graphic, organic shapes found in cities globally.
The project began when the design director got lost while taking a shortcut in his hometown, San Francisco. “It was funny to get lost in a city that I thought I knew so well,” he says. “I ended up driving around and finding so many new things that got my mind working.” One of which was decorative trees in people’s front gardens, the original basis for the series. But after moving to New York and spending time travelling, the idea quickly evolved to focus on tying the world together by capturing its mundane similarities.
It began in March 2015 when David Yates, a client of photographer and fine art printer Mike Crawford, turned up at his print studio, Lighthouse Darkroom, with a “shopping trolleyful” of old boxes of expired photographic paper. The next day, he brought another. The two loads were what was left of a mass clear-out of Yates’ late grandfather Bret Sampson’s darkroom. The British photographer’s London studio was his first port of call, given that Crawford was already working with Yates on another of his personal projects.
When you Google Bobby Doherty, staff photographer at New York Magazine, the words “film,” “35mm,” and “vertical” repeatedly come up. But since being commissioned for editorial, the New York based artist has focused his time on producing digital still life photography. “Now I’m known for doing super digital studio stuff, which is cool because I like making that kind of work; but it’s nice to be able to step away from the studio and live outside,” he says. “I like taking photos all the time – it’s nice not to have to worry about the technical aspect and just go out with a camera and film.”
In October 2017, Oliver Chanarin, a photographer professor at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, printed an archival photograph onto cardboard in his office, and left it on display for his job share partner Adam Broomberg. The next week, his colleague printed an image on top of the photograph. This exchange happened several times, ultimately creating unprompted photomontages. “I left a sample for Adam, as a little gift,” says Chanarin, who was born in London but grew up in South Africa as a child to South African parents. “That’s how it began; as a conversation in images printed on cardboard.”