A major exhibition of work by Tim Walker opens the V&A in London this September, including 10 new photographic projects directly inspired by items from the museum’s permanent collection
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
A young boy sits in an armchair. Wearing a woollen cardigan, his hands loosely grip the side of the chair. His expression is neither buoyant nor sad. For all intents and purposes, this is just an ordinary photograph of an ordinary boy, yet the image forms the basis of an academic essay. Written by Benjamin Matthews – a part-time Masters student currently reading Photography: History, Theory, Practice at University of Sussex – the paper investigates the attribution of victimhood to subjects in images where an act of injustice is suggested but not shown. With this context, the significance of the photograph becomes apparent. The image is part of a collection of material held at The Keep archive, and donated by relatives of German-Jewish families who survived the Holocaust. “The photograph is of a young boy who was tragically killed in Auschwitz,” explains Matthews, “but it was taken before he was transported. The image itself does not contain any reference to the young boy’s murder, it was taken as a family photograph, yet its place within …
Fabrizio Albertini’s latest project began in his vegetable garden. “It was a stream of consciousness that lasted for a couple of years, from 2015 to 2017. I started taking pictures in my garden,” he says, “I was looking for something close to me”.
Radici is Albertini’s newest book, published by Witty Kiwi, and the winner of this year’s Unveil’d Photobook Award. Its title means “roots” in Italian, “like the ones in my garden,” the photographer explains.
Unlike many other international photography awards, the Open Awards welcome entries from all levels, allowing the image reign supreme
“She hangs around with us after school even though we make it clear she bores us. We whisper nonsense and pretend to laugh at jokes so she laughs too, and we ask, ‘What’s so funny?’ to watch her squirm. She knows we are mean, and yet still she follows along behind. ‘Like a dog,’ we say, loud enough for her to hear.”
On athousandwordphotos.com this is the start of the text accompanying an image of Russian army cadets by Anastasia Taylor-Lind – but it’s not a direct quote from one of the young women depicted. Instead it’s a work of fiction by author Claire Fuller, inspired by the image but written without any knowledge of the circumstances in which it was shot.
It’s the same with the story that accompanies Karim Ben Khalifa’s photograph of a sofa, which was taken in war-torn Kosovo in 1999. In real life, the sofa had been looted and therefore set on fire by French peace-keepers to discourage further looting. But in author Dan Dalton’s hands, it’s set on fire by a 17 year old, who had spent happy hours with a slightly wayward group of friends hanging out on the abandoned couch. Meanwhile a photograph taken by Dungeness nuclear power station by Phil Fisk, inspired Lydia Ruffles to write a short story about a worker called Tomo who’s afraid of the sea.
Pairing documentary photography with fictional writing isn’t new – in fact it’s become quite a trend, with image-makers such as David Goldblatt, Vasantha Yogananthan, Max Pinckers, and Dayanita Singh – among many more – all playing with the combination in recent years. But the examples above come from quite a different project, set up to support Interact Stroke Support – a London-based charity that organises sessions in which actors read to recovering stroke patients.
From a piano tuner jailed for taking direct-action, to an 87-year-old activist, Rhiannon Adam documents anti-fracking campaigners outside of the protest context
“Kalidou is 23-years-old and is going blind. I could really see his pain and frustration. Some days, if the sun was too bright, he would not even be able to go outside”
A film commissioned by British Journal of Photography takes a look behind the scenes of its Meet California commission
Rhiannon Adam investigates the UK fracking debate. Her work sheds light on the stories of individuals both for and against the contentious practice