“In many ways Another Europe questions whether Europe is other at all,” says Hamish Park. “While this is not an explicitly political exhibition, I do hope that it will go some way to reminding the audience that we share deep cultural roots which go beyond geographic borders or treaty arrangements, and that what we share is as significant as what makes us distinct.”
Park has just curated an exhibition called Another Europe which goes on show soon around Kings Cross, London, mounted on specially-designed concrete benches. Featuring one photograph from each of the 28 European Union member states, shot by a photographer from the country, it’s been organised by the Australian Cultural Forum London to celebrate both the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and Austria’s presidency of the EU council. It’s also interesting timing for this exhibition in the UK, as the country negotiates Brexit.
“What’s more American, iconic, and masculine than a cowboy?” asks Kristine Potter. “There is so much control within the military, so I wanted to pivot to a more lawless, unpredictable form of masculinity”.
Coming from a long line of military men on both sides of her family, Potter has long been interested in broadening the spectrum of permissible masculinity. After completing The Gray Line, a project that looks at young male cadets, she started to think about forms of masculinity other than that familiar from her youth.
“It’s hard to know when to stop,” says Gregory Halpern. “I remember putting my camera away on a trip home and being relieved it was out of sight. I never feel that way, so that was clearly a sign. I haven’t kept track, but I shot maybe 700 to 1000 rolls of film.”
He’s talking about ZZYZX, which he’s worked on for five years, partly supported by a Guggenheim fellowship. Shot in Southern California, starting out on the eastern fringes of the state then moving slowly westwards towards Los Angeles and the Pacific, it’s named after an ‘unincorporated community’ in the Mojave desert, and has a similar sense of the outsider. The opening picture shows a gnarled hand, with a callus on the thumb and dirt in the fingernails, outstretched to show seven stars tattooed on the palm. The next shows stark black trees in the desert in the wake of a fire.
For a country with a population of only 340,000 – more or less equal to the London Borough of Ealing – qualifying for this year’s Fifa World Cup was a miracle. It is the smallest-ever country to participate, and in its first match, it managed to hold Argentina to a 1-1 draw. 99.6% of Iceland’s TV viewers tuned in to watch the game, making it the most-viewed sporting event in the country’s history.
“They really are crazy about football,” says Matteo de Mayda, an Italian photographer who travelled to Iceland with journalist Cosimo Bizzarri earlier this year to document the sport in Iceland. “It’s a miracle for them to be at the World Cup, and a miracle to draw against Argentina.”
Out of a 1200km-stretch of grassland in northern Kazakhstan, glistening skyscrapers shoot up into the landscape. Among the impressive buildings rising out of the otherwise sparse terrain are two identical golden towers, a fantastical presidential palace, and a looming centrepiece that blossoms into a large golden sphere. It packs quite a visual punch, but what’s most impressive is that it’s all been built in just 15 years.
Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997, and has since developed into one of the most modern cities in Central Asia. It’s futuristic buildings are designed by world-famous architects such as Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, their work paid for via the country’s recently-discovered oil reserves.
“Most of my initial photography projects have grown by asking myself questions about my heritage, culture and where I come from,” says Kovi Konowiecki, who’s currently based between his native California and Mexico City. Brought up in a Jewish home in Long Beach, the 25-year- old former footballer has intimately captured his hometown and its surrounding areas, as well as travelling further afield, to document the wider Jewish diaspora. The nebulous concept of home – what it means and what it is like to voyage beyond it – is a recurring theme in his work. From exploring contemporary notions of Orthodox Judaism in England, the US and Israel, to the racial and cultural discrimination faced by Ethiopian Jews in Israel, Konowiecki’s drive to better understand aspects of his own identity has brought him into contact with a broad range of distinct cultures and communities. Over the past three years, he began to trace similarities between the people he was photographing, who all tended to occupy a liminal space between belonging and isolation. His latest project, …
It’s show time for a new batch of graduates, with photographers and artists around the UK showing off the last work they’ve completed as students. The BA Photography and BA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography shows have already taken place at the London College of Communication, for example with strong portfolios by Herman Rahman and Freya Clayton-Payne, among others; the University of Westminster’s MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism and MA Photography Arts students are showing their work at Ambika P3, London from 23-28 June, meanwhile, with new graduates including Cheryl Newman, former photography director of the Telegraph Magazine.
Free Range at London’s Old Truman Brewery, meanwhile, offers institutions based outside the UK’s capital the chance to show work in it, taking over the East London warehouses for two photography weeks – 22-25 June, and 29 June-2 July. Exhibitions are free and open from Friday-Monday both weeks, and institutions taking part include Falmouth University, Arts University of Bournemouth, and University of East London. Here BJP picks out our selection of the works that will go on show.
“It asks, inevitably, questions about who we are. Who we are in Britain, or who we are in the world. It asks questions about legacy, my own life, and cycles; the very folding of time,” says Vanessa Winship of her latest project, the ongoing series And Time Folds. “It’s difficult to say exactly what it is about because I don’t really know what it will end up being,” she adds.
Winship was the first woman to win the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson Award back in 2011, and she now has a major solo show opening at London’s Barbican Art Gallery on 22 June, also titled And Time Folds. It features over 150 photographs including previously unseen projects and archival material; it also includes her newest series, a mixture of “completely different, random formats” and found objects, inspired by her granddaughter and “how she frames herself in the world in relation to seeing, hearing and touching”.
“I’m one of those people who enjoy feeling like they have control over their life,” writes Mitch Epstein in Rocks and Clouds. “My house is spare and neat, my photographic expeditions are well-planned. Here’s the thing about clouds: they don’t give a damn if you planned well or not.”
Despite having spent years confronting the FBI as he shot power plants throughout America, and photographing his father as he faced the failure of his business, clouds ended up being one of Epstein’s trickier subjects. “I’m really just at the mercy of the unexpected and nature itself,” he says, adding that shooting clouds requires malleability and intuition – both of which are central to his practice.
In Chongqing, the largest city in southwest China, city officials have been planting trees for over a decade, aiming to create a “forest city”. But after investigating the origins of these trees, photographer Yan Wang Preston uncovered a troubling process. “The whole concept of trying to be green is being abused,” she says.
By way of example, she tells the story of Frank – a 300 year-old tree that’s a central character in her new book, Forest. When Preston first encountered Frank in 2013, he was being forcefully removed from a small village that was soon to be flooded by one of the Yangtze River dams. Frank was sold to the owners of a five-star hotel in a nearby county for 250,000 RMB, approximately £30,000. When asked whether the tree would survive, one of the guards replied with pride, reassuring Preston that they were all experts at transplanting trees.
But when she returned in 2017, Frank had been dead for over two years – and so had the tree that had followed it. “The older the trees are, they more likely they will die, because it’s hard for them to adapt to a new environment,” says Preston. “I’m interested in the complicity of this whole thing. For the tree, it’s very sad to be relocated. But then, the ultimate motivation is to be closer to nature”.