“This book….does not – and this I must emphasise – document life in the GDR [German Democratic Republic]. Rather, it shows how I saw this country and the people who lived here,” writes Roger Melis in the introduction to his book In a Silent Country, now published for the first time in an English edition.
“When selecting the photographs for this volume, I placed no demands on myself, and certainly did not try to comprehensively depict working and living conditions in the GDR,” he later adds. “…they focus on the everyday, and not on the spectacular. In my photographs, I only rarely attempted to capture a decisive, unrepeatable moment. The moments I always searched for were the ones in which whatever was special, unusual or temporary about people and things had dropped away, revealing the core of their being, their essence.”
An interview with Don McCullin is never going to be a dull affair – he is a complex man who has told the story of his life many times before. He is unfailingly polite and gentlemanly, but one detects a slightly weary tone as he goes over the familiar ground. He often pre-empts the questions with clinical self-awareness.
The story of McCullin’s rise from the impoverished backstreets of Finsbury Park in north London is one of fortuitous good luck, but it didn’t start out that way. Born in 1935, he was just 14 when his father died, after which he was brought up by his dominant, and sometimes violent, mother. During National Service with Britain’s Royal Air Force, he was posted to Suez, Kenya, Aden and Cyprus, gaining experience as a darkroom assistant. He bought a Rolleicord camera for £30 in Kenya, but pawned it when he returned home to England, and started to become a bit of a tearaway.
Redemption came when his mother redeemed the camera, and MccCullin started to take photographs of a local gang, The Guvners. One of the hoodlums killed a policeman, and McCullin was persuaded to show a group portrait of the gang to The Observer. It published the photo, and kick-started a burgeoning career as a photographer for the newspaper.
Three-time World Press Photo winner Lu Guang has been detained by national security offices during a visit to Xinjiang, according to his wife Xu Xiaoli, who last heard from him on 03 November. Lu Guang is a US green card holder whose documentary projects often focus on social, environmental and economic issues in China. According to reports, Lu flew to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang region, on 23 October, where he had been invited by a friend to attend several photography events. He had planned to fly to Sichuan to meet another friend on 05 November, but on arrival, the friend was unable to find him. Lu’s friend contacted Lu’s wife, Xu, to find out his whereabouts, but she had not heard from him since 03 November. Xu then contacted the wife of Lu’s host in Xinjiang, and was told that both he and Lu had been taken away by national security. Xinjiang is a region that has recently become notorious for tight security controls and heavy police presence, amid widely-criticised operations to tackle what these …
The shortlist for street photography exhibition MyTown has been revealed. Seagulls, greasy spoons cafes, and Notting Hill Carnival all appear in the shortlist, which captures the eccentricities of street life across the UK. Clear Channel, the outdoor media company behind the exhibition, will display the chosen images on their 3000 digital screens in public spaces across the UK. They will also host a pop up exhibition in London on 5 December 2018, where they will announce the winner. As well as the invaluable exposure of a nationwide exhibition, the winner will receive a X100F, Fujifilm’s premium compact camera, and a UK city break of their choosing. MyTown’s mission is to capture the diversity of street life across the UK, as can be seen in the wonderfully varied shortlist. The chosen images feature recognisable and quirky scenes in towns and cities across the UK, including Newcastle, Notting Hill, Brighton and Blackpool. This year, the competition welcomed thousands of entries from both established and emerging photographers, almost tripling the submissions to its first edition in 2017. The …
Bangladeshi photographer and social activist Shahidul Alam was freed from Dhaka Central Jail at on 21 November, after being locked up for 107 days for spreading “propaganda and false information”.
The 63-year old photographer and Drik Gallery director was arrested at his home in Dhaka on 05 August, and was charged with violating Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), which has been used in more than 20 recent cases involving journalists, most of them related to news-reporting, according to Bangladeshi paper The Daily Star.
Now in its 22nd year, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is awarded each year to image-makers who’ve made the biggest contribution to the medium in the previous 12 months in Europe. This year the shortlisted artists are: Laia Abril, for her publication On Abortion; Susan Meiselas, for the retrospective exhibition Mediations; Arwed Messmer, for his exhibition RAF – No Evidence / Kein Beweis; and Mark Ruwedel, for the exhibition Artist and Society: Mark Ruwedel. The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced at The Photographers’ Gallery on 16 May 2019.
Sarah Waiswa is a Kenya-based documentary and portrait photographer, whose key interests are people and their stories. Much of her work focuses on identity, and explores themes surrounding isolation and belonging in her native Africa. In particular, she is concerned with documenting what she calls the New African Identity – a term she coined to describe a new era of cultural freedom on the continent – and what this might mean for Africa’s future. Born during Idi Amin’s dictatorship in Uganda, Waiswa and her family were forced to flee to Kenya shortly after her birth. This formative experience has affected both Waiswa’s worldview, and her photographic aims; exploring her connection to place is still a central theme in much of her work. Waiswa’s photographs are pioneering in the way that they illustrate social issues in Africa in a contemporary and non-traditional way. She focuses on every aspect of African culture; from religion, to the isolation of people with albinism. Through her work, Waiswa has reclaimed her narrative; she is able to document Africa from an …
Aiyush Pachnanda may have yet to finish his Photojournalism degree, but he’s already taking the photography world by storm. EyeEm, a global photography marketplace and community, recently announced him as their Photographer of the Year, the most prestigious title in the EyeEm Photography Awards. As well as receiving a trip to Berlin Photo Week and a Sony Alpha camera, Pachnanda will act as the EyeEm ambassador during 2019. So what is it that sets Pachnanda apart from the 100,000 other photographers who entered? His winning image, a low angle portrait of a heavily tattooed man with a grey tower block looming behind him, says it all. Flick through Pachnanda’s work and you’ll notice two recurring themes: urban landscapes, and striking people. Splitting his time between London, where he grew up, and Cardiff, where he studies, Pachnanda has an enduring interest both in the city, and in the subcultures that people form there. In his unaffected way (he’s pursuing a rough-and-ready style of photojournalism, often using an old point-and-shoot), he captures the raucous underbelly of urban …
Feeling all shopped out? Take refuge in a photo show – though many are being hosted by private galleries in Paris next week, meaning you can still buy prints if you want to. Photo Saint-Germain is a huge umbrella under which 36 exhibitions and events are taking place, for example, including the Polycopies and Shakespeare & Co book events and several cultural institutes, but also smaller, commercial galleries.
The biggest photo fair in Europe, Paris Photo returns from 08-11 November, with a new section on erotic images, and a walk-through focusing on female photographers.
Curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, curator of the French Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the Curiosa sector will bring together intimate images by 13 artists such as Nobuyoshi Araki, JoAnn Callis, and Antoine d’Agata. Kirszenbaum hope to challenge the viewer’s gaze on the fetishised body, and tackle “relations of power, domination, and gender issues”. “There are images not everyone would like to see, which I think is good,” Kirszenbaum told BJP in an article published in our November issue.