In 1997, a document titled A Study of Assassination was released by the CIA as part of the Freedom of Information Act. It is believed to have been created in 1953 with the purpose of instructing agents on how to kill, and was released with a collection of files relating to the 1954 CIA-backed overthrow of the-then newly-elected leader of Guatemala, Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The operation in Guatemala was lobbied for by United Fruit Company, an American corporation that traded in tropical fruit, mainly bananas, and which wielded huge power in Central America at the time.
When he found out about these documents, George Selley was instantly captivated, and his new project, A Study of Assassination, combines pages from the manual with archival press images, banana advertisements and Cold War propaganda. BJP caught up with the recent London College of Communication MA graduate to find out more about this project and his approach to images.
Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1988, Hashem Shakeri studied architecture in TAFE (New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission of Australia), and started his professional photography career in 2010. In 2015 he was Commended in the Ian Parry Scholarship, and in 2017 his images were included in the Rencontres d’Arles exhibition Iran, Year 38, alongside work by photographers such as Abbas Kiarostami and Newsha Tavakolian.
Shakeri’s ongoing series on climate change in Sistan and Balouchestan looks at the effect of drought in the Iranian province, which is located in the southeast of the country, bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has been suffering from drought for the last 18 years, which has created severe famine in a region once famed for its agriculture and forests. “Nowadays, the Sistan region has faced astonishing climate change, which has turned this wide area into an infertile desert empty of people,” writes Shakeri.
Hundreds of people crowd in the city of Ukraine, wearing helmets and holding flags, while a fire breaks out. A person in white-gloves wipes the blood off the face of a young man. Police line up with their bulletproof shields; one stands on the bonnet of a van preparing to fire his rifle. Maxim Dondyuk is a documentary photographer. His 2013-2014 project, Culture of the Confrontation, showcases perspective-shifting images of Euromaidan, the three-month long protests that erupted in Ukraine against the government, characterised as an event of major political symbolism for the European Union.
“We do not need to specifically just focus on changing stereotypes of what being African is through our visual storytelling; I think that’s an additional burden that other artists from other continents are not expected to subscribe to. I do think that through our visual storytelling, whatever theme we choose, and the quality of our work, we already do so much to challenge external perceptions of the African continent,” says Ngadi Smart, one of the image-makers whose work will feature in the exhibition Foreseen: New Narratives from the African Photojournalism Database.
It’s just one of the shows in the forthcoming Nuku Photo Festival Ghana, the first event of its kind in the country. Featuring exhibitions, a conference, a portfolio review, and networking events, Nuku Photo Festival Ghana aims to “create a space for artistic explorations and exchanges”, according to the festival founder Nii Obodai. “For this first edition, we have curated a diverse programme in cooperation with local and international partners that showcases the works of 50 both established and up-and-coming photographers and visual artists.”
“The ethics for me is the backbone of what we do. If we don’t follow strict ethics within our work, I think we are damaging the credibility of the whole of this profession,” says Bénédicte Kurzen, a photographer and member of the prestigious NOOR photography collective since 2012. Now she, and seven other NOOR photographers are putting her words into action, with three masterclasses offered free of charge to budding photojournalists.
Supported by Nikon Europe, the masterclasses are four days long, and each feature three tutors. Kurzen is teaming up with Sanne De Wilde and Francesco Zizola for the masterclass in Turin, held from 12-15 November; Tanya Habjouqa, Sebastian Liste and Kadir van Lohuizen are at the masterclass held in Budapest from 26-29 November; and Tanya Habjouqa, Jon Lowenstein and Léonard Pongo are at the masterclass held in Zürich from 03-06 December.
Bangladeshi photographer and Drik Gallery director Shahidul Alam has reportedly been denied bail by a court in Dhaka.
Various local media outlets, including United News of Bangladesh, The Daily Star, and Bangla Tribune, have all reported that Judge KM Imrul Kayes of Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judge’s Court passed the order on 11 September. Public Prosecutor Mohammad Abu Abdullah moved against the bail petition, while Barrister Sarah Hossain stood for Alam – who filed the bail petition through his lawyers on 28 August, asking for it to be granted as he is ill.
EyeEm is currently the world’s largest photography competition, and this year it welcomed a record 700,000 entries. The submissions came from more than 100,000 photographers, hailing from over 150 countries, who have now been whittled down to 100 finalists. The daunting task of selecting the finalists from this number came down to a panel of industry experts that included Nik Schulte, Image Director of High Snobiety; Jose Cabaco, the Global Creative Concept & Storytelling Director at Adidas; Lucy Pike, Director of Photography at WeTransfer; and Sasha Dudkina, last year’s EyeEm Photographer of the Year, among others. Together, they selected the top 10 images from each of the nine categories, and the 10 shortlisted photographers for Photographer of the Year. Among the diverse categories are ‘The Architect’, ‘The Creative’, and ‘The Traveller’, with shortlisted images ranging from Juan Manuel Molina Avilés’ eerie photograph of a man with his head submerged under a tap in ‘The Creative’ category; Maxym Gorodetskyy’s depiction of far-right protesters baring #freetommy posters, and fighting for the release of ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson …
A lauded photojournalist and founding member of VII Photo, Antonin Kratochvil has left the agency after a storm of controversy over his alleged sexual harassment of female photographers. Kratochvil was suspended from VII Photo in July after an investigation into sexual harassment in photojournalism by Kristen Chick was published in the Columbia Journalism Review. Chick’s lengthy article included various allegations that he had sexually harassed female members of the agency, both verbally and physically. Kratochvil has denied the accusations but, according to VII Photo, submitted his resignation to the agency on 24 August. VII Photo states that his resignation was immediately accepted, and it publicly announced his departure on 03 September. Kratochvil’s case comes hard on the heels of Patrick Witty’s departure from National Geographic, where the deputy director of photography’s inappropriate behaviour towards women photojournalists was the subject of an internal investigation. Both cases, and Chick’s article, can be seen as indicative of the soul-searching currently underway in photojournalism, a sector that even Lars Boering, managing director of World Press Photo has described as “macho”. Magnum Photos …
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.