All posts filed under: Spotlight: Festival

Happy Valley explores the toxicity of American culture

“When I started making Happy Valley, I was still struggling with the hangover of growing up there,” says Eva O’Leary of the series, which stems from the photographer’s experience of growing up in a town entrenched in many destructive aspects of American culture. “I realised that a lot of the things I had internalised as normal were actually toxic.” Happy Valley is the nickname for State College, a town in Pennsylvania. Its identity largely rests on being home to Penn State University, “one of America’s biggest party schools,” says O’Leary. Happy Valley is a slogan, almost a command, given by the university and emblazoned on t-shirts and merchandise, but there is a dichotomy between the idea of Happy Valley and the reality of the place. “The projected image is of a small American, sporty, wholesome town,” explains O’Leary. “People see it as this place of eternal youth where nothing bad ever happens, because everyone there is a student and it’s very isolated.” Growing up in Happy Valley, however, proved very different. “Like a lot of America, …


Photo London 2019: Stephen Shore and Vivian Maier star in the public programme

Photo London is back at Somerset House this May for its fifth instalment, with a special exhibition of new and unseen work by this year’s Master of Photography, Stephen Shore, plus Vivian Maier, Roger Fenton, Eamonn Doyle, almost 100 galleries from 21 different countries, and a giant egg sculpture.

Known for his pioneering use of colour photography, Shore’s newest body of work will be shown for the first time in the UK at the fair, as well as a series of 60 small photographs titled Los Angeles, taken through a single day in the city in 1969. “We are honoured to present Stephen Shore as our 2019 Master of Photography,” said Photo London’s founding directors Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad. “As his recent retrospective at MOMA (New York) admirably demonstrated, Stephen is a truly pioneering photographer who has consistently pushed the boundaries of image making throughout a long and successful career.”


Beyond Paris Photo – focus on photobooks

Paris Photo is epic, but beyond the Grand Palais there’s a plethora of other photo-related events in the French capital. For those interested in photobooks there are two essential book fairs – Offprint and Polycopies, both showcasing some of the most interesting new work in photography and beyond; there is also a week-long photo focus at the world-famous Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare & Co.


BJP Staff