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
Think of a horror or thriller, and you may think of the happy first half hour or so when everything seems to be going just fine. The Stepford Wives’ town initially seems like it’s perfect; The Vanishing opens with a couple going on a holiday. It’s only later that the tone takes a turn for the worse, before descending into something more substantially scary. That shift is something the residents of Amherst, Massachusetts seemingly live in fear of, because – while on the face of it their small town is an idyll – they’re constantly on the alert.
“7.32pm – Residents at The Boulders complained about a man yelling out the window in a foreign language,” reads a police report published in the local paper, the Amherst Bulletin. “The man told police he was just stating his excitement for the dinner he was about to eat.” “5.53pm – A woman called police after being approach by a photographer in downtown who asked if he could take pictures of her feet,” another reads. “The photographer was not located.”
Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson have won the UK’s Jerwood/Photoworks Awards for emerging photographers. Each receives £10,000 to make new work plus an additional fund of £5000 and print support from Spectrum Photographic, plus high-profile mentoring and a two-person exhibition that will start at the Jerwood Space in January 2020 and travel throughout the UK.
Born in 1992 in Scandiano, Italy, Rosi is a Togolaise/Italian artist living and working in London. Graduating from the London College of Communication in 2016 with a BA in Photography, she makes work that references the West African studio portrait to explore her family and its experience of migration. Born in 1986 in Doncaster, Theo Simpson lives and works in Lincolnshire, UK, and has shown his work at institutions such as FOAM in Amsterdam, and Webber Gallery, London. His work considers the long game and the transformations of the globalising world, and has previously been published on bjp-online www.bjp-online.com/2017/02/theosimpson/
Sara Palmieri’s Scenario is the latest instalment of an ongoing photographic experimentation with the nature of the invisible and the mysterious. Her investigations began with M, a work based around family archives depicting her grandmother’s hair. Subsequently Palmieri, who was born in Rome, attended a year-long workshop at the ISSP International Masterclass in Latvia, which was headed by Aaron Schuman, and where she produced La plume plonge a la tête and Scenario.
The projects share a vocabulary of darkness and shadows, with a weighty element of construction: each work produces its own internally functioning visual universe, where everything is significant and no element is left to chance. “I’m interested in the non-visible aspects of reality that I try to represent through a process of time, memories and intuitions, the unconscious and revelations, fragments and recompositions,” Palmieri explains.
In adopting the photobook as his primary medium, using complex sequences as well as free ranging associations to create what’s been described as ‘open metaphors’, Jason Fulford is more interested in questions than answers. He invites readers to become active participants in his work, presenting an open enquiry in which the various interconnecting layers are often cryptic and complex, and the meaning is less important than the experience of looking and thinking.
Running since 2013, the PHM Grant has a reputation for finding interesting new photographers such as Max Pinckers, Tomas van Houtryve, and Salvatore Vitale. Now the 35-strong shortlist for the 2018 has been announced, with the winners due to be announced on 08 May and four prizes up for grabs – a first, second and third in the main award, plus a New Generation Prize. Each winner gets a cash prize plus a publication on World Press Photo’s Witness, a projection at Cortona On The Move and at Just Another Photo Festival, and promotion via PHmuseum. The jury handing out the awards is made up of photography specialists – Genevieve Fussell, senior photo editor at The New Yorker; Roger Ballen, photographer and artist; Emilia Van Lynden, artistic director of Unseen; and Monica Allende, independent photo editor and cultural producer. The jury is able to give Honourable Mentions, up to six in the main prize, and up to three in the New Generation Prize.
“When I returned to the work, the notion of place became the focus precisely because of what had not changed in their social landscape over 20 years”
“It’s amazing how such a seemingly simple, common and universal concept as ‘home’ actually becomes incredibly complicated and difficult to pin down, once you really start to consider it on a personal level,” says Aaron Schuman, curator of this year’s JaipurPhoto festival in India, which is themed Homeward Bound. After discussing with the festival’s artistic director, Lola MacDougall, he discovered that JaipurPhoto was originally established as an “open-air travel photography festival”, a label he was initially wary of. For him, the term travel photography “generally alludes to a type of imagery that’s often rather simplistic, generic, stereotypical or predictable”, he says – but he liked 2017 edition of the festival, which was guest-curated by Federica Chiocchetti and themed Wanderlust.
The founding editor of Splash and Grab magazine and photo director at PORT Magazine picks out his top five of the year – including Suzie Howell’s Inside the Spider show
“I wanted to offer up experiences concerning the complexity of our existence on the planet,” Louise Clements, director of the Format festival, told BJP of its theme this year – Habitat. “Climate, migration, technology: they all seem to be accelerating and the consequences are quite momentous. “We are impacting the geology of Earth. It was important to me to do something vital. As a festival, we’re not just here to celebrate the achievements of the artists: we also want to have some kind of impact.” She’s gathered together work by more than 300 artists that fits the theme – along with Hester Keijser, co-curator of the lead exhibition Ahead Still Lies Our Future – and BJP is proud to have partnered up with Format to present our take on some of their shows. We interview Clements and Keijser about the thinking behind their investigation of the Anthropocene; we interview the photographer John MacLean about his project Hometown, which saw him tracing the origins of image-makers such as John Baldessari, Richard Long, William Eggleston and Ed Ruscha. …