BJP-online saw out 2018 by asking 13 photo-people from around the world to pick out the projects that most interested them over the past year – including The Guardian’s photo critic Sean O’Hagan, the FT Weekend Magazine’s director of photography Emma Bowkett, and BJP editorial director Simon Bainbridge
Stakle recently won the New East Photo Prize organised by Calvert 22 Foundation, with a series titled Heavy Waters. Shot in Crimea in 2011, the series shows towns and villages scattered along the coast on the Crimean Peninsula – an area that was at the time part of Ukraine, but which became part of Russia after the Ukraine-Russia crisis in 2014. To date, Crimea remains an internationally unrecognised part of Russia. Crimea was one of the most popular resorts of the Soviet Union but, says Stakle, “being on the crossroads of trade routes has always been risky”. “Since times immemorial, the Crimean Peninsula has been coveted by different countries, near and far,” he writes in his introduction to the series.
Projects exploring mysterious religious rituals in Russia, Soviet health resorts in Poland, and Ukrainian school graduations all feature on the shortlist for this year’s New East Photo Prize. Including 16 photographers from Latvia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Croatia, Slovakia and Azerbaijan, the shortlisted series will be exhibited as part of a group show this autumn.
“Each of the shortlisted photographers demonstrate a unique approach to the people, places and stories that shape the region,” says Ekow Eshun, creative director of Calvert. “The prize has proven itself once again to be an important space for emerging photographers to gain international recognition, and we look forward to working with each of them in the exhibition and beyond.”
Centred around the theme of New Chic, the works on show at Riga Photomonth this May “are united by quests in the language of photography,” says curator Alnis Stakle. Raising questions about the materiality of photography, he continues, these projects also examine “individual and collective meanings and identities and the rituals of looking and showing off”. Inka and Niclas Lindergård are showing a series titled The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, for example, which addresses the materiality of the photograph and photography’s role in the stylisation of the landscape. Through manipulation and the use of colour flashlights “their works become an open portal to the hyperrealistic synthesis of beauty, kitsch and visual desire in the language of photography,” says Stakle, who is director of Multimedia Communication and Photography at Riga Stradins University, and a celebrated photographer in his own right (bjp-online featured his series Theory of R in March 2017).
Launched in 2015 by the artist Anouk Kruithof with the collector John A. Phelan, The Anamorphosis Prize picks out exceptional self-published and artists’ books that use photography. The longlist includes 20 books each year, of which three receive a special jury mention, and one winner takes all of the $10,000 prize. All submitted books will be donated to Franklin Furnace, which hosted the judging, and the 20 books on the longlist will be included in the MoMA library; The Rubber Factory in New York also hosted the longlisted books and a party to celebrate them on 30 November. The winner for the 2017 prize will be announced on 01 January 2018; the winner for the 2016 prize was Moises Saman with Discordia, and the winner for the 2015 prize was Carolyn Drake with Wild Pigeon. This year the judges were Anouk Kruithof, John A Phelan, and the Mexican curator Amanda de la Garza Mata, and they picked out the following: Sea I become by degrees by Natalia Baluta; Beyond Here Is Nothing by Laura El-Tantawy; The Sentinel Script by Georg Zinsler; Adverse Reaction – …
“Asselin’s Monsanto® is a courageous, investigative project that connects evidence-driven photography and visual research to the democratisation of knowledge; it’s important that this book exists in physical form, as a document, and not just in the virtual world,” says Cristiano Raimondi of Mathieu Asselin’s photobook Monsanto®. A Photographic Investigation. Raimondi is head of development and international projects at the New National Museum of Monaco and an invited curator for Platform 2017 at this year’s Paris Photo, but he’s speaking as a jury member for the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards because Asselin’s book has just won the prestigious First PhotoBook prize.
Established in 2012, the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards are divided into three categories – PhotoBook of the Year, First PhotoBook, and Photography Catalogue of the Year. The winners will be announced on 10 November at Paris Photo, and all the shortlisted and winning titles will be profiled in The PhotoBook review and exhibited at Paris Photo, the Aperture Gallery in New York, and at other international venues. The year Albert Elm’s What Sort of Life is This, Mathieu Asselin’s Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation and the group book project Amplitude No.1, which is edited by Nadya Sheremetova and includes photographers such as Irina Yulieva, Igor Samolet and Irina Ivannikova, were among those to make the First PhotoBook shortlist this year
It’s the biggest, most prestigious photography festival in the world and it’s back – Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles opens on 03 July and closes on 24 September. It’s the 48th edition of the festival, which has seen seismic changes in the last few years – the departure of its long-standing director Francois Hebel after the 2014 edition, and the arrival of his replacement, Sam Stourdze, the backing of the influential LUMA Foundation, and the Cosmos-Arles book fair. This history and reputation mean Arles is able to pull in the big names, which this year means including solo shows by Joel Meyerowitz, Michael Wolf, Gideon Mendel, Masahisa Fukase, Alex Majoli and Roger Ballen; plus an exhibition on Surrealism organised by Le Centre Pompidou and including works by Hans Bellmer, Erwin Wurm and Rene Magritte. Arles also uses its might to showcase lesser-known names and regions, however, and one of the themes running through the 2017 edition is Latina!, a celebration of work from South America in four separate shows. Urban Impulses is a group …
When Alnis Stakle first took up photography, he was faced with a rigid conception of what it could and couldn’t be. In Latvia in the 1990s, photography was largely considered a commercial craft, he says, with any more artistic ambitions restricted to banal nudes and sunsets. But for Stakle, photography is “a kind of religion” that has the power to change our relationship to the world. “Photography is a wonderful medium that makes me look at mundane things and events from another perspective, and enables me to grasp the essential in the meaningless,” he explains. Most of his work is driven by the desire to record his surroundings in a deeply personal way, and his new project – Theory of R – marks an important transition in his life. Moving to Latvia’s capital, Riga, in 2011, he found the global economic crisis was creating a grim urban environment beneath the “shiny veneer” of the city’s tourist attractions. “Half of the people of Latvia reside in Riga, and individuals who suffer from poverty and social exclusion are by no means an unusual …
When Alnis Stakle first took up photography, he was faced with a rigid conception of the medium. In Latvia in the 1990s it was largely considered a commercial craft, he says, with any more artistic ambitions restricted to banal nudes and sunsets. But for Stakle photography is “a kind of religion”, which has the power to change our relationship to the world.