Shooting meticulously set-up still lifes on film with a large format camera, Lucas Blalock scans his images and digitally manipulates them, creating tricksy, mind-bending work that plays with the boundary between reality and fiction. Now it’s fashionable to talk about fake news, but Blalock got in early, poking holes in our trust in images.
It’s earned him an enviable career, with books published by respected outfits such as Morel Books and Self Publish, Be Happy, and solo exhibitions at private galleries such as the White Cube. Now he’s got his first solo show at a public gallery in the US, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Los Angeles, where he’s showing images made since 2014. Initially he might have seemed part of a movement, but Blalock has carved out a career on his own.
Interviewing Nigel Shafran is a circuitous, informal affair. Meeting him at his North London home, I immediately recognise Ruth, his partner and the subject of many of his photographs. I also meet his son Lev, who, though somewhat older, is also still easily discernible from his father’s pictures. The interview takes place in the kitchen familiar from Flowers for ____. Every now and then a friend calls round or phones, with plans made to throw a boomerang around in the park that afternoon, or play ping pong in the evening. Lev occasionally interjects from the living room with his take on the interview process, or on “nattering on about photography” as he puts it. “Sorry. Oh my God!” says Shafran, as the phone rings for the second time. “No worries,” I say. “You’re a busy man.” “A busy family man!” he replies. It doesn’t always make for an easy interview, but it feels appropriate for a photographer who focuses on the everyday, the domestic and the personal.
Back in 2008, Facebook was just four years old, Twitter was just two years old, and the iphone had just been released. Instagram had not yet been invented. A decade is a long time in internet years, and yet one online photography magazine launched into this unpromising landscape has survived and thrived – 1000 Words. Set up and still run by editor-in-chief, Tim Clark, it includes long-form essays, interviews, and reviews, and has included contributors such as David Campany, Susan Bright, Gerry Badger, Charlotte Cotton, Wolfgang Tillmans, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Vanessa Winship and Lieko Shiga. Now, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Clark is publishing a special print edition, 1000 Words 10 Years, designed by respected photography and art specialist Sarah Boris and featuring newly-commissioned content. The annual will be 200 pages long, and will feature 10 portfolios from influential artists such as Jose Pedro Cortes, Laia Abril, Edmund Clark, and Esther Teichmann, as well as a series of photo-centric city guides, profiles on curators and collectors, opinion pieces on the art of photobook publishing, and reflections on a decade’s changes in photography. It will also include a selection of memorable and talked-about articles from the 1000 Words back catalogue.
The curator, writer, and creative consultant picks out her top five of 2017 – including Jason Fulford’s Fake Newsroom, a contemporary spin on Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel’s 1983 performance
The British curator spent 12 formative years working at the V&A. And in the 12 years since, she’s done the opposite, moving from post to post either side of the Atlantic, including senior directorial and curator positions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Media Museum and ICP. She has written numerous books, including two notable surveys, The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2004) and Photography is Magic (2015). This article was first published in BJP’s April issue, available from www.thebjpshop.com My first encounters with photography were through my parents, who are furniture historians and had a photo studio at home. I loved the precision and drama of the photo shoot, even when the subject was just a chair! My dad took me to see an exhibition of pre-Revolution Russian photography at Oxford’s MoMA when I was a teenager. This was when I fell in love with photography. I look back at my years at the V&A as a time of incalculable learning. I learnt how to communicate, how to be helpful, to …
What do Daisuke Yokota and Thomas Mailaender have in common? On the face of it very little, with the Japanese artist specialising in ethereal, fine art installations, and the French provocateur in deliberately jokey tattoos, pottery and chicken runs (complete with live chickens). “Society puts too much pressure on us to be perfect when in fact everybody smells bad in the arse,” says Mailaender; “If you look around there are so many extraordinary artists and, when I compare, I have done nothing,” says Yokota. “If I burn out now, I was not good enough.” But if you look a little deeper, the two artists are both concerned with the fragile materiality of the photograph, and the alchemic process that transubstantiates mundane subjects into the sacred and the profane. So we’ve put their work together this issue, and added images by artists with similar concerns. Alejandro Guijarro’s Lead, for example, which uses an x-ray machine to illuminate the hidden layers of Old Masters; or Raphael Dallaporta’s Chauvet – Pont-d’Arc, L’inappropriable, a study of prehistoric cave sketches which …