Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including a new book on London’s Thamesmead estate, an exhibition of Diane Arbus’ early work, and World Press Photo Foundation’s pick of the emerging photographers from Asia
“The Pink and Blue Projects were initiated by my five-year-old daughter, who loved the colour pink so much that she wanted to wear only pink clothes and play with only pink toys and objects,” writes JeongMee Yoon. “I discovered that my daughter’s case was not unusual.
“In the United States, South Korea and elsewhere, most young girls love pink clothing, accessories and toys. This phenomenon is widespread among children of various ethnic groups regardless of their cultural backgrounds. Perhaps it is the influence of pervasive commercial advertisements aimed at little girls and their parents, such as the universally popular Barbie and Hello Kitty merchandise that has developed into a modern trend. Girls train subconsciously and unconsciously to wear the colour pink in order to look feminine.”
Originally from Andalucia, southern Spain, Rafa Raigón started out in the world of words – acting, and writing plays and poetry. Then he met his partner, a doctor from Berlin, and on moving to Germany, found himself without the necessary language skills to pick up again in theatre. The couple had a child and, staying at home to look after her, Raigón found himself taking photographs instead. “I discovered the creative power of photography,” he says. “The need to express myself led me to photography, finding a tool and a language that allowed me to tell my stories without needing to know German or having friends and people with whom to relate. Now my German is quite advanced and my circle of friends has grown but photography is here to stay and it has become a need in my day-to-day life.” Raigón now has three children, aged 3, 6, and 8, and he’s still the one in charge of looking after them and the house – and he’s also still taking photographs. Taking a one-year seminar …
“Music is a language for all humans; it gets under your skin and brings out and expresses strong emotions,” says Emily Stein, whose latest commission took her to a primary school in North London, where she photographed young children for Stella McCartney’s Kid’s fashion range
“I could picture myself as this little girl. The photograph has a reminder of the escape into a childish world, full of power and imagination and carelessness. You would not lie down next to the buffet during the party as an adult unless you are not sober.” Natalia Poniatowska’s entry to the BJP Breakthrough Awards 2017 is an outtake from a wedding renewal ceremony, which was taken quite by accident whilst the photographer was looking at lighting in the room. The image shows loneliness but also the power of children’s imagination.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Ethiopia or Germany”, says Julian Germain, the British photographer who has spent the last 11 years photographing children in their classrooms at school’s all over the world. “Each school is instantly recognisable,” Germain says. “A teacher standing in front of rows of children in an oblong space, with a blackboard at one end is the template of education throughout the world.” This universal experience is something that Germain has captured in his aptly named series Classroom Portraits, that will have its UK premiere at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne at the beginning of October. After starting the series in the north of England, Germain photographed in 19 countries across the world, including Russia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, the USA and Saudi Arabia. The project began when his when his own daughters first started their education. He realised that, despite this experience being universal, there were hardly any depictions of schooling in the photography world. “The way it worked was pretty random,” Germain says. “If I was travelling somewhere, I’d ask people I knew …