Every year, Cortona On The Move has a focus, and this time it reflects the festival’s mission more directly than before by placing the spotlight on female photographers. “My selection is never a list of ‘favourites’, but rather involves an attempt to listen to what is happening around me, globally, both on a political, social and economic level, as well as in the field of photography itself,” says Rinaldo.
“These past months, women and women’s issues have been at the forefront of discussion in various fields, often in the news and even more on the street – protesting, resisting, demanding. My small contribution to this ‘movement’ is to acknowledge the numerous women photographers who tread the world to tell stories; to give them space and make them protagonists.”
It’s disconcerting to think how years of work and effort, of countless hours spent practising and honing a skill, can be wrenched away from any of us in just a few minutes of misfortune. It’s also, for any of us used to good health, troubling to consider how reliant we are on the basic functionality of our bodies. A photographer, for example, needs to be able to hold a camera, to have the strength to frame a shot and time the click of the shutter in the heat of the moment. Shorn of that basic ability, what are we left with? Early one morning in May 2015, Sim had to face that exact question.
She was on assignment for a French newspaper, travelling to the Tumen Economic Development Zone, a government-owned complex of Chinese factories on the edge of the border with North Korea. Tumen employed North Korean labourers who, with state sanctioning, would be sent to live and work in the economic zone. The brief was to capture how North Korea and China trade. This place seemed like the perfect microcosm for that complex relationship – the makings of great pictures.
Entering Tumen with her driver and colleagues from Le Monde, she failed to spot a sign that read: “No smoking, photography, or practising driving”. As they approached the factories, the car passed a small group of women in black jumpsuits, knelt by the roadside picking weeds from the ground. Sitting in the driver’s seat with the window wound down, Sim instinctively raised her camera and fired off a couple of shots. “Almost immediately, the women turned around, ran towards the cab, and reached into the car,” she wrote in an article for ChinaFile, recounting events.
“In Centralia, Poulomi Basu continues to focus her gaze on the interrelation between violence, state power, and gender,” says Monica Allende, member of the jury for the PHM grant. “By intertwining multilayered fictional narratives she aims to challenge the viewer’s perception of reality, as well as established neocolonialist histories. “In an era of post-truth and fake news, where we battle for control of “official” narratives, Basu’s work forces us to reflect on our own prejudices and educated preconceptions. Despite addressing such complex issues, the work is both illuminating and engaging – a testament to her innate ability as a documentarian. The result is a beautifully executed story which is thoroughly deserving of the winning grant.”
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.
“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.
Long before the public sat up and took notice of the staggering number of refugees risking everything to make their way to Europe, Alessandro Penso had made migration to the continent the focus of his work. Since 2009 he has been documenting the conditions of refugees who have attempted to cross borders in search of safety and the hope of a better future for themselves and their families. Beginning with detention centres in Malta, which many migrants had mistaken for Penso’s homeland of Italy, the photographer then travelled to Bulgaria where, between 2012 and 2013, the number of refugees surged from 1700 to 10,200. He followed migrant agricultural workers in Italy as they moved from one harvest to another. He also accompanied young adults from the Middle East trying to make their way from Greece (which refuses the majority of asylum seekers’ applications), to its neighbouring countries and beyond, capturing the moment when one, Mostafa El Mouzadhir, was deliberately hit by a car in a hate crime, sustaining multiple injuries. When Penso visited him in …
Fake news and ethical quandaries are hot topics right now – so BJP has responded with its take on the topic, and an issue focussing on documentary storytelling and differing imperatives on objectivity featuring Max Pinckers, Daniel Berehulak, Munem Wasif, and Thomas Struth, among others
Traditionally taking the idea of a “journey” as its theme, Cortona On The Move has now abandoned this metaphor for a new task – reflecting on the past while theorising on the future. “We are taking the motto ‘on the move’ to keep our eyes open and see what’s happening out there,” explained creative director Arianna Rinaldo to BJP
“Salvatore Vitale’s extraordinary project How to secure a country is a forensic examination of national security in one of the safest countries on the planet. This work challenges the concept of power and control, shining a light on wider issues of mass migration and fear,” says Emma Bowkett, director of photography for the FT Weekend Magazine and a jury member for the PH Museum 2017 Grant this year. Along with Sarah Leen from National Geographic, Ihiro Hayami from Tokyo Photography Festival, and the photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg, she picked out the Italian photographer for the top prize, for his project exploring the National Security Program in Switzerland, his adopted home. Two years in the making, the series has been funded by a Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia grant, and Vitale has scooped £7000 by winning the PH Museum prize. “Salvatore Vitale has managed to gain access to one of the most difficult places to photograph; border control,” comments Hayami. “He tries to capture, or examine, the abstract concept of security through the fragments of scenes and successfully presents, …
The deadline is approaching fast to enter the PHmuseum grant competition, which offers a total prize fund of £12,000, a solo show at the Cortona On The Move festival, a feature in the World Press Photo Foundation’s online publication Witness, and more. Photographers have until 15 February to enter their work. Arranged by the Photographic Museum of Humanity, a curated online platform, the competition has nine big-name judges this year. The main award – which offers £7000, £3000, and £1000 to the first, second and third prize-winners respectively plus various promotion in Witness, Just Another Photo Festival and the PHmuseum – will be assigned by Emma Bowkett, director of photography at the FT Weekend Magazine; Sarah Leen, director of photography at National Geographic Magazine and Partners; Ihiro Hayami, director of the Tokyo Institute of Photography; and Alejandro Chaskielberg, the award-winning Argentinian photographer. The New Generation Prize – which offers a £1000 cash prize plus mentorship from photographer and photo director Maggie Steber, and promotion via Witness, Just Another Photo Festival and PHmuseum – will be …