Spanning a 30-year career, Schorr’s work explores identity politics and photography’s fetishistic gaze. Best-known for her early portraits of adolescent boys, and her fashion and editorial work for magazines, her 2014 show, 8 Women, highlighted a shift in focus.
What draws me to photographing adolescent youth? The sense of things being unresolved. I succeeded in nothing as a child. I waited for high school to be over so I could go to New York. I knew things wouldn’t come easy. But I knew they could come if I worked for them.
Maurice Scheltens and Liesbeth Abbenes have long been preoccupied by perspective. In fact, this year is the 18th that the artist duo – partners in life, as well as in work – have spent creating their painstakingly controlled scenes to capture on camera together. Translating their immaculately constructed three-dimensional sets into technically precise two-dimensional images, they have made a name for themselves with rich, playful and illusory works that toy with spatial dimensions, and which, though aesthetically pleasing, are conceptually rigorous first and foremost. The concept, Abbenes assures us, always precedes the picture.
Their spring exhibition at Amsterdam’s Foam Museum (from 15 March to 05 June) is something like a retrospective, giving the Dutch duo an opportunity to look back over almost two decades of work from a new perspective. And true to form, they are first rearranging the rooms their work will inhabit by uncovering windows that have not been opened in many years. “We will have light and some fresh air, hopefully. We have to give up walls for that, but it’s good to have a bit of the outside world coming in,” they say. Shifting the dimensions and conditions of the space itself will alter the way viewers see the work, and that typifies their approach to the exhibition, rethinking how the works will appear in this new context, and how they relate to each other.
When the Portrait Gallery was established in London in the mid-19th century, its role was envisioned “to consist of those persons who are most honourably commemorated in British history”. Opening in an era when photography was still a new and untried technology, the National Portrait Gallery (as it later became known) was intended to be the national repository of the images, chiefly paintings and drawings, of those men and, much later, women who represented what was best among the British hierarchy of achievements, skills and aptitudes. Its function was to hold up a mirror to Britain that reflected its qualities back to those who came to observe them, as object lessons about how to aspire to, or more simply respect, the qualities and moral standing of the great and the good.
This conception of the NPG may still be widespread in the public mind, as even Martin Parr thought his work would be an ill-fit for a contemporary exhibition along these lines. “I never thought of myself as a portrait photographer,” he says, “and when I first met Phillip Prodger [NPG’s former head of photographs], I told him I had only a few celebrity portraits. I just put a lightbox together and sent them to him, though I was quite surprised at what I had.” Prodger, however, had other ideas, seeing in Parr the work of a social observer who could also offer a portrait of a nation at a key point in its history. So it is that the NPG put together Only Human, on show from 07 March to 27 May, bringing together some of Parr’s most famous photographs alongside a number of works never exhibited before.
Succeeding the museum’s founding director, Jean-Luc Monterosso, Simon Baker plans to open up both its collection and its programme to audiences, carving out a space for emerging artists, fashion photography, ideas on geography, and newer names to the city’s rich artistic ecosystem. “We have to think about what isn’t being done in the photographic landscape in France,” he explains. “We really want to support younger artists – particularly with solo shows. While there are amazing fairs and group shows, that’s something that’s been missing.”
What better way to start, then, than with a solo exhibition by Coco Capitán? Since she graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2016, the 26-year-old Spanish artist has become a never-predictable presence. Her work is always dynamic and often playful, but underpinned by a precision and a poignancy too – whether created for, and thanks to fashion, such as her ongoing artistic collaboration with Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, or her diverse self-initiated series comprising text and paint along with traditional photography.
Hanna Moon was born in South Korea, Joyce Ng “spent her youth in the multitude of sprawling malls throughout the city of formerly-colonised Hong Kong”; both are now based in London, where they’re fast making their mark in fashion photography. They’ve joined forces for an exhibition at London’s Somerset House titled Hanna Moon & Joyce Ng: English as a Second Language, which explores their take on Western conceptions of beauty.
The exhibition includes new work commissioned by Somerset House as well as images from the photographers’ archives: Moon opted to shoot two of her favourite models – Heejin, from South Korea, and Moffy, from London, in Somerset House’s handsome Neoclassical buildings; Ng, who prefers to street-cast, chose to make images with people who work in, or were visiting, Somerset House. Also shot at Somerset House, Ng’s images were inspired by the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West.
“I am so fortunate to be able to step into someone’s life, enter their world, and experience it, if only for a minute”
The winners were announced during Berlin Photo Week in Germany (10 – 14 October) where all 100 finalists were exhibited in Supermarkt, a repurposed supermarket and exhibition space. Pachnanda received a trip to Berlin for the event, as well as a Sony Alpha camera. As part of the award, Pachnanda will act as the EyeEm ambassador during 2019. Much of his work centres on bold portraits of unusual people, often in urban areas of London. On receiving the Photographer of the Year title, Pachnanda said, “winning an award with so much calibre from an organisation so pivotal to the world of 21st century photography is amazing”. The EyeEm Awards, run by global community and marketplace for photography EyeEm, currently stands as the world’s largest photography competition. This year marked its fifth edition, and it welcomed a record 700,000 entries from 100,000 photographers, hailing from more than 150 countries across the globe. Covering nine diverse categories – ranging from ‘The Creative’ to ‘The Great Outdoors’ – the award attracts a huge breadth of subject matter. This …
In 2015, when Poland’s most radical right-wing organisation, the Law and Justice (PiS) party, won the general election with a sweeping majority, photographer Joanna Wzorek and her liberal parents were shocked. Policies against immigration, same-sex marriage, and abortion just a few of the controversial views now channelled by Poland’s ruling party.
“Me and my parents felt deeply disrespected by the other side of our family, who voted right-wing,” says Wzorek, a Polish-born photographer who graduated from UAL last year with a degree in fashion photography. “I knew then I had to try and make something positive out of the negative nationalist standpoint that had dispersed within my country,” she explains.
It was while working as an art director that rising talent Justine Tjallinks decided she wanted to make her own images. Born in a small village in the east of the Netherlands, the 32-year-old moved to the Dutch capital to study at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute before immersing herself in the commercial world, working on several leading fashion publications.
It can be tough breaking into an industry known for its dog-eat-dog reputation, but a good attitude goes a long way – as long as its accompanied by talent. Based between Exeter and London, 22-year-old photographer Harry Cooke is taking on the fashion world with an open spirit, a sharp eye, and a pinch of salt. “The fashion industry is a weird one – I am always hearing stories of bad experiences,” says the Arts University Bournemouth graduate. “But I always think the concepts, teams and shoots that I put together are relaxed and fun. Taking life too seriously is a dangerous thing, and that’s what I aim to bring to the world of fashion. Goodbye seriousness!”