Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including interviews with image-makers such as Yorgos Yatromanolakis, Sara Cwynar, Hiro Tanaka and Patrick Waterhouse, updates on news and exhibitions such as the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, and an appreciation of the photojournalist Yannis Behrakis
“A festival is about taking risks,” says Louise Clements, founder and director of Format International Photography Festival, which returns this year to celebrate its ninth edition. “Festivals can come and go, but to sustain something for so many years, you have to work out how to make it valuable for its participants and its audience, by giving people something to work towards.”
The city of Derby, in the UK’s post-industrial Midlands, is not large, but over the last 15 years the biennial event has helped place it on the cultural map. Over the course of each festival some 100,000 visitors will gather there – the city’s compact size lending it some advantages. “Derby is small, like Arles [whose 50-year-old Rencontres photography festival remains the blueprint], so there is this critical mass-like feeling,” says Clements. “People are likely to bump into each other, see our bags and totes – the guides see and integrate them, for example, when we work with the local microbreweries.”
This month, we present a small selection of work that will be shown at Format festival, which returns to the Quad Arts Centre in Derby, England for its ninth edition this March. Under the theme Forever/Now, our edit of notable projects emphasises the festival’s slant towards ‘crooked’ documentary practices, where a lack of subject or search for the unknown is filled by fiction and interpretation.
An exclusive British Journal of Photography commission gives one photographer the opportunity to capture the untold stories surrounding fracking in the UK
“When I returned to the work, the notion of place became the focus precisely because of what had not changed in their social landscape over 20 years”
For over four decades, the documentary photography course has forged a reputation as one of the UK’s leading photography teaching destinations. In fact, the very first photography class can be dated back even further to 1912, when it was introduced by the head of the school of art at Newport Technical Institute. The course, however, was set up in 1973 by Magnum photographer David Hurn as a 12-month Training Opportunities Scheme to ‘re-skill’ miners and steelworkers.
Welsh photographer Jack Latham has won the Bar-Tur Photobook Award, for his project Sugar Paper Theories. Latham will work with The Photographers’ Gallery and Here Press to produce his first photobook, a prize worth £20,000. The winning project traces an infamous true crime case in Iceland. Known as the Reykjavik Confessions, it involved the testimonies of six people, who confessed to two murders they had no apparent memory of. Latham employed a mix of archival images, ephemera and his own photographs to convey the sinister ambience of a horrific, yet hazy collective memory. Latham tells BJP, “the Bar-Tur Award will really enable us to be as ambitious with the project as possible. The case itself is so complicated and trying to retell it through photographs alone wouldn’t be enough. I’m working with writer Sofia Kathryn Smith and now, continuing the project with a book in mind means we’re able to collaborate fully in a symbiotic way. Working with an exciting publisher like Here Press goes hand and hand with the work, it’s different and hopefully the book will reflect …
The plastic flamingo was designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone. Gloriously kitsch and garishly pink, the garden ornament fast became an icon of Americana. “People would stick it in their astroturf lawn, by their white picket fence, and it was a way of exoticising their landscape,” says Welsh documentary photographer Jack Latham. His debut book takes its title from Featherstone’s design that became a pop culture classic. “I saw the flamingo almost as a parody of the American flag,” Latham explains. “When America planted the flag in the moon, they were saying, this is my land. When people followed the Oregon Trail, moving east to west, they foisted a flamingo in their gardens as though to say, this is my home.” A Pink Flamingo, which launches at Cardiff’s Diffusion Festival this October, takes us on a melancholic, visual journey along the Oregon Trail, a historic route established in the 1830s by fur traders. Since then hundreds of thousands of settlers, missionaries, farmers and gold seekers have trampled across the trail from Missouri to Oregon in …