Cigarettes are considered the most marketed consumer product in history. And yet, beyond the normalised images of tobacco – the glamorous Hollywood starlet yielding a cigarette holder, or the health warnings that coat cigarette packets – little is shown of its production. Rocco Rorandelli’s project Bitter Leaves goes behind the scenes, tracing the tobacco industry from provinces in China, where its leaves are farmed, to the ‘cigarette girls’ selling the product at parties and theme parks. The project, which comprises a photo story and research into the devastation caused at every stage of production, is now being published by GOST Books. Among the images are a photograph of a patient seated in a greying hospital room, juxtaposed with a portrait of a malnourished child seated on a bale of drying tobacco leaves, sacks of them stretching out into the warehouse behind him. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to fund the publication of the book. “I wanted to understand what was hiding behind the cigarette,” says Rorandelli. “Most anti-smoking campaigns are based on the detrimental …
“If we don’t look at them, or if we try to sanitise it, then it’s not honest to this brutal experience of being homeless,” says Danish photographer Thilde Jensen, who is currently raising funds to publish an impressive four year project on homelessness in America, The Unwanted. Shot over four years in four American cities – Syracuse, Gallup, Las Vegas, and New Orleans, Jensen is currently raising funds on kickstarter to publish the project as a book, which will include 120 colour images, as well as a poem by Gregory George – a homeless man she met in New Orleans – and an essay by Gerry Badger.
British photographer Iain McKell is publishing a book of photographs from 1976, which he shot on the side while working as a seafront photographer in Weymouth, south-west England
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 idea for Paper Journal came about during my final year of studying photography at Westminster,” says founding editor Patricia Karallis. Though studying she was also working as a picture editor for a small online arts and culture magazine at the time, and had found that she really enjoyed the research aspect of the role but also had “many ideas in terms of content that didn’t quite fit where I was working at the time”. The answer was simple – she decided “to start my own platform”. She launched Paper Journal online in 2013, with the aim of showcasing photography, fashion and culture in an exciting way. Featuring photography from unknown or new image-makers alongside more established names, Karallis says, “we love to promote new photography and I think that’s been a really strong point for us, and one that draws readers back to the site.”
Christian Boltanski’s After in Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk This recently-opened exhibition in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam is a real must-see. It’s a radical and site-specific exhibition by Christian Boltanski, who is known as one of the greatest artists in the world, with a ouevre that deals with the way we remember and commemorate. In the Oude Kerk, with its eight centuries of history and 2,200 memorial stones, his work is very much at home. The artist is creating a site-specific composition consisting of seven different works that address the existential question of what happens after our life has come to an end. Considering Boltanski made a bet on his own life, a bet which expired this year, this work is very much autobiographical. After is an exhibition that is expected to have a profound impact on the audience. The installations, which are in proportion to the size of the centuries-old church, are invasive and they address the visitor even in a literal sense. Over 50 black tombs, varying in size and height, arise from the …
Kickstarter has arguably revolutionised photography, allowing image-makers to source crowdfunding for big projects, and therefore help bring trends such as self-publishing to life. It’s now commonplace for photographers to announce they’re making a book and start a Kickstarter campaign to fund printing it, for example – but the platform only launched in 2009, and Arnold van Bruggen and Rob Hornstra were very early adopters when they used it to fund the first book in The Sochi Project (which was published in early 2010). Now Kickstarter has announced a new initiative allowing artists, collectives, and communities to seek funding on a more ongoing, subscription-like basis, rather than for one-off projects. Called Drip, it was soft-launched on 15 November and, so far, is only open to creatives invited by the platform – though of course anyone who wants to fund a project is now welcome. Drip is scheduled to open up to more creatives at the start of 2018.
Daniel Castro Garcia wins the $35,000 W. Eugene Smith grant to continue his work on the European migrant crisis – read more about the work in BJP’s interview with him, first featured in our September 2016 issue. l. “The fact that my mum and dad are foreign, it’s played a massive role in my life. When those two boats capsized, the way that was written about, the adjectives used, and the type of photographs – on a personal level, that resonated. I know the kind of things my parents went through when they moved to the UK, and I know they’ve contributed really positively to British society. It felt increasingly uncomfortable, the way they were representing people who effectively did what my parents did, for the same reasons – poverty. Some of the things that were written were just unbelievable bullshit about people that are just the same as any of us. What an individualistic, separatist, regressive mentality.”
Photographers and publishing experts spill the beans on how to fund and promote your photobook.
Of the many adjectives you could use to describe large-format film photography, affordable isn’t the first that springs to mind. But one Brighton based start-up is on a mission to change that. Hot on the success of their £250 4×5 camera, which they financed through crowdfunding, the Intrepid Camera Company has today launched their Kickstarter for an 8×10 model. Intrepid’s founder-director Maxim Grew had the idea for the camera while mid-way through an undergraduate degree in Product Design at the University of Sussex. He’d become increasingly fascinated by the format beloved of photography greats from Ansel Adams to Gregory Crewdson for its magical, contemplative process and the incredible visual quality of images it produces. However, on finding that his student loan didn’t stretch to the several thousand pounds it can cost to buy a camera, he started experimenting with building one himself. “I was making these really simple things – essentially just boxes with lenses on the end, using instant film and using photographic paper to make paper negatives,” he remembers. Originally Grew’s vision was …