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
In the mid-1960s, a vast concrete housing estate began to rise out of a neglected marshland on the south bank of the River Thames. Headed by the Greater London Council (GLC), the scheme was seen as visionary; Thamesmead would provide a marina-esque lifestyle with plenty of greenery, and wide walkways that connected housing with schools and local amenities, all set within striking brutalist architecture. Thamesmead was to be the “town of tomorrow”.
Five years ago though, it was announced that the estate would be undergoing a huge redevelopment, and now a new book published by Here Press, titled The Town of Tomorrow: 50 years of Thamesmead, celebrates its part and present.
Photo London is back at Somerset House this May for its fifth instalment, with a special exhibition of new and unseen work by this year’s Master of Photography, Stephen Shore, plus Vivian Maier, Roger Fenton, Eamonn Doyle, almost 100 galleries from 21 different countries, and a giant egg sculpture.
Known for his pioneering use of colour photography, Shore’s newest body of work will be shown for the first time in the UK at the fair, as well as a series of 60 small photographs titled Los Angeles, taken through a single day in the city in 1969. “We are honoured to present Stephen Shore as our 2019 Master of Photography,” said Photo London’s founding directors Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad. “As his recent retrospective at MOMA (New York) admirably demonstrated, Stephen is a truly pioneering photographer who has consistently pushed the boundaries of image making throughout a long and successful career.”
In 1971 Polaroid introduced the Big Shot camera; featuring an integrated flash, viewfinder and fixed focus lens, it was aimed at shooting portraits – and was enthusiastically taken up by artist Andy Warhol. The camera was discontinued in 1973 but Warhol kept using it until his death in 1987, capturing shots of actors, artists, politicians, clubbers, and Factory hangers-on. He also used it to photograph himself, creating a self-portrait in 1979 in what he called his “fright wig” that measures a whopping 81.3cm x 55.9cm.
BASTIAN gallery is showing this huge self-portrait in an exhibition of over 60 of Warhol’s Polaroids, highlighting “the artist’s prolific capacity as a chronicler of his time”. “Alongside other friends, clients and Studio 54 dwellers, these photographs – initially preparatory works for Warhol’s iconic silkscreen portraits – reveal a lack of pathos or individuation, underlining the artist’s notion of an era where ‘everybody looks alike and acts alike, and we’re getting more and more that way’,” states the gallery.
“We were fascinated by the rich diversity of Latin America and the Latinx diaspora experience and wanted to address expectations of what Latinx means,” say the organisers behind Mundo Latinx, an exhibition of Latin American work going on show in London. “This exhibition coincides with challenging times in the global political climate when it is particularly important to highlight identity politics and diverse representation.”
A multimedia show, featuring work by film-makers, illustrators, and fashion designers as well as photographers, Mundo Latinx includes work by contemporary image-makers such as Diego Moreno from Mexico and Brecho Replay from Brazil, whose projects challenge notions of Latin American identity and beauty. Mundo Latinx is on show at the Fashion Space Gallery at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and is organised by White Line Projects, a group of London College of Fashion, UAL MA Fashion Curation alumni which was founded by Fiona McKay and Xenia Capacete Caballero.
Then They Came for Me On 19 February, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, setting in motion a process in which all Americans of Japanese ancestry living on or near the West Coast were imprisoned. In total, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes, moving into detention camps in which they were sometimes literally held behind barbed wire, without recourse to due process or other constitutional protections to which they were entitled. It was, argues a forthcoming exhibition in San Francisco, a “dark chapter” in American history, motivated by “fear-mongering and racism at the highest levels of the US government”. Titled Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties, the exhibition features work by both noted American documentary photographers such has Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams and incarcerated Japanese American artists Toyo Miyatake and Miné Okubo. American Winter by Gerry Johansson “For me it is important not to create a story with the pictures,” says Gerry Johansson. “Normally when you edit you …
When Felicia Honkasalo’s grandfather passed away in 2009, he left behind boxes full of rocks and minerals, and stacks of notes, sketches, and fading photographs. “No one else in the family wanted them,” says Honkasalo, who never got the opportunity to meet her grandfather, “I was really intrigued by it all, but I didn’t really know what to do with it at first”.
Honkasalo’s debut book, Grey Cobalt, is an attempt to construct imagined memories of her grandfather, who was a metallurgist during the Cold War in Finland as well as an avid cosmologist. Published by Loose Joints, the book release accompanies an exhibition at the Webber Gallery in London, which will run till 15 February.
London’s National Portrait Gallery has revealed the first images of its proposed new design, part of a £35.5m redevelopment which is the biggest-ever at the building since it opened in 1896, and which would increase its gallery space by 20%.
The design, by Jamie Fobert Architects, proposes adding a new visitor entrance and public forecourt on the building’s north face, in addition to the existing entrance; it would also return the gallery’s East Wing to public use, and add new retail and catering facilities, and a new Learning Centre for visitors. The redevelopment would also see the gallery’s collection – which includes 250,000 photographs – redisplayed and reinterpreted across 40 refurbished galleries.
2019 marks a quarter of a century since Val Williams’ curated her seminal exhibition, Who’s looking at the family? at the Barbican in London. In photography, a lot has changed over 25 years, including the introduction of new technologies that have reshaped the way in which we make and consume images, and the changing definitions of what constitutes a photographer.
“On the one hand I thought it might be interesting to speculatively chart that development, but also to rethink notions of the family at the same time,” says Tim Clark, editor of 1000 words magazine and curator of this year’s Photo50 exhibition at London Art Fair. “The idea seemed to chime with a lot of people. I think that’s the key point about family, it’s a great unifying subject. Everyone can relate to it.”
In the second of our interviews with BJP IPA 2019’s judges, we meet Sarah Allen. As assistant curator at Tate Modern, Allen has worked on a number of major shows, the most recent being Shape of Light, the first blockbuster exhibition to explore the relationship between photography and abstract art. Before moving to Tate Modern, Allen worked at a string of leading galleries, including The Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, The Guggenheim Museum in New York, and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Among the high-profile photographers she’s worked with is Mark Ruwedel, who recently made it on to the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2019 shortlist with his show The Artist and Society, curated by Allen. We spoke to her about how to get noticed by curators, and what she’s looking forward to seeing in BJP IPA 2019. What are the most exciting things happening in photography at the moment? And what trends do you think we’ll see in 2019? I think there is some extremely important work being made at the moment on the subject of …