Our pick of the key stories this week includes a preview of photography festivals in Japan and France, news on the National Portrait Gallery’s refusal to accept a £1m Sackler Trust donation, and interviews with photographers Aaron Schuman and Tomas Bachot
“For me the beach is the perfect place to observe people,” wrote Massimo Vitali on his blog back in July 2018. “In other words, we go to the beach to take pictures of people, not to take pictures of the beach. The beach is the most suitable place to observe human beings’ behavior, the existence of us human beings. How do people share the space on the beach, how are they staring at each other, or are they looking the other way? This is more important than geographical elements.
His new series, Short Stories, features plenty of beach scenes, often shot in his native Italy. Born in Como in 1944, Vitali studied photography at the London College of Printing and worked as a photojournalist in the 1960s and 70s before becoming a cinematographer for TV and film in the early 1980s. He started to shoot large format photographs in 1993, finding fame with his work Beach Scenes in 1995. He’s also shot crowds in other landscapes though, including in nightclubs, and the new portfolio includes these other social spaces as well as beach scenes.
“In many ways Another Europe questions whether Europe is other at all,” says Hamish Park. “While this is not an explicitly political exhibition, I do hope that it will go some way to reminding the audience that we share deep cultural roots which go beyond geographic borders or treaty arrangements, and that what we share is as significant as what makes us distinct.”
Park has just curated an exhibition called Another Europe which goes on show soon around Kings Cross, London, mounted on specially-designed concrete benches. Featuring one photograph from each of the 28 European Union member states, shot by a photographer from the country, it’s been organised by the Australian Cultural Forum London to celebrate both the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and Austria’s presidency of the EU council. It’s also interesting timing for this exhibition in the UK, as the country negotiates Brexit.
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.”
Massimo Vitali’s Beach Series – large-scale photographs of busy, crowded beach-scapes near his home in Lucca, Italy – are often captured from a distance “to convey the voyeuristic possibilities of photography.” Originally a photojournalist before taking a more conceptual approach with his work, Vitali began the series in 1995, inspired by “drastic political changes in Italy” that “sparked a curiosity to observe his fellow Italians.” This exhibition showcases later works from Vitali’s ongoing work on the subject, the images taken from 2011 to 2014. Born in 1944, in Como, Italy, Vitali studied Photography at the London College of Printing in 1964 before going on to work as a photojournalist on commission, and as a cinematographer in both advertising and fiction films. In 1993 he started working with large format photography. Vitali revealed “the inner conditions and disturbances of normality: its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodified leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism”, says art historian Whitney Davis. Vitali expanded the series to photograph pools, ski resorts, discotheques and tourist sites around the world, exploring “the detached nature of human …