In the early 1900s, Paul Thulin’s great-grandfather settled on the coast of Maine, reminded of his homeland of Sweden. Thulin’s family has returned to Gray’s Point each summer ever since, and Thulin has been working on a project there, called Pine Tree Ballads, for over a decade. Initially inspired by his grandfather’s photographs, he hopes it has “a subtext of struggle and hope that mirrors my narrative sense of self and heritage”.
BJP: How did you first get into photography?
PT: My journey into photography started as a way to rebel against my growing contempt and frustration with the limits of language to effectively communicate. In 1996, I returned from a stressful year of studying Philosophy in a Master’s program at Syracuse University and I remember wanting to escape into the mountains to possibly join a Zen monastery. I wanted to meditate and remain silent in an effort to really just experience the world.
This desire led me to discover the writings and images of photographers Minor White, Frederick Sommer, and Emmet Gowin, as their mystical and spiritual use of photography intrigued me. Before I knew it, I borrowed a 35mm camera to try to make meaningful images of my own and I was hooked.
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.
One of the first things Thomas Friedrich Schaefer remembers is hiding behind a sofa in his parent’s Sao Paolo apartment, terrified by the cuckoo clock. Or at least he thinks so. It’s hard to say. Schaefer, 33, moved to Brazil from Mainz as a two-week-old baby, returning to Germany five years later. And as a consequence, his memories are a mix of two countries, and two languages. “I’ve always been interested in how memories are formed and built up, and how they change over the years,” he says, highlighting a theme that infuses Experiential Spaces, the series that won him the conceptual category in the 2015 Felix Schoeller Award. The initial inspiration for an image comes from his childhood, but the final scene, meticulously crafted over weeks, takes on a life of its own. “I remember my dad coming home from work and encouraging me to sit at my desk and do my homework, because I was always playing football outside with my friends,” he says of the spark of inspiration for the first shot …
The work of Angolan photographer Délio Jasse is colourful and textured, experimenting with analogue photographic printing processes such as cyanotype and platinum. His work has caught the eye of London gallery Tiwani Contemporary, who now represent the 35-year-old. Jasse has previously exhibited at the gallery, which focuses on Africa and the diaspora, as part of the group exhibition The View From Here, and recent exhibitions include a solo show at SMAC Gallery, Cape Town (2014) and group shows at Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2013) and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (2013). Jasse was also one of three finalists in the BES Photo Prize (2014), and is part of the official selections for the Angolan pavilions at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and World Expo, Milan (2015). His work draws links between generations and cultures, combining found imagery with his own photography to explore memory. As he tells us, “Photography and memory are deeply connected. Photography can bring you back to a moment in the past, we need a visual hint to remember certain things or faces. At …