Shooting meticulously set-up still lifes on film with a large format camera, Lucas Blalock scans his images and digitally manipulates them, creating tricksy, mind-bending work that plays with the boundary between reality and fiction. Now it’s fashionable to talk about fake news, but Blalock got in early, poking holes in our trust in images.
It’s earned him an enviable career, with books published by respected outfits such as Morel Books and Self Publish, Be Happy, and solo exhibitions at private galleries such as the White Cube. Now he’s got his first solo show at a public gallery in the US, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Los Angeles, where he’s showing images made since 2014. Initially he might have seemed part of a movement, but Blalock has carved out a career on his own.
Paris Photo is epic, but beyond the Grand Palais there’s a plethora of other photo-related events in the French capital. For those interested in photobooks there are two essential book fairs – Offprint and Polycopies, both showcasing some of the most interesting new work in photography and beyond; there is also a week-long photo focus at the world-famous Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare & Co.
Photobooks have been booming for the last ten years or so but one prize has been there for the last 49 years – Les Prix du Livre at Arles, which was set up at the same time as the Rencontres d’Arles festival. With its long history and prestigious jury, which is this year overseen by FOAM director Marloes Krijnen, the Prix du Livre are some of the best-respected in photography.
Three Prix are up for grabs in three categories this year – the Historical Book Award, the Author Book Award, and the Photo-text Book Award, each of which come with a €6000 prize to be shared between the photographers and their publishers. The books are on show at Arles until 23 September, and the winners will be announced in the opening week.
The blink-and-you-miss-it sale is devised by Aron Mörel, founder of Mörel Books, to play with the restraints of traditonal photobook print releases, which are often limited and exclusive in their numerical quantity. An inveterate bookmaker himself, JH Engström was the perfect choice for the time-sensitive collaboration, known for his highly collectable monographs. The acclaimed Swedish photographer’s raw and confrontational imagery is marked by a distinctly subjective approach, documenting his surroundings and often exploring his own sense of self within an existential framework. OCTOBER: Fear of Leaving mixes both archival and new material to offer an intriguing insight into the photographer’s world, capturing the experience of the lived moment. The book plays an integral part in Engström’s prolific practice – his numerous offerings developed over a number of maquettes tend to be fused together with expressive energy. Each black and white image looks like a memory, a fleeting moment caught intuitively through Engström’s lens. Collages of stark landscapes and intimate portraits are juxtaposed to reflect his eclectic style, eye for detail, and ability to encapsulate the emotional connections of those he photographs. Mörel Books will only print OCTOBER: Fear of Leaving …