London’s National Portrait Gallery is no longer taking a £1m gift from the Sackler Trust, amid growing controversy over the trust’s links to Purdue Pharma – makers of the OyxContin prescription painkiller which has been linked to the opioid crisis.
The £1m gift was to support the gallery’s Inspiring People initiative, a £35.5m project which would see the biggest-ever building development of the gallery since it opened in 1896. The NPG has stated that it has jointly agreed not to proceed with the gift with the Sackler Trust, and has issued two statements.
“The Sackler Trust has supported institutions playing crucial roles in health, education, science and the arts for almost half a century and we were pleased to have the opportunity to offer a new gift to support the National Portrait Gallery,” reads the first statement, from a Sackler Trust spokesperson. “The giving philosophy of the family has always been to actively support institutions while never getting in the way of their mission.
What do Sophie Calle, Rineke Dijkstra, Susan Meiselas, and Hannah Starkey all have in common? They’re all on the list of 100 contemporary women photographers picked out by the UK’s Royal Photographic Society, after an open call for nominations. Over 1300 photographers were recommended to the organisation by the general public, which was slimmed down by a judging panel headed up by photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg.
The final list includes well-known names but also less recognised image-makers such as Native American artist Wendy Red Star, Moscow-based photographer Oksana Yushko, and Paola Paredes from Ecuador. Each Heroine will be awarded a Margaret Harper medal, named after the first female president of The Royal Photographic Society, and the first female professor of photography in the UK. An exhibition and accompanying publication will follow, all part of a bid to highlight women working in what is still a male-dominated industry.
“Although it was a truly challenging exercise having to consider 1300 women, being a part of the jury for Hundred Heroines was ultimately an incredibly stimulating and inspirational process,” says Luxemburg. “This final list reflects both the global expanse of female practice and the intergenerational input into contemporary photography. It reflects the wide range of methodologies, practices and diverse approaches of women working with the photographic medium. This is a moment of change and this list of heroines pays heed to it.”
History confirms it – the first photobook was made by a woman, with British photographer Anna Atkins publishing Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843, a year before Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature. Still, many historians, including Allan Porter in his introduction to The Photobook: A History, dismiss Atkins’ work as “photographic prints” rather than photography.
“Unfortunately, this is far too often emblematic of the uphill battle women photobook-makers still encounter when we talk about their history,” says Russet Lederman, co-founder of 10×10 Photobooks. “As we conducted research for the How We See project, we discovered that although women photographers produce relatively equal numbers of photobooks to men, their representation in the higher-profile sectors was, and still is, disappointing.”
1854 was a big year for photography. Kodak founder George Eastman was born, and the first issue of British Journal of Photography was published in Liverpool. Since then, the magazine has undergone several evolutions, rejigging its format from a weekly trade journal to a monthly glossy, and changing its name several times along the way. The magazine’s content has also continued to shift. With roots in scientific journals, British Journal of Photography has now changed course and grown into an art and documentary photography magazine, focused on the cutting edge of editorial and commercial practices. However, looking to the past, its most instantly noticeable transformation is its change in design. Staying alive for 164 years is a formidable achievement, but perhaps the key to our long life is our capacity for change. The redesigns of the magazine have always reflected its changing direction and willingness to adapt to the times, and they have carried us through right up to the present day. Here are some of British Journal of Photography’s most drastic changes. 1864 This centenary …
ABC Photography, a children’s guide to photography featuring images by Martin Parr, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin, Alec Soth, Sebastiao Salgado and many more, opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend. Inspired by the recent book edited by Jan von Holleben – who also shoots children’s books himself – the project takes one photographic concept per letter to explain ideas such as deconstruction, composition, exposure and perspective. The text, by Monte Packham, is child-friendly and witty, and draws on the images to make a satisfyingly holistic whole. An exhibition by Tom Hunter called Searching for Ghosts also opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend, featuring work made with children living on the Boundary Estate. ABC Photography is free, and is open until 11 June in London’s V&A Museum of Childhood. ABC Photography, ed Jan van Holleben, is published by Tarzipan Books. Searching for Ghosts by Tom Hunter is open until 21 January 2018.
In Goldin’s section of the exhibition, visitors must peer through a peephole to glimpse the scenes of passion projected inside, like the voyeuristic warder in Genet’s film. Goldin shows sequences from an early hand-tinted film of Salomé, one of Oscar Wilde’s greatest plays, which received its premiere in Paris whilst he was in Reading Gaol. Goldin bypasses the court politics of the play to reveal her own fascination with Salomé’s dance – and her famous revenge against the saint who condemns her sexuality in the name of religion. Two more videos feature a young boy in Kiev talking about the dangers of being gay there today, and a 91-year old man convicted of the same offence as Wilde. The most personal of Goldin’s works is called The Boy. A cell is plastered with photographs of the German actor Clemens Schick, a muse to Goldin for over two decades and as aware of the power of his alluring beauty as Bosie had been of his hold over Wilde. Goldin’s work is part of Inside – Artists and …