“I’m always picking things up and taking them home with me,” says Matthew Craven. “Just general knick knacks.” His finds include succulents, unusual rocks, and little bits of pottery that he displays in his home inTopanga Canyon, Los Angeles. But out of all of the things he collects, which also includes records and vintage NBA t-shirts, perhaps his strangest and largest collection is of school textbooks. The books usually date back to the 1950s or 60s, but “the older the better” says Craven. After finding a copy he likes in a second-hand book store, he’ll trawl through the internet, contacting sellers that may have many more in storage – usually schools or libraries. “Personally, it satisfies me to be able to find these old materials and preserve them in some little way possible,” he says. He then uses these books as source material for intricate collages, in which every element – from the images themselves to the paper they’re stuck on – are made out of found materials. Part of what satisfies him about this work …
The creation of a dummy is an integral process for any photographer with aims on publishing their own photobook. It is a visual mockup for a proposed project, created before being sent to the publishers. Organised by La Fábrica in collaboration with Photo London, the Book Dummy Award selects a entry that is renowned for its quality, uniqueness and international scope, the winners of the award will then have their dummy physically realised. The competition encourages photographers from anywhere in the world to submit a physical copy of their dummy, under the rule that no digital copies may be entered. One winner from 20 finalist dummies will then be selected by an international jury. The winner’s work will be published with a print run of at least 1000 copies, and distributed worldwide. Photographers submit entries from all over the world, as in 2017 there were participants from 45 countries and every continent. The winner of the 2017 edition was Iranian-born, Swiss photographer Arunà Canevascini. Nominated as one of British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch …
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.”
Last week, a group of Croatia’s leading cultural pioneers welcomed the 10th jubilee edition of Organ Vida photofestival. Co-curators, Marina Paulenka and Lea Vene were joined by Nataša Ivančević, Paola Orlić, Morana Matković, Nevena Tudor Perković and Veljko Mihalić to address visitors and guests at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb for the grand opening, getting the festival underway for the tenth consecutive year. The opening of the festival signalled the announcement of the second annual Marina Viculin prize to photographer Denis Butorac. Using personal experience as a driving force behind his work, he focuses on family, intimacy and the sense of ‘(not) belonging’. Following the opening week, the exhibitions are now open to the public, free of charge, during the month of September. Hosted by a number of galleries throughout Zagreb as well as in the Croatia’s biggest and most modern museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the works on display explore creative interpretations of the contemporary female experience. Each show follows the main theme, borne out of a desire to combat modern …
“I’m usually looking for things that surprise me, things that have a deeper significance, a sense of humour, I suppose. I’m always open to what happens in life, because it tends to be more interesting than anything you can imagine.”
“There’s not enough journalism about female friendships, they’re not given the same credit as romantic relationships, but I actually think they can be so much stronger,” says London-based photographer Francesca Allen, who spent a month in Tokyo last spring photographing the subject of her new book, Aya, a Japanese musician and now Allen’s good friend.
The pair first met in 2016, during Allen’s two week vacation to Japan. Allen, whose work often centres on womanhood and sexual freedom and is regularly featured in publications such as Ripose and The Fader, used part of her time on holiday to photograph Japanese girls. Looking across her selection of images, she felt so drawn to the photographs of Aya that the following year, she arranged to go back and make a book with her.
It began in March 2015 when David Yates, a client of photographer and fine art printer Mike Crawford, turned up at his print studio, Lighthouse Darkroom, with a “shopping trolleyful” of old boxes of expired photographic paper. The next day, he brought another. The two loads were what was left of a mass clear-out of Yates’ late grandfather Bret Sampson’s darkroom. The British photographer’s London studio was his first port of call, given that Crawford was already working with Yates on another of his personal projects.
Has anything improved since Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? The fact that women make up just 15.5% of the artists’ files on Wikipedia suggests not. According to L’Observatoire de l’Egalite, only 30% of the artists exhibited in galleries are women, even though more than 60% of art students in France are women.
Even so, there is some cause for optimism – as French photographer Vincent Ferrané points out. “Of the top 500 contemporary artists in 2017 [in France], only 14% of women,” he says. “But 30% of those were born after 1980.”
“What’s more American, iconic, and masculine than a cowboy?” asks Kristine Potter. “There is so much control within the military, so I wanted to pivot to a more lawless, unpredictable form of masculinity”.
Coming from a long line of military men on both sides of her family, Potter has long been interested in broadening the spectrum of permissible masculinity. After completing The Gray Line, a project that looks at young male cadets, she started to think about forms of masculinity other than that familiar from her youth.
“If you are on the lowest rung of society, if when you get on a bus people turn away from you, it’s nice to be noticed,” says Louis Quail. “It’s nice to be seen.” We’re talking about his project Big Brother, which won the portfolio review prize at Format International Photography Festival and has been published as a book by Dewi Lewis. Shot over the last six years, it’s a portrait of Quail’s older brother Justin, who is now 58 and has suffered from schizophrenia for his whole adult life. Quail doesn’t shy away from the obvious effects of his brother’s illness, showing his wrecked shoes and chaotic flat, and including police notes and medical records that speak of medication, sectioning and arrest. But his project also shows another side to Justin – one less familiar, perhaps, in our conception of the mentally ill. It includes Justin’s excellent drawings and paintings, his poetry, and his love of bird watching; it also shows his girlfriend Jackie, who also has mental issues and is an alcoholic, but …