Trusting her intuition and spontaneity, Sorochinski’s surreal self-portraits respond to feelings of confinement and uncertainty during the pandemic
Pixy Liao interviews her favourite artist, Elina Brotherus, about her influences, creativity during lockdown, and the performative elements of their self portraiture
Adopting a variety of guises and costumes, Samuel Fosso has spent a lifetime subverting cultural stereotypes with his performative self-portraits
In the first instalment of a new series, we reflect on projects made inside, including work by Gideon Mendel, Jerome Ming and Stefanie Moshammer
When Derek Bishton, John Reardon, and Brian Homer set up a photography and design agency in the late 1970s in Handsworth, a multicultural, inner-city district of Birmingham, they were viewed with suspicion. “I lived in Handsworth and walked to work with my camera, and I felt people were looking at me as if to say ’Who is this white guy, is he working for the police?’” says Bishton. “As I started to take photographs I was aware of this problem.”
Their agency, Sidelines, had been set up to work with community groups on issues such as social justice housing, unemployment and immigration though, so the photographers were keen to win the locals’ trust. Discussing it in their office, a converted terraced house on a busy shopping street in Handsworth, Bishton happened to find a photograph in Camerawork Magazine, showing a Ukranian woman who had photographed herself in a portrait studio set up by American photographer David Attie. It was, he realised, the perfect solution – and one which their office was seemingly built for.
‘It is essential that this important exhibition is seen by as many women as possible. To do this we need money – to make it fit to travel all over Britain. Please help and send donations to:- “The Hackney Flashers Collective” who took all the photographs and organised it.’ Written in red marker pen, the appeal appears on a poster made in 1975 by socialist-feminist collective The Hackney Flashers. With their travelling exhibitions, Jo Spence and other members created influential agitprop materials as a way of confronting social prejudices. Their black-and-white prints – of women at work in factories; female machinists hunched over sewing machines; a mother holding a saucepan over the stove and a baby on her hip – helped campaign for equal pay in the workplace and better childcare provisions. “They wanted to operate in society and not as part of the art world,” says Elena Crippa, who curated the retrospective of Jo Spence’s work at Tate Britain. Using the flash of the camera as a pun on the revealing nature of photography, The Hackney Flashers …
“In America, cattle are seen as food,” says 26-year-old Allyson Anne Lamb. “People don’t see them as anything other than burgers. But there is a lot more that goes on with animals. I wanted to create a fantasy world where cattle aren’t just food. I wanted to show a relationship between the animal and human.” In Beefcakes, Lamb, who graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York four years ago, photographed herself naked with cattle at ranches in Texas, Maine and Maryland in the US. “I was already making self-portraits to explore my identity as a young woman, and wanted to have the same conversation about cattle and identity,” she explains. “Cattle are much more rigidly purposed than I am – cows are used for breeding or for their milk their entire lives, for example. I wanted to show a woman physically on or next to a cow to say, ‘Look, here they are at the same time.’” Currently based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lamb worked on the project from July to December last year. “I looked …