Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including details of Photo London 2019, an interview with Don McCullin, an interview with photobook specialist Manfred Heiting, and several emerging photographers
Photo London is back at Somerset House this May for its fifth instalment, with a special exhibition of new and unseen work by this year’s Master of Photography, Stephen Shore, plus Vivian Maier, Roger Fenton, Eamonn Doyle, almost 100 galleries from 21 different countries, and a giant egg sculpture.
Known for his pioneering use of colour photography, Shore’s newest body of work will be shown for the first time in the UK at the fair, as well as a series of 60 small photographs titled Los Angeles, taken through a single day in the city in 1969. “We are honoured to present Stephen Shore as our 2019 Master of Photography,” said Photo London’s founding directors Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad. “As his recent retrospective at MOMA (New York) admirably demonstrated, Stephen is a truly pioneering photographer who has consistently pushed the boundaries of image making throughout a long and successful career.”
An early pioneer of colour photography and digital printing, the 77-year-old is best known for his cinematic, light- strewn images of Morocco, Russia, the US and his native Belgium. Working across six decades, he’s produced many books, including the recent East/West and Edges, both published by Thames & Hudson
The Walther Collection has kicked off an 18-month exploration of vernacular photography with a show titled The Shadow Archive: An Investigation into Vernacular Portrait Photography. Taken from the 1850s to the present day, the collected portraits depict groups such as ‘migrant laborers’, ‘inmates of an asylum’, ‘criminal photographs’, and ‘G&G Precision Works Photographic Identity Badges’, and, says the organisers, show how “identification photographs have been used to sort, shape, segregate, and select subjects based on occupation, social group, body type, or political affiliation”. The title references a phrase used by writer and photographer Allan Sekula to reference “the entire social field of human representations, comprising both heroes and deviants, within which every portrait takes its place as part of a moral hierarchy”.
Born in 1983 in the United States, Lucas Foglia grew up on a small farm some 30 miles east of New York city. His family grew their own food and lived a life away from the bustle of shopping centres and the surrounding suburbs. “The forest that bordered the farm was my childhood wilderness,” he says. “It was a wild place to play that was ignored by our neighbours, who commuted to Manhattan.” But in 2012 Hurricane Sandy charged through his family’s fields, flooding the farm and blowing down the oldest trees in the woods. “On the news, scientists linked the storm to climate change caused by human activity,” Foglia recalls. “I realised that if humans are changing the weather then there is no place on earth unaltered by people. I looked through my archive and set aside some photographs that became the seeds for my third book.”
The internet is used for millions of things by billions of people on a daily basis. More important than the latest news update though is our obsession for cats and the proliferation of feline-based jokes knows no bounds. In a new photobook, Humble Cats, Jon Feinstein hopes to move beyond just the meme-based disposable photos of our furry friends and see what potential these companions have to inspire artistic photographs.
By the end of the 19th century, the camera and the car had helped pave the way for a new, more modern perspective – images by freezing time, from multiple perspectives, and automobiles by speeding things up. Now the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris is devoting a huge exhibition to the two, showing how they have altered our lives and our visions of them – and how they continue to evolve. As curators Xavier Barral and Philippe Séclier comment: “Over the last few years we have witnessed an industrial, societal and environmental turning point in automobile history. On the other hand, photography has never been shared so much.” With the automobile and the camera, they explain, everyone can be in action in space and in time – cars providing almost everyone, everywhere, with autonomy and movement, and the photography allowing them to record their presence in history. “It was time to unify these two popular techniques, which have transformed the social bond into an artistic journey,” say the curators. “And this is the first time that a photographic exhibition of this magnitude has been organised on this theme.” …
“I don’t think there’s any such thing as teaching people photography, other than influencing them a little,” said Imogen Cunningham, the largely self-taught American photographer, who in later life tutored alongside Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange and Minor White at California School of Design. “People have to be their own learners. They have to have a certain talent.” It’s one of the central themes of our second annual special issue devoted to photography education, in which we profile two of the world’s most influential (and sharply contrasting) institutions – the Royal College of Art in London and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka – alongside reports on the workshop approach, and the experiences of laureates of the BMW Residency, both of which require a belief in self-learning and reflection. And while the methods may differ, the student-centred approach dominates. Rather than passively soaking up the knowledge of their masters, students are active participants, problem-solving on their own and developing a self-directed practice through which they learn about themselves as photographers. Nor is it …