Nataal.com was born in 2015 as a platform to communicate the creativity coming out of Africa. It was launched by Sara Hemming, former art director at AnOther, Helen Jennings, former editor at Arise magazine, and Senegalese actor and director Sy Alassane. Focusing on fashion shoots, long form features and visual essays, Nataal collaborates with emerging artists around the world who are shaping global narratives around African culture.
This year, Nataal published its first annual print magazine, built around the theme “Future Gaze” and containing 336 pages of photography by well-known artists such as Viviane Sassen, Lorenzo Vitturi and Ayana V Jackson, as well as commissions by up-and-coming photographers such as Arielle Bobb-Willis. The photography is accompanied by in-depth editorials covering a range of topics including fashion, visual arts and music, as well as a short story by American-Ghanaian writer Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, and articles about contemporary African culture and business.
BJP spoke to creative director Sara Hemming and editorial director Helen Jennings about Nataal media and why photography is so integral to their magazine.
Feeling all shopped out? Take refuge in a photo show – though many are being hosted by private galleries in Paris next week, meaning you can still buy prints if you want to. Photo Saint-Germain is a huge umbrella under which 36 exhibitions and events are taking place, for example, including the Polycopies and Shakespeare & Co book events and several cultural institutes, but also smaller, commercial galleries.
In the yearly World Happiness Report, Denmark, along with its Nordic neighbours, continuously ranks in the top three spots. But what is it about the Danes that makes them so happy? “After three years, I still don’t really have an answer,” says Giulia Mangione, whose new book, Halfway Mountain, seeks to uncover this very question. Mangione started the project in 2014, as part of a photography course she was taking in at the prestigious Danish School of Media and Journalism. Her experience as assistant photo editor at Calvert Journal and interning at MACK Books had helped her “develop a taste for documentary photography” and photobooks, she says, and, after showing a dummy of her project to Corinne Noordenbos – a celebrated educator and former tutor of contemporary photographers such as Rob Hornstra and Viviane Sassen – she decided to expand on it.
“When I was younger I was jealous of photographers who had their own very personal subject matter and aesthetic. It’s so important to allow yourself the freedom to be truly creative,” says Dutch artist Viviane Sassen. “Experimentation is central to my practice.”
Sassen’s daring and idiosyncratic approach hangs somewhere between fashion and fine art. At the core of her practice is an understanding of the importance of constant experimentation, thus making her images complex, unexpected and disarming. Her works are often an exchange or interaction between different elements, contributing to the tactility and physical quality of images. Colour, shape, powder and paint are just some of the tools she uses as enhancers.
Swedish organisation Fotografiska has announced Alexander Montague-Sparey as the chief curator of their new gallery in London. He will oversee the exhibition programme for all seven spaces in the London venue, which will open in Whitechapel later this year. Montague-Sparey is an independent curator who has worked with a variety of private clients including collectors, art fairs and museums. He holds a Masters Degree in Art History from the University of Oxford, and is a photography specialist. “Fotografiska London’s seven exhibition spaces will allow for the display of some of the most cutting-edge and accomplished international photo and video artists,” he told BJP. “The venue in Stockholm has become one of the foremost international spaces dedicated to contemporary photography in the world. I look forward to advancing the discussion in this state of the art space, in London’s most exciting and creative postcode.”
Situated on the harbour in the Stadsgårdskajen district of Stockholm is the privately-owned and commercially-run photography centre Fotografiska. A self-styled museum housed in an impressive and beautifully-renovated former customs house, built in 1906 in the Art Nouveau style, Fotografiska opened in 2010, and has since exhibited the work of renowned photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Joel-Peter Witkin, Anders Petersen, Sarah Moon and Christer Strömholm, to name but a few. Two of the most recent solo exhibitions were of the photojournalist Paul Hansen and the fashion and art photographer Viviane Sassen. Such is the success of Fotografiska that the museum is now set to open two new galleries, with others planned for the future. New York will be first, then London – and the plans for London would make the world’s largest photography gallery.
The founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation and curator of this year’s Lagos Photo picks out his top books, exhibitions and Instagram feeds of 2017
Returning for its eight edition from 13 September, Tbilisi Photo is an international festival in the heart of the Caucasus which hopes to bridge the image-making communities from across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This year themed Fashion, the diverse programme includes a look at Guy Bourdin’s iconic oeuvre, the Dutch artist Viviane Sassen’s approach to fashion photography, and an exclusive display of Iranian fashion magazines published before the Islamic revolution in 1978.
“When I unbutton the sleeve of a shirt/Shades of sky under my skin awaken,” read the opening lines of Maria Barnas’ poem You and I, used at the start of Viviane Sassen’s new photobook, Roxane II. Abstract though these lines seem, they possess a subtle symmetry with the images which follow, in which expanses of pale skin sit in stark juxtaposition to graphic, almost blindingly bright streaks of colour. In Roxane II, the human and the organic seem to bleed into one another with captivating results.
Africa figures large in the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015, with nominations for South African photographers Mikhael Subotzky and Zanele Muholi, and for Viviane Sassen, a Dutch photographer who was raised in Kenya and chooses to make work on the continent. Subotzky is nominated for his collaboration with UK born editor and artist Patrick Waterhouse, however, while Russian photographer Nikolai Bakharev completes the four-strong shortlist. Works by the shortlisted photographers will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery in London from 17 April until 07 June 2015 before going to the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt; the winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced at The Photographers’ Gallery at an awards ceremony on 28 May 2015. Image-makers are nominated for the annual prize for specific bodies of work exhibited or published in Europe over the preceding 12 months; this year Sassen (b. 1972) – whose fashion photography is currently on show at The Photographers’ Gallery – has been nominated for her exhibition Umbra, shown at Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam from 08 March until 01 June 2014. Bakharev (b. 1946) has been nominated for his exhibition …