“The Soviet Union left a great heritage in various manifestations from architecture to people’s thoughts, and some are struggling to understand the new times,” says 22-year-old Ukranian photographer Vladyslav Andrievsky. “Often, because of this, the youth is struggling to find common ground with the elders.
“It’s obvious that there were many limitations when it came to one’s life or freedom. Today, when thinking about the Soviet Union, we are visualising it the way it could have been, not the way it was. Of course the fact that somebody could have been killed for a painting or a thought is shocking and devastating. Still, we are left with an enormous cultural heritage like art, literature, music, films, and we truly value that.
“Owing to people like Boris Mikhailov we can try to understand what life was like back then,” he continues. “In his book Case History he is showing homeless people like heroes, who are giving their lives for the brighter future of the new generations. As a young person I don’t want to be a let-down. I don’t want to upset Boris.”
As a medical student specialising in youth and cognitive neuroscience, Claudio Majorana is not a typical documentary photographer. Having grown up with a mother in fine arts and a father in medicine, his attraction to the symbiosis between art and science was initiated at a young age, and his interest in photography – an artistic medium rooted in scientific process – came to him naturally. “Throughout my childhood, I spent tiSme painting in my mother’s atelier, or helping my father develop X-rays in his radiology darkroom. That’s where my interest in images began,” he reflects.
When Majorana was accepted into medical school at 19, he also began photographing voraciously. In the summer of 2011, he encountered a group of kids in the suburbs of Catania, his hometown in Sicily, and began documenting moments in their daily life, rooted in skateboarding culture and the general struggles and raucous habits that colour adolescent life. The result is his series, Head of the Lion.
When Michelle Sank approached young people on the streets of Sandwell, asking to take portraits of them in their bedrooms, most were happy to be photographed. It was trickier to negotiate with their parents, who were sceptical for obvious reasons. “I had to explain why it was so important for me to photograph them in their bedrooms,” says Sank. “What’s on their walls is a metaphor for their identity and personality”. My.Self is a collaboration with Multi Story, a local charity that works with artists to make work for and about the people of Sandwell. The charity hadn’t produced any work yet on young people in the Black Country – a name for this region of the British West Midlands believed to have come from the layer soot it was covered with in the Industrial Revolution – so with her past experience of working with young people, Sank decided to make portraits of them in their bedrooms, wearing the clothes, and surrounded by the items, which help to confer their identities. The book is dedicated to …
“Tish believed that photography was an important form of visual communication that could stimulate discussions about real life situations and captured accurate records of the world we live in. She was trying to force people to look at the truth and learn from it,” explains Ella Murtha, the daughter of the documentary photographer. In honour of her mother’s memory, Ella has put together a new photobook, Youth Unemployment, which gathers Tish Murtha’s work photographing poverty-ridden communities in Newcastle in the 70s and 80s. Raw, powerful and emotional, Murtha has captured youngsters trying to survive turbulent economic times, when they had limited prospects – something which has recently come full circle as a new generation has had to deal with the global financial crisis.
“This exhibition doesn’t have any of the clichés people might expect Irish photography to have,” says Vivienne Gamble. “I want it to give a viewpoint of the country that a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily expect.”
The director of Peckham’s Seen Fifteen Gallery is talking about Triptych, an exhibition showing in Paris from 09-12 November in association with Centre Culturel Irlandais. The exhibition, which will be held across the three levels of the Espace Lhomond gallery just across the street from the CCI, features work by three of Ireland’s most promising photographers: Ciarán Óg Arnold, Megan Doherty and Martin Seeds, each of whom is showing photographs deeply rooted in their homeland.
“People might not have a lot, but they will give you what they can. That’s true of so many Irish people. They’re a very warm and friendly and welcoming people. They will tell you stories and their lives and give you their time.” Josh Adam Jones, a student at the University of West England, Bristol, developed his project 99 Peace Walls whilst volunteering at Belfast’s photo festival this summer. The youth of the city helped him to understand the divides that are still ingrained into the culture there, and how, in spite of this, there is a warm community to be found throughout the city.
“Music is a language for all humans; it gets under your skin and brings out and expresses strong emotions,” says Emily Stein, whose latest commission took her to a primary school in North London, where she photographed young children for Stella McCartney’s Kid’s fashion range
Street photographer Michelle Groskopf’s images let us know what fascinates her right away. “Street photography acts as a time machine for me. It has this funny way of allowing me to revisit the characters and tone of my childhood. “Even though I’ve spent my life trying to get as far away as possible from the small Canadian suburb I grew up in, when it comes to my work it seems clear to me that I’m just trying to make my way back home.” Teen culture, femininity and suburbia all feature heavily in her work, which has been featured in the likes of Vice, Fotografia Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler. “I’m interested in the places where the suburbs intersect with the city,” Groskopf says. “The sorts of attitudes, fashion and geometry these spaces tend to inspire in the people traversing them. I have a desperate desire to get as close up to these details as possible. For that reason my world tends to be one full of tension. People tend not to like being scrutinised.” Now represented by international photo agency INSTITUTE, …
In 1992, thousands of New Age travellers, ravers and gypsies converged on Castlemorton Common in Worcestershire for a week-long free festival. Widely reported in the press, the event attracted an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 people and became impossible for the police to close down. Tom Hunter, then a student at the London College of Printing, was involved in the free party scene but somehow missed the event; he soon realised he’d let a seminal moment pass him by and vowed not to do so again. Castlemorton led directly to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, however, which outlawed outdoor parties that included “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” in the UK. So, three years later, Hunter and a squad of fellow squatters were on their way to Europe in a decommissioned double-decker bus, complete with sound system and provisions. Over the ensuing months, the group travelled to folk festivals in France, hippie gatherings in Austria and beach parties in Spain, with the bus – Le Crowbar – doubling …