Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The subversion of images and the war on truth


In a post on Reading The Pictures, a site dealing with visual politics and photojournalism writer Marta Zarzycka considers the media take on events following the recent shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Zarzycka: In the weeks since the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the media scrutiny of its teenage survivors has been relentless. It has been further fueled by their powerful speeches at the March for Our Lives earlier this month: TIME Magazine featured them on their cover, Teen Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar published their op-eds; their faces appeared on protesters’ placards, T-shirts, posters and on city murals. 

While for many they represent agents of change, moral referents, latter-day anti-Vietnam War activists, and future leaders, alt-righters, white supremacists, conservatives, and Donald Trump supporters (with the enthusiastic endorsement of the First Son, Donald Trump, Jr.) have declared war on them. In this war, an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle is replaced by such weapons as slander, conspiracy theories and misinformation. Parkland students are portrayed as “crisis actors” paid by George Soros or political puppets of Hillary Clinton; they are likened to Nazis, to terrorists, to “young fascists-in-training” who undermine the fundamental principles of American freedom.

This campaign relies on images of hate, as photographs, memes, and videos are circulated by right-wing media outlets, such as Breitbart, Infowars, and others on social media. Digitally doctored or taken out of context, they ridicule, troll, attack, and mock: in a recent image, David Hogg is made to appear as though he is making a Nazi salute after his speech at the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.; in another, his speech is dubbed over by Adolf Hitler, his voice captured, silenced, and controlled through the misappropriation of technology.

In the visual fallout of the Parkland shooting, we can no longer assume the inherent truth of the image, as concepts like meaning, portrait, representation or mimesis, traditionally considered in the medium of photography, are rendered obsolete through the art of technological deception.

The piece is important and well worth a read in its entirety, you can do so HERE.



Monday, April 9, 2018

British photobook publisher Dewi Lewis - advice for photographers who want to make a book


Mimi Mollica'a Terra Nostra published by Dewi Lewis

Established in 1994, Dewi Lewis Publishing is one of the leading photographic publishers in the world. Its award-winning authors include Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Bruce Gilden, Jacob Aue Sobol and Laia Abril, among many others. 

Dewi Lewis, who runs Dewi Lewis Publishing alongside his partner Caroline Warhurst, is a sought after voice in the photography world and an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2009, he was awarded the Society’s inaugural RPS Award for Outstanding Service to Photography. In addition to serving on the jury for numerous international awards, Lewis has been a “Master” three times for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclasses. 

Dewi's advice, the nitty gritty: Firstly decide why, then what, then how. Why do you want a book? Is it the best way to take things forward for you? Do you really have something to say? Is there a way of bringing the work together coherently? When you look at the full body of work is there a way of giving it a coherent sequence? Is there an audience for it? What would be the best way of reaching that audience? What form should the book take? The questions should go on and on. The key to a successful book is in the answers and in being totally honest, self-aware, and self-critical. And, if at the end of the process you are still 100% convinced, then go for it.

You can read the full story HERE and go to Dewi Lewis Publishing website HERE


Harvey Benge's The Lament published by Dewi Lewis

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Wolfgang Tillmans - A Forum on European Culture








CALL FOR IDEAS:

Forum on European Culture invites you to contribute to:

Eurolab – New ideas to communicate the EU

In the run-up to the European elections in May 2019 artists, writers and creatives who feel passionate about the European project come together during the Forum on European Culture in Amsterdam from May 31- June 3. During the 4-day Eurolab, they examine what has gone wrong in the communication of, and about the EU and how to make a new and powerful beginning.

In an increasingly interconnected world voices that create division between people and peoples, have gathered momentum and try to unravel the achievements of cooperation and solidarity. Europeans in particular are challenged by nationalist and divisive language from outside and from within the EU.


Eurolab is a fact-finding mission of what went well and what went wrong in the last 25 years of communicating Europe. In workshops and interview sessions we aim to compile a comprehensive toolbox of arguments, strategies, and ideas that can be applied to campaigns across different demographics and used by different professional groups (e.g. ‘Teachers for Europe’ ‘Scientists for Europe’ ‘Farmers for Europe’). Eurolab wants to collect ideas about how cooperation and solidarity can be spoken for in a fresh and compelling way to large audiences. How can the European Union be valued by its citizens and be recognized as a force for good, rather than as a faceless bureaucracy?


We understand that the EU is not perfect and that some of its problems are of its own making. However we are convinced that today’s Europe is the best there ever was, and that the European Project should be protected in these unstable times.


The brief for this open-call is to send us proposals for communicating the advantages of cooperation and friendship amongst people and nations. Please send drafts, designs, photos, poems, words and short film scripts that can be developed and contribute to a clear yet multi-faceted campaign. Across all media. We need messages, how the Union works and how life would be without it; - how it was without it. And we need ideas how to challenge the organisation itself, how to make it better. Alert us of the failings of the EU. Alert us of the successes of the EU. Also welcome are ideas that are not focused on the EU itself, but on its values, and how they play out amongst people in everyday life in non-political ways.


Each entry will be considered by a panel chaired by Rem Koolhaas and Wolfgang Tillmans, and will contribute to the pool of ideas to re-brand Europe. Eurolab operates on an open source model and we are not looking for one ‘winning’ idea. We don’t want to ‘sell’ anything. We believe the idea of the EU is good, and want to present it clear and open. Eurolab aims at building a network across the EU member nations from South to North, from East to West. We will stay in touch with you should your ideas be taken further.


We look forward to inviting a selected number of contributors to Amsterdam in June to investigate Europe’s potential and to find new language and visuals for it. The ambition of the workshop in Amsterdam is to further develop the proposals together with communication and media experts, and turn them into a real and effective campaign.


We are looking forward to receiving your contributions in our mailbox info@cultureforum.eu as soon as possible and no later than April 18. Please send files as PDF, maximum 15mB, with files named as ‘Surname_Name_Eurolab2018’. For more information on the Forum on European Culture, click here

Monday, March 26, 2018

Zoe Leonard: SURVEY, at the Whitney


Zoe Leonard - TV Wheelbarrow, 2001

New York–based artist Zoe Leonard (b. 1961) is among the most critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Over the past three decades, she has produced work in photography and sculpture that has been celebrated for its lyrical observations of daily life coupled with a rigorous, questioning attention to the politics and conditions of image making and display. 

 Zoe Leonard: Survey is the first large-scale overview of the artist’s work in an American museum. The exhibition looks across Leonard’s career to highlight her engagement with a range of themes, including the history of photography, gender and sexuality, loss and mourning, migration, displacement, and the urban landscape. More than it focuses on any particular subject, however, Leonard’s work slowly and reflectively calibrates vision and form. Using repetition, subtle changes of perspective, and shifts of scale, Leonard draws viewers into an awareness of the meanings behind otherwise familiar images or objects. A counter-example to the speed and disposability of image culture today, Leonard’s photographs, sculptures and installations ask the viewer to reengage with how we see. 

The Whitney has a longstanding commitment to Leonard, who has been featured in three Biennials, was awarded the Bucksbaum Award for her contribution to the 2014 Biennial, and is significantly represented in the Museum’s collection.

Zoe Leonard: SURVEY, runs at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, until June 10.

More about Zoe Leonard on Wikipedia HERE.

Zoe Leonard - American Flag Sweater, 2001



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Philip Jones Griffiths - an exhibition to mark the 10th anniversary of his death




London's TJ Boulting gallery and Trolley Books present an exhibition by renowned photographer Philip Jones Griffiths. The show marks the tenth anniversary of Philip Jones Griffiths' death, on 19th March 2008. 

The exhibition is held in conjunction with the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation and Magnum Photos. PJGX presents photographs from the two important bodies of work that represent Philip's archive - the Viet Nam war and Britain in the 1950s to 70s. It also covers several of the books that he published, from the original dummy of the seminal 'Vietnam Inc' of 1971 to prints from 'Recollections', which he worked on up until the day he died in 2008. As well as his images there will be a filmed interview that Philip gave in 2007 at the University of Wales, and a recent award-winning documentary featuring interviews with John Pilger, Don McCullin and Noam Chomksy among others. 

The exhibition runs 20th March to 21st April 2018. Gallery hours Tuesday to Saturday 11- 6.
You can go to the TJ Boulting site HERE. And to the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation site HERE.

Sometime in 1998 Philip was in Auckland to shoot a picture of a local celebrity cook for the Heinz Corporation Annual Report. He got in touch with me and I helped him with lighting for the shot. I remember his battered cameras and thought that this was a long way from Vietnam. Later we sat in my kitchen and Philip told unrepeatable tales-out-of-school about his Magnum mates. I emailed Philip in 2003 when his wonderful Agent Orange book was published. He replied to me from New York, saying he was busy editing and that the Agent Orange book had been "soundly ignored by the media."

Philip Jones Griffith was both a remarkable man and remarkable photographer. The Guardian's obituary put it like this: Philip Jones Griffiths, who has died aged 72 of cancer, was the most impassioned and clear-headed of anti-war war photographers. From 1966 to 1968, and again in 1970, he lived the Vietnam war from the inside, sharing the conditions of soldiers and civilians, putting himself at immense personal risk. In 1971 he assembled his reportage into a book, with his own scathing captions, entitled Vietnam Inc, which played a key role in changing public perceptions of the conflict, especially in the United States.
The level of impact the book had is indicated by Noam Chomsky's recent comment: "If anybody in Washington had read that book, we wouldn't have had these wars in Iraq or Afghanistan." 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

1000 Words Photography Magazine - 10 year anniversary print edition





1000 Words is a leading online contemporary photography magazine. It commissions and publishes exhibition and photo book reviews, essays and interviews in response to the visual culture of our present moment. Founded by Tim Clark in 2008, the editorial commitment has always been to explore the possibilities for the medium whilst stimulating debate around current modes of practice, discourses and theory internationally. Released quarterly, it attracts an average of 140,000 unique visitors from more than 120 countries every month. 1000 Words was also nominated as Photography Magazine of the Year at the Lucie Awards in 2014 and 2016.

To celebrate 10 years of commitment to quality photography 1000 Words is producing a print edition, due for launch October 2018. But they need our support to make it happen. You can check out the 1000 Words Kickstarter campaign HERE. This is a great project and is totally worth supporting! 

1000 Words founder and editor Tim Clark has this to say: 

Since 2008, we’ve commissioned and published more than 850 exhibition and photobook reviews, essays and interviews. Contributors include critics and writers such as David Campany, Susan Bright, Gerry Badger and Charlotte Cotton; as well as respected artists Wolfgang Tillmans, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Vanessa Winship and Lieko Shiga. 

We’ve grown our audience to readers in over 120 countries and attracted an approximately 140,000 unique visitors to the site every month. We have made more than 55,000 Twitter, Instagram and Facebook friends, and we’ve seen nearly 20,000 followers sign up to our newsletter. 

We’ve organised exhibitions and workshops, offered awards, and conducted countless talks and portfolio reviews. In 2014 and 2016 we were nominated for a prestigious Lucie Award in the ‘Photography Magazine of the Year’ category. 

Now we need your help to launch our first print magazine. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of 1000 Words, and what better way to celebrate than to publish a special print annual? Designed by Sarah Boris, and printed in Italy, the publication will take the form of a beautiful 200-page bookish magazine featuring newly-commissioned content. At its core will be the high-quality reproductions of 10 portfolios from artists who, we believe, have built significant bodies of work and emerged as increasingly influential practitioners in the past decade. Those individuals include Jose Pedro Cortes, Laia Abril, Edmund Clark and Esther Teichmann to name but a few.

While you're at it you can sign up HERE for 1000 Words newsletters. 



Monday, March 19, 2018

Being: New Photography 2018 at MoMA, NYC



Aïda Muluneh -The 99 Series Part One 

Every two years, MoMA’s New Photography exhibition series presents fresh ideas in recent photography and photo-based art. This year’s edition, asks how photography can capture what it means to be human. 

At a time when questions about the rights, responsibilities, and dangers inherent in being represented—and in representing others—are being debated around the world, the works featured in this exhibition call attention to assumptions about how individuals are depicted and perceived. Many works challenge the conventions of photographic portraiture, or use tactics such as masking, cropping, or fragmenting to disorient the viewer. In others, snapshots or found images are taken from their original context and placed in a new one to reveal hidden stories. 
While some of the works might be considered straightforward representations of individuals, others do not include images of the human body at all. Together, they explore how personhood is expressed today, and offer timely perspectives on issues of privacy and exposure; the formation of communities; and gender, heritage, and psychology. 

Exploring new ground and the many forms that the photographic image can take, New Photography is a key part of the Museum’s contemporary program. Since 1985, the series has introduced new work by over 100 artists from around the world. In 2018, Being brings together an international group of 17 artists at various stages in their careers, all presenting their work at the Museum for the first time. 

The artists included are: Sofia Borges (Brazilian, born 1984) Matthew Connors (American, born 1976) Sam Contis (American, born 1982) Shilpa Gupta (Indian, born 1976) Adelita Husni-Bey (Italian, born 1985) Yazan Khalili (Palestinian, born Syria, 1981) Harold Mendez (American, born 1977) Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopian, born 1974) Hương Ngô and Hồng-Ân Trương (American, born Hong Kong, 1979; American, born 1976) B. Ingrid Olson (American, born 1987) Joanna Piotrowska (Polish, born 1985) Em Rooney (American, born 1983) Paul Mpagi Sepuya (American, born 1982) Andrzej Steinbach (German, born Poland, 1983) Stephanie Syjuco (American, born Philippines, 1974) Carmen Winant (American, born 1983).

You can see more on MoMA's site HERE. The exhibition is on view until August 19.


Sam Contis