September 27, 2013

Friday Round Up - 27 September

This week Friday Round Up is bursting with stories – Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam, Noorderlicht Photo Festival, Delhi Photo Festival, new work from Ludovic Robert and Geoffrey Hiller’s Kickstarter Project Burma in Transition, and even a few photos of my own - plenty to view and read over the next couple of weeks while I take a short holiday to catch up with my family in Italy; there are still some places where the Internet doesn’t work! Friday Round Up will be back on Friday 11th October. Until then…

Unseen Photo Fair - Amsterdam 

This brilliant Fair that brings together photographers, galleries, and the public opened yesterday in Amsterdam. General Manager of Unseen, Sasha Stone, took time out of her ridiculously busy schedule for an interview with Alison Stieven-Taylor that included a behind-the-scenes tour while the Fair was in final build. You can read the interview on the Feature Articles link on this blog or click here.

Link: Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam

Nooderlicht Photo Festival
Now in its 20th edition, the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the northern city of Groningen, The Netherlands, this year is housed in the old Sugar Factory on the outskirts of town. This massive industrial site lends itself brilliantly to the Festival which has been cleverly designed to make the most of the natural architecture of the space.

Photos above (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

The open call theme this year is "To Have and Have Not," a topic that curator Wim Melis says was centred on the concept of how the GFC affected the very rich, the 1 percent, a world that is hidden to most. The complexity of photographing what essentially “happens behind closed doors is challenging” states Melis, yet from a pool of 350 submissions he has created a powerful exhibition that gives insight into the playgrounds of the mega-rich. It is a mind boggling collection that demonstrates the excesses and, in my opinion, the sheer insanity that comes with having more money than you need for ten lifetimes, let alone one. "To Have and Have Not" is housed upstairs and presented in a series of cube structures that allow you to walk around the exhibits and really immerse yourself in the work (see above).

Curator Wim Melis

(C) Mark Peterson

Adjacent to this space is one of two commissioned exhibitions, "The Sequel," which features seven photographers - Ad van Denderen, Pieter ten Hoopen, Christian Kryl, Kadir van Lohuizen, Andrea Stultiens, Lidwien van de Ven and Xiaoxiao Xu - who were commissioned to produce a second instalment that built on an existing work. Melis says the concept of "The Sequel" was to give photographers an opportunity to delve further into a subject that they had already invested in. While the whole collection is engaging, two pieces really stood out for me. Ad van Denderen’s work looking at the new Palestinian city of Rawabi juxtaposed against his previous series Baladia, a training city of the Israeli army. And Pieter ten Hoopen’s short film on the residents of mythic city of Kitezh in eastern Russia. Kitezh is a cultural trope in Russia, symbolising a better world, without pain and deprivation, but the reality for residents is quite the opposite.

 (C) Ad van Denderen

(C) Pieter ten Hoopen

The other commissioned exhibition, "The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar," was set up as an international project, says Melis, with sugar as a product being an example of globalisation. “This project is about globalisation, but also colonialisation which is in sugar’s roots. We took as a starting point the countries where sugar and the Dutch have had connections – Suriname, Indonesia and Brazil. We collaborated with those countries engaging local writers and involving local organisations who were given the raw materials we had, to build their own exhibitions”. Six highly respected photographers were commissioned and given specific briefs. James Whitlow Delano and Alejandro Chaskielberg focused on Suriname and The Netherlands; Ed Kashi and Francesco Zizola Brazil and The Netherlands; Carl de Keyzer Indonesia and Belgium, his homeland, and; Tomasz Tomaszewski Indonesia and The Netherlands. The result is an expansive exhibition, and book, that documents the impact of sugar on these countries, and their communities, from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

(C) Ed Kashi 

My feature on Photography in The Netherlands featuring Noorderlicht and Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam will be in a coming issue of Pro Photo magazine.

Link: Noorderlicht Photo Festival
Until 13 October

Photo Essay:
Ludovic Robert – Stu Steps Up

London-based French photographer Ludovic Robert is following Stuart “Stu” Nixon, a 49 year old who has been living with Multiple Sclerosis since he was 18. A father and husband, Stu's courage and determination to not let this heinous disease beat his spirit are an inspiration, and now he’s attempting to “walk” to raise awareness and funds for MS. The only catch? Stu can’t walk! Watch Stu’s story here, shot by Robert in Wales, and have some tissues close by! This is a wonderful, brave story and Robert’s compassionate black and white images allow us to witness, but not intrude on, intimate moments of joy and also despair as Stu struggles daily with this debilitating disease. Stu hopes to raise 60,000 pounds for the MS Society UK’s 60th Anniversary by walking 60 kilometres through London in October.

All photos (C) Ludovic Robert

Link: You can watch the first part of Stu Steps Up here

Delhi Photo Festival 

The biennial Delhi Photo Festival opens today. An initiative of the India Habitat Centre and Nazar Foundation, this edition of the Festival features a broad range of work from traditional print photography to multimedia works. The print exhibitions are on the theme “grace” in tribute to Indian photographer the late Prabuddha Dasgupta who passed away last year at the age of 58 years.

(C) Prabuddha Dasgupta

More than 2300 bodies of work from 90 countries were submitted for this year’s Festival which has been expanded beyond the India Habitat Centre to feature independent exhibitions and activities at galleries throughout the city creating a city-wide Festival.

Following the format that seems to be the template for many photo festivals around the world – exhibitions, workshops and portfolio reviews – the Delhi Photo Festival features more than 40 print exhibitions from a diverse group of photographers. There is a dedicated exhibition linking the works of 5 photographers inspired by Indian Cinema - Jonathan Torgovnik, Kannagi Khanna, Max Pinckers, Nathan G and Pushpmala N. And also a self-published exhibition “Looking Eastward” curated by Sohrab Hura. And that’s just the main print exhibitions. Australian Tamara Dean is also exhibiting.

(C) Sacha Goldberger

 (C) Kauser Haider

Unpacking Tamara Dean's show

September 27 to October 11, 2013
Link: Delhi Photo Festival

Kickstarter Project:
Geoffrey Hiller - Burma in Transition

Award-winning US photojournalist Geoffrey Hiller has been visiting Burma since 1987, a country he labels “one of the world’s poorest and most isolated places. I first went in 1987 on the one-week visa. After a frenetic trip, it wasn’t so much the monks and pagodas that haunted me, but the faces of the Burmese, painted in white, often smiling. I wanted to find out more about who they really were, plagued by a corrupt government and international sanctions”. His fascination with the country resulted in the creation of the award-winning multimedia web site “Burma: Grace Under Pressure,” which has been viewed “by millions”. 

All photos (C) Geoffrey Hiller

Hiller has continued to use his camera to capture “daily life from the cramped streets of the colonial capital of Yangon, to dusty markets in Mandalay, to Muslims in Meikhtila, and river life in Pathein”. His work presents a fascinating story of a people who have lived under a repressive military dictatorship for half a century and his photographs are rich in colour, complexity and humanity. Now with “unheard of political and cultural freedom…the real question is how this will play out in the lives of the Burmese people”.

Hoping to self-publish his work as a book “Burma in Transition,” Hiller has launched a Kickstarter Project which ends on October 10. 

Changing the Skyline 
To round up this Friday's coverage here are a few photographs from my own project exploring the changing skyline of Europe. Have a great weekend.

(C) Alison Stieven-Taylor
Milan September 2013

September 20, 2013

Friday Round Up - 20 September

This week Friday Round Up features exhibitions in Berlin, Eugene Smith’s assistant Takeshi Ishikawa releases his book Minamata Note, Sydney’s Art and About launches, and Bill Henson’s show closes at the Art Gallery of NSW.  Next week my report from the Noorderlicht Festival in beautiful Groningen, The Netherlands. Have a great weekend wherever you are.

Berlin and Photography
Last week I was in Berlin to check out a few galleries. In particular the Neue Schule fur Fotographie (New School for Photography) has an exciting exhibition programme along with workshops. A privately run college with an amazing exhibition space, the Neue Schule’s latest show features work from Ulrike Brase, Thommy Gebhardt, Dirk Hoffmann, Anni Jeroch, Yasmin Opielok, Jennie Schwartz and Jinhwan Seol. 

Celebrating the launch of this exhibition Neue Schule has produced a fantastic boxed set of catalogues on the works of each artist. You can purchase a single catalogue or the full set. The black embossed booklets are beautifully crafted and a clever idea as they will quickly become collectors items.

Two artists’ work stood out for me – Jennie Schwartz’ “Mommy, what shall I dream about tonight?” and Jinhwan Seol’s “Industrial”. Schwartz explores themes of childhood nightmares and fear of the dark through ambiguous imagery, blurred figures and abstract shapes. Her play with light and perspective creates intriguing images that reveal more the longer you look. Schwartz’s work is easy to relate to, evoking memories of imagination taking flight when the lights go out. 

(C) Jennie Schwartz
Seol’s portrayal of the Yeosa National Industrial Complex in South Korea, the largest petrochemical complex in the country, is like a storyboard for a futuristic movie. Operating around the clock, Yeosa’s machinery is constantly in motion, its buildings continuously lit creating an unnatural glow on the horizon that Seol uses to great effect in these black and white photographs. 

(C) Jinhwan Seol

Until 20 October
Neue Schule fur Fotographie
Brunnenstr 188-190/10119 Berlin

At Camera Work Gallery is Stockholm photographer Blaise Reutersward’s exhibition “Aktstudien und Deutsche Landschaften” a breathtaking collection where large scale German landscapes are juxtaposed against Reutersward’s nude studies, for which he is perhaps better known. With both Reutersward’s aim “is to capture a sense of mystery that simmers underneath the illusion of perfect form and beauty”. The space too in which the gallery is housed is in itself worth a visit. 

Until 12 October
Camera Work
Kantstrasse 149
10623 Berlin–Charlottenburg

Takeshi Ishikawa – Minamata Note 

Eugene Smith at work in Minamata (C) Takeshi Ishikawa

When he was in his early twenties Takeshi had a chance meeting with Eugene Smith on the streets of Tokyo, an encounter that would change the young photographer’s life. At that time Smith was about to embark on his now famous Minamata project, which exposed the horrific effects on that city’s population from the severe mercury contamination of shellfish and fish caused by the release of tainted industrial waste water. Takeshi joined him on this journey, working often for nothing but bed and board, assisting Smith and also taking his own photos. Now 40 years later in "Minamata Note" Takeshi shares the images he shot during this time, many of which are intimate portraits of Smith that have never been published.

40 years later - Takeshi back row last on right with some of the people he met when he first went to Minamata

C) Takeshi Ishikawa

Art and About – Sydney

With this year’s theme "Private Lives…Public Spaces" Art and About Sydney launches an extensive programme including a fantastic opportunity to have your portrait taken by one of Sydney’s best documentary photographers Louise Whelan.

Louise Whelan – Cultural Connections 
(C) Louise Whelan from New Settlers published by T&G Publishing

Sydney-based photo documentarian Louise Whelan will set up a portrait studio in public spaces around Sydney and take “stylised portraits of members of the community”. Whelan’s recently published book "New Settlers," which I wrote about in the Australian Weekend Magazine (to read click here) encapsulates the diversity of multicultural Australia. The portraits taken during Art and About will add to this body of work exploring concepts of cultural identity and representation. To find out more click here.

Louise Hawson - 52 Suburbs 
(C) Louise Hawson

Also part of Art and About is the exhibition 52 Suburbs. Hawson spent a year traversing the globe with her eight year old daughter visiting 10 countries, 14 cities, and 52 suburbs. This exhibition captures ordinary moments in suburbs that most travellers wouldn’t visit. It’s an interesting collection that reveals a commonality that defies cultural boundaries.

Museum of Sydney
Cnr. Bridge and Philip Sts, Sydney 

Sydney Life
"Sydney Life" at Hyde Park features the finalists in this year’s competition. You can also take a guided tour of the exhibition with one of the judges, Sandy Edwards 2pm Saturday 12 October, details here. Pictured are three finalists.

(C) Cam Cope

(C) Stephen Weissner

(C) Jgor Cavallina

Art and About 20 September to 20 October
Various Venues

Bill Henson – Cloud Landscapes

If you haven’t seen this exhibition by one of the world’s best photographic artists you’ve got two days - it closes on Sunday at the Art Gallery of NSW. 

Have a great weekend.

September 13, 2013

Friday Round Up - 13 September

This week on Friday Round Up the winners from this year's Visa Pour l'Image Awards plus an eclectic selection of exhibitions on in Melbourne and Sydney that demonstrate the diversity of photography and the ingenuity of artists to push boundaries in the pursuit of creativity. Have a great weekend wherever you are.

Visa pour l’image - Part Two
A host of prizes were awarded under the Visa banner again this year. Here are the highlights:

Canon Female Photojournalist Award 2013
Mary Calvert, The War Within: Sexual Violence in the US Military. This project will feature at next year's Festival and my interview with Mary will be published here in the coming weeks.

News Award supported by Paris Match
Laurent Van Der Stockt, Reportage by Getty Images, for his coverage of the conflict in Syria for Le Monde

Feature Award supported by Languedoc-Roussillon Region
Noriko Hayashi, Panos Pictures, for Unholy Matrimony in Kyrgyzstan, exposing the plight of the extraordinary number of young women who are kidnapped and forced into marriage. 

ICRC Humanitarian Award supported by SANOFI ESPOIR Foundation
Sebastiano Tomada, Sipa Press, for his reportage on the conflict in Syria with specific focus on the injured and the medics.

Lifetime Achievement supported by Le Figaro magazine
Don McCullin, Contact Press images

Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography
Launched in 2005, the goal of the Getty grants program is to enable photographers to bring attention to significant social and cultural issues, as well as to take new and inspiring strides in creative work. This year's recipients are:

Matt Eich - Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town

Samuel James, Cosmos, Oil in Nigeria

Marco Gualazzini, LUZphoto, M23-Kivu, DRC: a region under siege

Tomas Van Houtryve, VII, North Korea

Eugene Richards, War is Personal

Paolo Marchetti, Cité Soleil, Haïti

Visa pour l'image continues until 15 September in Perpignan, France.


Barat Ali Batoor - The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan

Barat Ali Batoor is a young Afghani refugee who risked his life when he climbed onboard a rickety wooden boat in Indonesia late last year bound for Australia. He fled his homeland after the Washington Post published his photo essayThe Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, which exposes the practice of men who enslave young boys to be their "wives". Drawing the ire of those in powerful positions, it was no longer safe for Batoor to stay in Kabul.

Batoor is one of the lucky few. He survived the ordeal at sea, managed to stay out of the clutches of the Indonesian prison system and finally was granted asylum in Australia. He arrived in Melbourne in May ready to start his new life, but ever mindful of those he had to leave behind. 

His mentor, legendary photojournalist Tim Page has curated Batoor’s first Sydney exhibition.

All images (C) Barat Ali Batoor

Until 5 October
10 x 8 Gallery
Level 5/ 56-60 Foster St, Surry Hills (Sydney)

Andreas Smetana – Passion and Passion

Smetana's Passion and Passion: A transparent view of man explores "the duality of passion through longing and suffering, and the appetite of desire for life". This is Smetana's first exhibition for 14 years and the works were shot in various locations around Australia over a 12 month period.

All images (C) Andreas Smetana

Until 29 September
Black Eye Gallery
3/138 Darlinghurst Road,
Darlinghurst (Sydney)

Michael Corridore - Tangents
Accomplished photomedia artist Michael Corridore says his series Tangents is "about re-interpreting what we see from differing perspectives and synthesizing those components of our observations and memory information into a two-dimensional image". Using subtle hues, monochromatic elements and bursts of vivid colour, Corridore's collection is eye-catching in its abstraction.

All images (C) Michael Corridore

Paul Blackmore – New Beirut

Another awarded Australian photographer Paul Blackmore will exhibit a small selection of images from his series New Beirut, which depicts a city and its people in celebration. This series delivers a new take on Beirut shifting the perception of a city torn by civil war to one of beach parties and glamour.

Heidi Romano – Frozen Water
This series of images is an exploration of “abstract, frozen landscapes” that Romano has discovered in trays and cubes of ice, a simple idea that has translated into a collection of photographs that conjure thoughts of polar caps, icebergs and frozen habitats.

Tangents, New Beirut and Frozen Water are all showing until 5 October

Edmund Pearce Gallery
Level 2, Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street
Wed-Sat 11am-5pm