January 31, 2014

Friday Round Up - 31 January, 2014

This Friday Round Up is dedicated to one of my dear friends who passed away this week after a valiant battle against an unbeatable and heinous disease, Motor Neurone. RIP Angela Batties.

On Friday Round Up this week Simon Harsent's exhibition Melt makes its Melbourne debut, Robyn Beeche's Retrospective, Claire Martin's Faeries photo essay, Max Pam on Supertourist and more.

Exhibition: Melbourne
Simon Harsent – MELT: Portrait of an Iceberg 

Photographer Simon Harsent says the underlying theme that resonates throughout his personal work “are the paths we choose in life”. It is this proposition that has influenced his series on icebergs, Melt: Portrait of an Iceberg. While the literal translation can be seen in the pathways these frozen behemoths follow in their physical journey, allegorically it can also be applied to the environmental choices that the human race has taken.

In Melt Harsent captures these glacial giants as they journey down “iceberg alley” from the Ilulissat Icefjord to Greenland’s Disco Bay and onto the east coast of Newfoundland. These icebergs can take years to make a journey that transforms these giants as they are reclaimed by the ocean. 

 All images (C) Simon Harsent

Melt: Portrait of an Iceberg, which is also an award-winning book, makes its Melbourne premiere next week.

Melt: Portrait of an Iceberg by Simon Harsent
Edmund Pearce Gallery
Level 2 Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street
February 5 – March 1, 2014
Opening night: Thursday February 6th at 6pm 


Exhibition: Sydney
Robyn Beeche Retrospective

A retrospective of Australian photographer Robyn Beeche’s work opens at Black Eye Gallery next week in Sydney. In the 1980s Beeche turned her lens on the “gender-bending” world of counter culture in London collaborating with the likes of Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood and Divine. Here she immersed herself in the energetic, creative underground scene, which inspired her to push the boundaries of her own work.

As a result Beeche’s work from this period is infused with the passion and creativity that fuelled music and fashion in the eighties. Beeche's style also influenced others of that era and you can see the Beeche aesthetic in David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes video as an example. Beeche’s portraits, which were created in a pre-digital, pre-Photoshop era, demonstrate the versatility of film and what can be created in the darkroom. 

All images (C) Robyn Beeche

3/138 Darlinghurst Road,
Darlinghurst, Sydney
February 2014

Photo Essay:
Claire Martin - Faeries

It’s fascinating to follow a photographer’s career especially when that photographer is the hugely talented Claire Martin, an Australian documentary photographer who continues to produce fantastic, original and thought-provoking work. I first interviewed Martin in 2010 at the now defunct Foto Freo festival in Perth about her work on alternative lifestyles; Slab City was the project at that time.

Martin continues to explore the experiences of those who choose to live off the grid. In her latest photo essay she captures the “Faeries” of Nimbin, in the remote countryside of New South Wales (Australia). Here those who have found the “real” world unpalatable, are able to get close to nature, to free their spirit and to live a life of their choosing where the words "weird" and "bizarre" are celebratory not derogatory.

Claire Martin is a member of the photography collective Oculi. You can see more of her work here.

Photo Essay:
Maria Turchenkova - Dagestan, Russia 

Russian documentary photographer Maria Turchenkova has spent the last few years focusing on life in the North Caucasus in Russia. Her long-term project, Hidden War in the Land of Mountains, investigates the impact of ongoing violence on inhabitants of the region. There is a unique visual quality in these images which leaves the viewer with no doubt that despite the perceived homogenisation of the contemporary world, there is nowhere else like Russia. 

All images (C) Maria Turchenkova

To view more work click here.

Book Review:
Max Pam - Supertourist

Australian photographer Max Pam’s latest book “Supertourist” took five years and two publishers to come to fruition, but for those who are fans of Max’s work, and there are many particularly in Europe, Supertourist is definitely worth the wait.

This month Max heads to India to continue his “obsession” with that country – this will be his 19th trip. The weekend before he is set to jet off I put a call into his home in Perth. When I talk to Max I always forget that he is now in his sixties, his voice carries none of the body’s years, he is still that curious, irreverent, creative heart that took off for foreign shores in the 1970s and has been travelling ever since.

Of Supertourist Max says...." Click on the Book Reviews tab above or here to read the interview and see more images.

Published by Éditions Bessard

January 24, 2014

Friday Round Up - 24 January, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up new work from Alexia Sinclair, Tim Page shares more unpublished work, Nathan Benn's Kodachrome Memory in review, an interview with Iranian photojournalist Majid Saeedi and more. Plus there are new features on Photojournalism Now including links to features in Pro Photo magazine and also L'Oeil de la Photographie. Have a great weekend.

Alexia Sinclair – A Frozen Tale

It will come as no surprise to the readers of this blog that my interest in Sydney photo-media artist Alexia Sinclair’s work is driven by my love of history, particularly Europe in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, periods Sinclair celebrates in her work. From the 1400s to the late 1800s European life was influenced by radical social change across all spectrums of society - politics, religion, art and knowledge – and artists of the time captured both the lives of the privileged and those of the common person. 

These themes are played out in Sinclair’s latest collection, “A Frozen Tale,” which is currently on exhibition in Brisbane at Queensland Centre for Photography. I spoke to Sinclair via Skype earlier this week, during nap-time – Sinclair and her husband, and producer, James Hill are new parents – about “A Frozen Tale”, a narrative that brings to life the people who allowed the privileged to live a life of luxury and leisure at Skokloster Slott. This majestic 17th Century castle was built in the Swedish Age of Greatness and is known as one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture. It also houses the largest private art collection in Europe and some of these works feature in Sinclair’s photomontages. 

In “A Frozen Tale” Sinclair has created a cast of characters to convey what daily life may have been like 300 years ago in this castle, which is built within a network of lakes upon perpetually frozen ground. Skokloster Slott lies next to Lake Mälaren, 80km from Stockholm, and its contents have been ‘frozen in time,’ untouched for more than three centuries.

In creating her vision for “A Frozen Tale” Sinclair started by researching those important historical figures who had visited the castle over its lifetime, but the more she delved the more she became intrigued with those who worked in the castle. Creating fantasy characters allowed Sinclair to bring together a narrative on what she imagined Skokloster Slott was like when filled with life.

“I like to produce narrative pieces,” says Sinclair who draws inspiration from the paintings of particular periods of history. “Artists really did do so much exploration into the common person and the everyday life and so many paintings of this period are of people engaged in daily activities and that’s what I got swept up in.” 

All images (C) Alexia Sinclair
It took Sinclair three months to organise the initial shoot, which was done on a shoestring budget with many volunteers. She put out calls on social media for assistants, and for models of all shapes and sizes including a mother and newborn for her image featuring the wet nurse. Once her team of 40 was assembled Sinclair and Hill went through the process of finding sponsors for the gear they needed, as carting it from Australia was too expensive. Profoto and PhaseOne came on board, and armed with suitcases full of costumes that Sinclair had made, the pair headed to Sweden.

“Skokloster Slott is called ‘a cabinet of curiosities inside a cabinet of curiosities’ that is how it is described in the period because every room is so uniquely different to the next and every room tells an entirely different story,” explains Sinclair. “I had planned to use certain rooms based on my research, but when I got there I discovered they’d moved tapestries over the years from those rooms, or they were closed, so there was so much thinking on my toes and decisions made in minutes,” she concludes.

Exhibition prints are sponsored by Canson.

“A Frozen Tale”
Until 16 February, 2014
Queensland Centre for Photography
Cnr. Cordelia and Russell Streets, South Brisbane

Click here for more work by Alexia Sinclair 

Photo Essay:
Amos Chapple – Yakutsk The Coldest City on Earth

Amos Chapple's photographs from the world's coldest city Yakutsk continues this blog's "frozen" theme, which began in December with Elena Chernyshova's amazing photo essay on Norilsk in far north Siberia.

All images (C) Amos Chapple

A New Zealander Chapple was one of the photographers to work on the project to document all of UNESCO's world heritage sites globally (2006-2010) and has photographed in more than 60 countries.

Book Review:
Nathan Benn’s Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972-1990

(C) Nathan Benn

In this recently released book by former National Geographic photographer Nathan Benn, images that were considered pedestrian at the time they were shot, now take on historical significance as they capture an America that has virtually disappeared.

Benn’s appreciation for the role of rich, saturated colour in storytelling is a feature of the book and within the pages of “Kodachrome Memory” we find idiosyncratic America..." To read the full review click on the Book Reviews link at the top of the blog or here.

Unpublished Photographs:
Tim Page Unseen
Lanka Redux

(C) Tim Page

Tim Page is back this week with a new installment for his unpublished series, Tim Page Unseen, which is exclusive to Photojournalism Now. "Lanka Redux," says Page, was “a spiritual resurrection both for myself and my photography. It became a rich re-awakening after a decade of recovery and rehab from the disasters of war...” To read his entertaining recollection of his time in Sri Lanka click on the tab above Tim Page Unseen, or here.

Majid Saeedi - Life is War

This week Iranian photographer Majid Saeedi became the third recipient of the Lucas Dolega Award*. Saeedi has covered the Afghanistan conflict for more than a decade. But his interest in Afghanistan and its people extends beyond the news headlines and since 2009 Saeedi has lived amongst that country's inhabitants to tell the story of daily life in a war zone.

At Visa pour l’Image last year I spoke to Saeedi about the thinking behind his images, which formed the exhibition Life in War, and featured in the Festival’s core program.

Majid Saeedi at Visa pour l'Image 2013
(C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

“I wanted to get closer to the normal people of Afghanistan, to live with them, eat with them and talk to them. To tell their stories, which have become part of my life also,” says Saeedi. “A lot of us sit at home and don’t even know our neighbours. As a photographer I believe it is my responsibility to show how other people live their lives”.

(C) All Images Majid Saeedi

In 2013 Saeedi took second place in the World Press Photo editorial awards adding to a long list of international awards including being named Photographer of the Year in Iran seven times. But industry accolades don’t impress Saeedi as much as the reactions of those who attend his exhibition.

“For me the most important thing is to show the daily life of Afghanistan. Last year I won a World Press Photo award, but I wasn’t as happy then as I was when I saw my exhibition and how the audience is affected by my images. The reactions of their faces…that made me the happiest.”

Saeedi says he enjoys the exhibition format as it enables him to show a number of images at one time and communicate a more complete story to the viewer as opposed to one or two photographs in a news context. “The images we see in the news are part of a bigger story. I hope those who visit my exhibition gain some understanding of the reality of life in Afghanistan through this collection of photographs”.

To see more of his work click here.

* Now in its third year the Lucas Dolega Award carries a prize of 10,000 Euros, an exhibition in Paris and publication in various magazines. Applicants are required to “present a report on the coverage of any event relevant to the defense of freedoms and democracy, a conflict (civil or military wars, riots, attacks or public demonstrations…), a revolution, a natural or sanitary disaster, and/or their consequences on civil populations”.

Worth Reading:
Fellow L'Oeil de la Photographie correspondent and blogger Elisabeth Avedon has written a tremendous article from her interview with the founder and editor-in-chief of L'Oeil de la Photographie Jean-Jacques Naudet.  Read it here and if you can please support L'Oeil in its bid to raise funds in order to continue to bring you the latest news and views in the complex, exciting and vast world of photography. Click here for more details. 

January 17, 2014

Friday Round Up - The First for 2014

Welcome to the first Friday Round Up for 2014. As I write today’s blog it is 42.7 degrees Celsius (108.8 Fahrenheit) in Melbourne, and is the fourth consecutive day of its kind. The lights are off in my studio and a sole fan brings some relief before tonight’s anticipated cool change. Melbourne is known for its erratic weather – “four seasons in one day”  – and tomorrow’s expected top temperature will be 20 degrees cooler! But it is for all its idiosyncrasies that I love this city.

Hot Skies Over Melbourne (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor 2014

This year Friday Round Up will continue to bring readers articles and commentary on the ever-evolving world of photojournalism. The content on Photojournalism Now aims to canvass the breadth of the genre where news, documentary and social commentary come together. This blog allows me to share my experiences, and my knowledge, of the fields of journalism and photography by presenting content that is founded on a deep understanding of photojournalism’s place in the contemporary world.

On Photojournalism Now you will find profiles on established, new and emerging photographers, discover work that few have seen, fall in love with books you'll have to add to your shelves, and have the opportunity to enter the debate on the future of photojournalism. 

Again, welcome to Friday Round Up and thanks for reading. Here's to a harmonious 2014.

Alison Stieven-Taylor

James Whitlow Delano – Black Tsunami

American photographer James Whitlow Delano was in Rome, Italy the day the tsunami devastated his adopted homeland of Japan on 11 March, 2011. Oblivious to what had transpired, he called his wife to say he was excited about coming home. “Haven’t you heard what’s happened?” she replied. With disbelief he sat in front of a computer screen in an Internet café at Rome’s Termini station and watched as the horror unfolded...CLICK HERE or on the tab above "Book Reviews" to read full story and see more photographs. 

(C) James Whitlow Delano

Black Eye - Summer Show

Sandy Edwards, who is a respected photographic art curator and founder of Arthere in Sydney, is behind the Summer Show currently at Black Eye Gallery in Sydney's Darlinghurst. Edwards has brought together an impressive, and expansive, collection of works from an equally diverse group of 24 photographic artists. Edwards says in her curator’s statement, “The theme for this exhibition evolved naturally into ‘Summer’ itself. I took a very broad view of interpretation on that theme. Summer is not all sweetness and light”.

(C) Peter Solness

(C) Toby Burrows

(C) Sally McInerney 

(C) Rachel Mounsey

(C) Tom Evangelidis

(C) Julie William

(C) Tamara Voninski

Summer Show artists:
Luke Hardy
Sally Mc Inerney
Daniel Thompson
Zorica Purlija
Ian Provest
Paul Blackmore
Darren Harris
Godelieve Mols
Jill Carter Hansen
Lynn Smith
Chris Round
Ryan Kenny
Niki Gudex
Julie Williams
Tamara Voninski
Toby Burrows
Anke Stacker
Tom Evangelidis
Heather Dinas
Sean Izzard
Peter Solness
Patricia Casey
Alethia Casey
Rachel Mounsey

Until 2 February 2014
Black Eye Gallery
3/138 Darlinghurst Rd,

QCP at photo l.a.
Despite the funding cuts that Queensland Centre for Photography (QCP) has suffered at the hands of that state’s government, this not-for-profit, artists-focused organisation is once again exhibiting at the International Photographic Art Exposition (photo l.a.), which is now in its 23rd year.

QCP claims its showcase is the largest collection of contemporary Australian photography “to reach America”. The collection features “14 of Australia’s most innovative photo-media artists” as named by QCP and are listed below. 

Marian Drew
Michael Cook
Catherine Nelson
Polixeni Papapetrou
Mark Kimber
Deborah Paauwe
Cherine Fahd
Kim Demuth
Justine Khamara
Anne Ferran
Henri van Noordenburg
Sonia Payes
Ward Roberts
Alberto Sanchez Peinadorwith guest artist Graham Howe, who is also a highly regarded arts curator and consultant

(C) Henri van Noordenburg

(C) Justine Khamara

(C) Sonia Payes

(C) Ward Roberts

QCP at photo l.a.
Until 19 January at L.A. Mart
For more information contact QCP www.qcp.org.au

L’Oeil de la Photographie - New Stories
Alison Stieven-Taylor's review of Steve McCurry's Untold can be read here on L'Oeil de la Photographie

New Pro Photo out now

The summer edition, a bumper issue, of Pro Photo magazine is out now.This issue features Alison Stieven-Taylor’s report Focus on Photography: The Netherlands and her review of the 25th Anniversary of Visa pour l’Image.