Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Archipelago

Shot over a period of 60 years by Finnish photographers C-G Hagstrom and Per Olov Jansson, the subject’s brother, this exhibition of rare photographs is a treat revealing the author and artist’s life on her private ‘angry island’.  The exhibition is an ICA Touring show presented by The Potteries Museum until 20 September 2015.

The exhibition focusses on Tove Jansson’s private life on her own remote island in the archipeiago of Finland.  There she regular spent her summers with her partner, also an artist, hiding and living a very simple lifestyle.   The photographs show a very barren, harsh and basic existence, one dependent on firewood and freshwater, and yet the simplicity brought intimacy, fun and inspiration.  It is clear that the way she lived there influenced her writing and artwork.  The photographs are presented alongside books, including first editions and her wonderful Moomins creations.Tove4


Arles 2015

This year Arles had no overall theme, instead it was 35 exhibitions that suggested relationships, allowed identifications and encouraged audiences to discover and follow the developments in contemporary and historical photography.  The festival this year provided a unique celebration and exchange of photography and promoted artistic practices.  It took the essence of what a festival is; a multiform, public, risky, artistic dialogue that communicates, facilitates and expands experiences.

Exhibitions continue to be curated in the most wonderful spaces from churches, museums, palaces and hotels to industrial and derelict buildings.  As if to reaffirm its place at the very centre of photography internationally, and as one of the most important events in the global calendar, exhibitions revisited some of the most important practitioners from the history of photography, provided new opportunities for the most exciting emerging photographers and invited world class curators to participate including Simon Baker, David Campany, Martin Parr and Sam Stourdze.

Highlights for me included Walker Evans ‘Anonymous’ which focussed on his little known and seen print work, in particular Labor Anonymous (Fortune) and Rapid Transit (The Cambridge Review); the first European retrospective of Stephen Shore which included work from his American Surfaces and Uncommon Places series; Olivier Cablat’s Duck, A Theory of Evolution, Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti’s The Heavens, Annual Report and Natasha Caruana’s Love at First Sight.

For more information

Walker Evans, Anonymous exhibition
Walker Evans, Anonymous exhibition
Walker Evans, Anonymous exhibition
Walker Evans, Anonymous exhibition


Olivier Cablat, Duck, A Theory of Evolution


Paolo Woods & Gabriele Galimberti, The Heavens, Annual Report


Paolo Woods & Gabriele Galimberti, The Heavens, Annual Report



Album 31; Sophy Rickett and Bettina von Zwehl

Album 31 album page from the exhibition
Album 31, Sophy Rickett and Bettina von Zwehl

During 2012 artists Sophy Rickett and Bettina von Zwehl were commissioned to develop new work in response to the Sir Benjamin Stone Collection at the Library of Birmingham.  The artists decided to focus upon one album in particular, a miscellaneous album which did not follow Stone’s usual rules of classification, known as Album 31.

The first outcome, which included the production and exhibition of 11 Album Pages, was exhibited at the Library of Birmingham during Spring 2014.   Following the positive reviews and reception the project was extended and new support and partners sought to create a major exhibition opportunity and an international outcome.

In 2015 the new exhibition of Album 31 was shown at the Library of Birmingham Gallery and at Ffoto Galleriet, Oslo, Norway.   The exhibition of new work by Rickett and von Zwehl was befitting of the Stone album where images were collated apparently at random, as if the ‘rules’ that applied to the rest of the collection were temporarily waived, so that subject matters, processes, time frames and approaches co-existed, creating a kind of chaotic spontaneity full of poetry, humour, and also some darkness.

A review of the exhibition can be found at This is Tomorrow

Third Degree; Mat Collishaw

Third Degree, Mat Collishaw


In 2013 Mat Collishaw was invited to create a limited edition as a Grain, New Art Gallery Walsall and Library of Birmingham co-commission.   The print is available to purchase at a special price.  Visit for more information.

Collishaw makes alluring, poetic and shocking work with a visual language that embraces diverse media.  Themes and subjects from histories and religion are explored, often the darker side of nature and human character, and yet the work is beautiful and awe-inspiring.   He is interested in the history of photography, in its subjects, techniques and machinery and often references histories in his work, in particular the Victorian period.