Photography Residency; Sam Ivin, A collaboration with Appetite

Sam Ivin, Sudan from Lingering Ghosts. 2015, Fabrica.
Sam Ivin, Sudan from Lingering Ghosts. 2015, Fabrica.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awarding emerging photographer Sam Ivin to work collaboratively with individuals and community groups in Stoke on Trent, in partnership with Appetite, has enabled a new community archive and new work for exhibition.  Targeting those people that have made their home in the city has enabled a diverse and participatory project with a raft of cultures and stories represented.

Photography is part of these people’s journey; from the places and people they left to their new lives in Stoke-on-Trent.

Ivin will create an archive of photographs and a new work for exhibition.  The archive will tell the participant’s stories of arriving in the city and where their journey started from.  A positive project, Ivin will celebrate commonalities using images from local people’s own photography collections, having them work with these images to present a contemporary archive and a work for exhibition.

The residency will take place between June – September 2017.

During his previous project, Lingering Ghosts, Ivin visited Sanctus St. Mark’s, a refugee support group based in St. Mark’s church in Stoke-on-Trent.  This body of work, commissioned by Fabrica, Treviso, Italy, saw him working with refugees in all parts of the UK.  Since publishing the award winning and critically acclaimed Lingering Ghosts in February 2016 and exhibiting the work around Europe Ivin has become increasingly interested in the integration of migrants in UK cities.

Sam Ivin is a photographer whose work focuses on social issues and the people connected with them. His pictures attempt to demonstrate the impact situations have on his subjects. By documenting their stories and perspectives he hopes to provide a more personal, tangible understanding of them. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport graduating in 2014.  Since then he has been awarded numerous significant photography prizes including the Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers Award, May 2017, The GMC First Prize, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, March 2017, the Best Graduate Single Image, Runner Up,  British Journal of Photography (BJP) Breakthrough Award 2016 and the Winner of Best Single Image, Human Category at Renaissance Photography Prize 2015.

The project is a collaboration between GRAIN Projects and Appetite, supported by Arts Council England and is part of the Creative People and Places Programme.

The State of Photography Symposium II

Photographers Edgar Martin and Andrew Jackson at the symposium
Photographers Edgar Martin and Andrew Jackson at the symposium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curating and producing The State of Photography symposium, held in 2017, provided an opportunity to explore, debate and review how photographers and photography practice develops and responds in our current challenging times.

Acclaimed and outstanding photographers and artists who document the world around us were invited to showcase their recent work. Each have different approaches to making their work.  They have been artist, story teller, observer, participant, explorer and poet. Their work has been made through collaboration, participation, community engagement, research and obstinacy.

During the Symposium we heard from the perspective of the photographer, curator and academic. They shared our concerns about the present and offered a diverse range of practices, experiences and stories that document the state of humanity and the world today.  The documentary role of photography is changing, particularly as work is commissioned and made for gallery settings. Photography can impart the greatest truth of our times and sheds light on injustices, inequality and other aspects of our society. It has been and remains one of the strongest vehicles for change as photographers explore polities, gender, society, sexuality, diversity, economics and environment. It seems today – a time of political unrest, flux and crisis – more essential than ever to explore the role that photography can play.

Speakers included celebrated photographers, curators and academics, those that create self-initiated projects and commissioned bodies of work;  Andrew Jackson, Anthony Luvera, Camilla Brown, Edgar Martins, John Hillman, Kajal Nisha Patel, Michelle Sank and Simon Constantine.

Sacred Things; Liz Hingley

Liz Hingley, Dressing for mosque, Soho road, 2009 from the series Under Gods
Liz Hingley, Dressing for mosque, Soho road, 2009 from the series Under Gods

Commissioned to make new work for an installation at The Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley is collaborating with Syrian families to produce portraits that introduce them as individuals to the city and its people.   Through workshops the participants are working with Liz to explore the Herbert Art Gallery’s collections to learn more about the people who have settled in Coventry throughout history and made it the culturally rich place it is today.

Following a series of collaborative workshops and conversations the new work will result in a unique installation that reflects on the value and meaning of ‘things’ as well as personal experiences and cultural concepts of beauty.

‘Sacred Things’ sets to challenge our consumer society in a world where the divide between those who have and those who don’t have is widening and more and more people are being uprooted, leaving possessions behind and setting up home in alien environments.

The installation is due to open at The Herbert Museum & Art Gallery in December 2017.

This project was commissioned by GRAIN Projects and is generously supported by Arts Council England, Rubery Owen Trust, Coventry University and The Herbert Art Gallery.

 

 

Idris Khan: A World Within

This major survey exhibition of Idris Khan’s work at The New Art Gallery Walsall features many of his significant bodies of work drawing from his range of interests from classical music to religion.  Khan works with photography, sculpture, film, painting and installation adding layers upon layers to conceal and reveal.

Idris Khan
Idris Khan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as his earliest work White Court (2001), a photograph of a squash court taken at his former primary school in Walsall where his mother use to play, there are new sculptural works, seen for the first time.    The exhibition is a quiet, sublime, sensitive and immaculate monochrome display.

Idris Khan
Idris Khan

The Fireside and the Sanctuary: A Collaboration with Mark Wright at Format International Photography Festival

Mark Wright
Mark Wright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working in collaboration with photographer Mark Wright to present his ongoing project at Format International Photography Festival 2017 and to commission new writing by Gemma Padley and Simon Constantine in the form of a new exhibition and publication.

The work is made with the communities affected by fracking decisions in northern England.  In his work Wright considers the experiences, lifestyles and habitats of the communities affected by policy decisions that will impact on the landscape and their way of life.  Wright has spent time with these communities working on interviews and photography.  Village, rural and agricultural communities are the most obviously affected by national government policies relating to the new gas drilling procedures by giant, global chemical companies.

Mark Wright

Wright’s practice is based upon in-depth research, written material and absorbing himself in a landscape or community.  In the new work fracking is clearly seen, not as a ‘local’ problem but one that gravitates around a central place and a collection of people.  The environmental and social concerns are universal and relevant to all of us.  In his work Wright makes the issues identifiable rather than literal or geographically specific.

 

 

Evolution Explored; A Magnum Photos Exhibition

Stuart Franklin, The Natural History Galleries of the Horniman Museum in London. 1993.  Magnum Photos
Stuart Franklin, The Natural History Galleries of the Horniman Museum in London. 1993. Magnum Photos 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution Explored is an exhibition of works curated from the Magnum Photos archive and presented in the public realm in Shrewsbury, from February – April 2017.   The project is a Grain Projects collaboration with Shrewsbury Business Improvement District and The Hive Arts Centre.Acclaimed photography agency Magnum Photos have worked in collaboration to curate an exhibition of stunning photographs made internationally by the world’s leading photographers.

The exhibition will be on show at two locations. The event coincides with International Darwin Day and Darwin’s birthday on 12th February.

The exhibition also links to Magnum Photos’ 70th anniversary which is to be marked by a series of international events, projects and partnerships.

Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative owned by its photographer members. Noted for its diverse and distinctive work, Magnum chronicles the world and interprets its people, events, issues and personalities. It was founded in 1947 by four pioneers, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour.

Paris Photo 2016

Paris Photo, in its 20th anniversary year, was an inspiring, mesmerising and hectic celebration of all things photography.   It was wonderful to experience the fair and all the participating events, galleries and museums around the city in such a vibrant atmosphere after the horrific attacks and tragedy of last year.

The fair included over 180 galleries and publishers in the most beautiful of spaces, the Grand Palais.  On entering one is in no doubt that one is at the largest, most prestigious and important photography fair internationally.  Amongst my favourite galleries Gagosian, Flowers, Purdy Hicks, Hamiltons and East Wing stood out.   The fair showcased work by the most established galleries and masters of photography as well as smaller and more emerging galleries and photographers.  Walking and negotiating yourself through the very busy isles and stumbling across photographs by Cecil Beaton, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Weegee and Sally Mann, to name but a few, was such a treat.   The fair was a hotbed of the very best in photography old and new.

Paris Photo 2017

Paris Photo 2016

 

 

As well as the commercial galleries Paris Photo offers so much more and ‘The Pencil of Culture’ exhibition was a highlight.   The exhibition included 100 remarkable works drawn from the Centre Pompidou designed to tell the story of its acquisitions.  The institution has over 400,000 prints in its collections, one of the most important photography centres in the world.  Andreas Gursky, Sherrie Levine, August Sander and Allan Sekula were amongst those on display.   The title of the exhibition ‘Pencil of Culture’ refers to the progression of photography from Fox Talbot’s Pencil of Nature and remarks on photography’s progression to become an indicator of culture.

The fair, the participating galleries, curated spaces and the photo books space, which was a hive of activity, were a significant reflection on the changes in photography, photography consumption and audience engagement.

On venturing outside the fair and to three of my favourite spaces for photography I visited Le Bal, Jeu De Paume and Maison Europeene de la Photographie, all of which had the most stunning, unique and fascinating exhibitions.

Provoke at Le Bal
Provoke at Le Bal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Le Bal was hosting ‘Provoke’ an exhibition of Japanese photography from the 1960s which took the audience through political and social change and tensions via documentary photography and the back lash from art photography at that time.   The exhibition was dynamic in its curation and mixed media and a feast for the eyes and senses informing us so much about Japanese society at that time.   Jeu De Paume had the equally provocative and extraordinary ‘Uprisings’.  This exhibition asked the audience member, what makes us rise up?  The exhibition explored upheaval, tension, burden, unrest, insurrections and condemnations without scenes of aggression and violence.  Both exhibitions showed people in solidarity through times of conflict and the essential role that photography plays as document and vehicle for change.

Provoke at Le Bal
Provoke at Le Bal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maison Europeenne de la Photographie had five remarkable exhibitions, too many to see in one visit.  Focussing on two solo exhibitions in the museum, the photographs of Andreas Serrano celebrated his portraiture and the way in which he depicts our troubled times through the people he chooses to photograph.  His America series featured portraits of Ku Klux Klan members, beauty queens and many individuals of post 9/11 American politics and society including Donald Trump.    The series made in his native Cuba were portraits of the beautiful, eccentric and bizaar.    All were contemporary, loud and troubled portraits and yet evocative of the oil paintings of portraits by old masters.    Works from his ‘Sign of the Times’ were also exhibited, a series of large scale portraits of homeless people, also exhibited were their signs as messages for help.

Andreas Serrano at Maison Europeenne de la Photographie
Andres Serrano at Maison Europeenne de la Photographie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andres Serrano at Maison Europeenne de la Photographie
Andres Serrano at Maison Europeenne de la Photographie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In huge contrast was Harry Callahan’s ‘Aix-en-Provence’.   This exhibition featured the photographer’s black and white photographs from the late 1950s when he secured a sabbatical from his teaching at the Institute of Design in Chicago and settled in Provence.   He photographed figures moving through the lights and shadows of the old town reminiscent of a scene from a Hitchcock film.

Harry Callahan at Maison Europeenne de la Photograpraphie
Harry Callahan at Maison Europeenne de la Photograpraphie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris Photo will never disappoint but 2017 was a remarkable year and befitting of an anniversary.

 

 

 

 

Ewen Spencer, Kick Over The Statues, Fabrica

Ewen Spencer’s ‘Kick Over the Statues’ at Fabrica for Brighton Photo Biennial is an energetic, atmospheric, statement exhibition.  Spencer is known for shooting for visually driven style magazines, focusing on youth culture and creating artwork and campaigns for bands such as The Streets and The White Stripes.  The photographer created this work during the summer, along the streets of London’s Notting Hill Carnival, setting out to celebrate the culture, style and subcultures.

Ewen Spencer, Kick Over the Statues
Ewen Spencer, Kick Over the Statues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition is an honest depiction of youth culture and the streets.  Here subculture is in the hands of the young, as they take and reinterpret the youth cultures of the past, re-appropriate, occupy the streets and urban spaces and fill them full of colour, energy and atmosphere.   The space at Fabrica is curated to show the work as a visual, imposing feast, jauntily dominating and creating an unnerving but very enjoyable experience.

 

 

The Dandy Lion Project, Brighton Photo Biennial 2016

The exhibition, hosted by Brighton Photo Biennial at the Brighton University Gallery, seeks to distinguish the historical and contemporary expressions of the Black Dandy phenomenon in popular culture.  This project features portraits of black young men who defy stereotype and our understanding of masculinity within the Black community.  It intersects class, ideology, ethnicity and style.

Black Dandy Lion
Dandy Lion Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The subjects are all black men yet they are diverse in ethnicity.  They are photographed in in city-landscapes across three continents in a mix of Victorian fashions and traditional African fabrics.  The project is not specific to locations or communities and acts as a visual counter argument to what has previously been embraced by the mainstream.  The exhibition provokes and celebrates and is beautifully presented.

Dandy Lion Project
Dandy Lion Project

Peter Kennard Off Message

The Peter Kennard exhibition at mac, Birmingham, entitled ‘Off Message’ is a retrospective featuring works from 1968 – 2016, curated by Craig Ashley.  The works featured are testimony as to why Kennard is considered one of Britain’s most important political artists.

Off Message, mac Birmingham

Off Message, mac Birmingham

 

 

Kennard uses recognisable images, often from the media, works with them to ensure they become powerful, often unacceptable representations of war, politics and the impact of weapons and political decisions.  An image of a broken missile, which can be seen in the exhibition, is perhaps the artists most famous work, a 1980 photo-montage he produced for the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

The exhibition and the work is as relevant today as it was when it was created and many of Kennard’s recent collaborations, including with Banksy, further evidence his relevance today.

Off Message, mac Birmingham
Off Message, mac Birmingham