Tag Archives: Curator

Romka magazine: a collective photo-album

Romka magazine, Issue #7

I wrote about Romka magazine over on the eyecurious Tumblr some time ago, but I will confess to never having picked up a paper copy before, so the latest issue (#7) is the first I have been able to flick through. The conceit is a simple one, “favorite pictures and the stories that lie behind them” by pros and amateurs alike. No book reviews, no interviews, no ads… no excess fat. The result is a kind of crowd-sourced collective photo-album, which makes it sound terrible when it is really quite good. Romka simply does what it says on the tin: it presents a series of single images by photographers (that might be Roger Ballen or it might be Sachi “the builder who lives in a pink house in New Orleans”), each accompanied by a short text explaining what that image means to them. It is a very simple recipe, and like many simple recipes it is hard to get right, but when it works it is rather delicious. Although it follows a fairly strict formula it doesn’t feel formulaic because of its democratic, all-inclusive approach to images and because it helps to reveal some of the myriad reasons why photographs matter so much to people. This simple formula also makes it refreshingly different to most other photography magazines out there.

I have done a lot of wondering (to myself and sometimes out loud) about whether the photo album has become irrelevant today given the changes in the way that we make and look at photographs… Romka makes me think that there is life in it yet.

Romka magazine, Issue #7

Romka magazine, Issue #7

Romka magazine, Issue #7, November 2012, edition of 1,500.


Light from the Middle East

The Middle East, a sprawling and nuanced geographic mass that is home to many cultures and traditions, is often seen through the lens of politics. The Victoria & Albert Museums latest photography exhibition, however, manages to transcend this overarching narrative, producing a show that focuses on the subject of contemporary photographic practice.

As the exhibition’s curator Marta Weiss acknowledges, until now, the V & A Museums collection of photographs from the region reflected the Eurocentric term itself: Most of the photographs that we have that relate to the region were made by westerners, she says. This exhibition marks a departure from that, recognizing instead the wealth and variety of photo-making from this diverse region. This is very much an exhibition that is not about outsiders, but rather a view of the Middle East from the Middle East.”

Spanning over three decades and encompassing the work of some 30 artists and photographers, the show is divided into three parts: recording, re-framing and resisting. The categories, explains Weiss, show how photography is being employed by photographers.

The ambitiousness of the show lies not in its geographic scope, but rather in the drawing together of a diverse group of practitioners who have engaged with the medium in multiple ways.At one end of the spectrum, there is the iconic work of Magnum-photographer Abbas, documenting the unfolding revolution in Iran from 1978-1979 in his series Iran Diary, a precursor to the events attested to recently in the Arab spring. Nermine Hamman focuses on this very subject, photographing young Egyptian soldiers in Tahrir Square. Displayed in the “resistance” section of the exhibition, Hammans digitally altered images remove the soldiers from their immediate surroundings and place them instead among candy-colored mountain scapes and cherry blossoms. Entitled Upekkha (2011), the images have a postcard-like quality, drawing a parallel between the spectacle of Tahrir Square to that of a tourist attraction.

Despite the intention of the curators to shift the emphasis away from the political, Weiss acknowledges there is a lot of politics in the works. Though some of the photographers openly challenge this. Shadi Ghadirians re-staged portraits of Iranian women in the Qajar period (1786-1925) play on the tensions between tradition, modernity and gender. linkwheel . The warm grey theatrical studio photographs feature playful reminders of modernity, including an explorer bicycle and Pepsi can.

The artists on show do not limit themselves to just the Middle East however. Taysir Batnijis series documenting Israeli watchtowers in occupied Palestinian is a clear homage to German artists Bernd and Hillary Bechers iconic typologies of industrial structures in Europe. Yousef Nabil, who once worked with David LaChapelle, also looks to Europe for inspiration, photographing elderly Yemeni men in England. By hand-coloring the portraits in the style of old Egyptian film stills however, Nabil celebrates the rich tradition of Middle Eastern image-making, which, as the exhibition is testament to, is as strong and vibrant as ever.

Light from the Middle East: New Photography is on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from Nov. 13 through April 7, 2013.

Kharunya Paramaguru is based in TIME’s London office.

The Bechers on Display at Paris Photo

The work of the photographic duo Bernd and Hilla Becher is indisputably some of the most important in modern photography. This week, a two-part exhibit at Paris Photo highlights the historical significance of the Bechers, most well known for their “typologies”—uniform, photographic studies of industrial structures such as water towers and blast furnaces.

The first part of the show, Bernd and Hilla Becher—Printed materials 1964-2012, features an extensive collection of rare ephemera related to the Bechers’ work. These objects, including posters, invitations and museum catalogues, were amassed by curator and book dealer Antoine de Beaupré for more than ten years.

“You get an historical overview,” said Beaupré. “and also an evolution of how their work developed over the years, especially in the beginning.”

One highlight of the collection is the magazine Anonyme Skulpturen which was printed in 1969 to accompany an exhibition of the Bechers’ work in Düsseldorf. This work would become a monograph of the same name, published in 1970, which is also featured in the Paris show.

The printed objects collected by Beupré represent the Bechers’ work from 1964 to 1977, while a presentation of their monographs, mounted under plexiglass and affixed to the gallery walls, span from 1970 to the present day.

The second section of the Paris show features a selection of 117 photographs chosen by Hilla Becher (Bernd Becher passed away in 2007) from the 1977 book Zeche Zollern II – Photographs of Bernd & Hilla Becher. Together, these prints, objects and publications are a comprehensive tribute to the Bechers’ long and prolific photographic career.

Antoine de Beaupré is a curator and the founder of the Librairie 213 in Paris.

Bernd and Hilla Becher—Printed materials 1964-2012 is on display at Paris Photo from Nov. 15 to 18.

Trailer Guatephoto Festival 2012

500 Photographers will be showing a projection at the Guatephoto festival. I have carefully selected 20 Photographers to be shown at the [DOT]COM exhibition.
Together with Bart Dykstra (motion design & guitars) I have created a small teaser / trailer for the exhibit, just to get you in the mood.
I will be in Guatemala City between November 7 and 12, so don’t hesitate to say hi if you are in the neighborhood.

Four websites have been asked to create a projection, including FlakphotoLenscratch and FotoVisura.
You can visit the [DOT]COM exhibit between November 7 and 25, 2012, at Avenida Las Américas 16-76, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 to 18h.
For more information on the [DOT]COM exhibit and all the other exhibitions and events at Guatephoto visit: guatephoto.org

Do you want a tailor-made 500 Photographers projection at your photography event or are you interested in creating an exhibition? Do you need a curator or editor for a magazine, book or any other publication? Do not hesitate to contact me. I am also available for lectures and portfolio reviews. Is there any other way you think we can work together, let me know!

I’ll Be Your Mirror curated by Jennifer Shaw

I’ve done a lot of writing and thinking about the idea of photographing family.  Never has the photo landscape been so rich with the genre of looking at family. As participant observers, living along side our subjects, we have to separate reality from artistic interpretation and the results are sometimes humorous, sometimes insightful, and sometimes incredibly poignant.  Even though these stories are personal, they are indeed, universal.  Photographer Phil Toledano has had millions of visitors to his site, Days with My Father, that looks at his father’s journey into dementia–a telling fact that we are hungry for visual stories about those under the same roof.

Curator Jennifer Shaw (dynamo Photo Nola organizer and a photographer in her own right) has just curated an exhibition on family for the HomeSpace Gallery in New Orleans.  I’ll Be Your Mirror, opening October 13th and running through November 8th,  is an exploration of family through the eyes of seven contemporary photographers:Angela Bacon-Kidwell, Laura Burlton, Warren Harold, Aline Smithson, Gordon Stettinius, Phil Toledano and Alison Wells. “All document a creative collaboration between family members and all are bound by a profound intimacy. As fathers, daughters, mothers, sons, these seven brave photographers reveal the beauty, chaos, heartbreak and humor inherent in family relations.”

Jennifer states: When Kevin Kline invited me to curate a show for HomeSpace I decided to use the opportunity to have a conversation about family, a topic both universal and entirely personal. I’ll Be Your Mirror brings together the work of seven photographers I deeply admire. It has been a pleasure and an honor working with each of the contributing artists.

Phil Toledano’s “Days
with My Father
” documents the relationship 
with his aging father over a
three-year period.
Gordon Stettinius’s images of his son Walker growing up capture the chaos and humor
of parenthood, from the perspective of a single father.

Angela Bacon-Kidwell’s
“Daily Sums” narrates one summer‘s worth
 of daily adventures with her son Bleu.

Alison Wells‘ 
“Time Flies” features small
and intimate portraits of her son and twin daughters, rendered in wet-plate
Warren Harold’s “Alternating Weekends” chronicle the post-divorce relationship with his young

Laura Bulrton’s “Chalk
” explore the fleeting moments and dreams of childhood – sometimes
filtered through a Grimm’s-like lens – in a collaborative process with her

Aline Smithson’s “Arrangement in Green and Black:
Portraits of the Photographer’s Mother “ re-imagine Whistler’s Mother in a
series of unlikely costume changes, created in collaboration with her mother.

Diffusion Magazine

A number of years ago, my work was featured on the Plates to Pixels online blog. It was and is, a site that looks  at photography from a different perspective and celebrates a broad range of imagery.  It was there that I was introduced to the curator, Blue Mitchell and over time, I have witnessed the evolution of Blue’s wonderful annual print magazine, Diffusion, that has evolved into a publication that is stellar…

From the first issue to Volume 4, (which was just issued this week), I have seen an amazing explosion of photographers working outside of the digital realm, using historical techniques, new ways to consider the photograph, and new approaches to the medium.  And Mr. Mitchell has been at the forefront of showcasing that explosion celebrating it all in print. To order your copy, go here.

Diffusion comes out once a year–Volume 4 is 95 pages packed with articles, exhibitions, and exposure.  I am thrilled to be a contributing writer in this issue, offering up an interview with the amazing John Chervinsky.  Articles include: Exploring the Muse: Susan Kae Grant, Ken Rosenthal and Polly Chandler by Susan Burnstine,Transient Reflections and Fixed Impressions: Thoughts on the Physical Photograph in a Digital Age by Jeffrey Baker, Abstract Photography by Ryan Nabulsi.

In addition, this issue of Diffusion has featured artists profiled by photographers, a Hand-Crafted Invitational, and a Muse Juried Group Showcase. Indeed a wonderful collection of images and writing that is so worth the annual wait.

As Blue states, “Diffusion took well over a year of contemplation, conversations, considerations, and finally creation. It’s an honor to present a fresh and dynamic look at what I feel represents the current state of unconventional photography. Diffusion is an independent reader and contributor supported annual photography publication. Diffusion strives to spotlight artists pushing the boundaries of traditional photographic processes as well as introducing new and innovative voices through articles, interviews, and image galleries. This volume’s content came about as organically as any other, but I feel we’ve really pushed the boundaries of what we were—and are becoming something entirely new.”

 By design, we’ve moved more into the realm of book-making rather than the traditional magazine periodical format. There are several reasons for this, but most importantly is the nature of what Diffusion is intended to be: a limited edition annual.

The Muse group showcase theme pushed the entire feel and content of this volume. On a personal level, I have been captivated by the concept of the muse ever since my first art history class in college. I have ventured into exploring it in my own work and have found that the illusive muse truly does exist.

 After exploring this theme in our group showcase we discovered not only does it exist for other artists too, but that the muse’s energy is embodied in some very diverse entities.

The other overarching theme that transpire in these pages is that of science: photography as science, and the exploration of physics, chemistry, and cognitive science. This is balanced with a good dose of photo history peppered within the articles PLUS a new section: The Artist’s Hand. I’m excited to include this brand new feature that is focused on photo-based art where the photographer has left some kind of thumbprint behind on the work itself. This section is a balance between the history and description of a process with some exceptional examples of the process being implemented by contemporary photographers.

I truly believe that the work in Volume IV was conceived by alchemists—my hope is that you will find inspiration amongst their creations and perhaps even find the creative echo of your own muse as you explore and adsorb the enchantment hidden within the pages.

—Blue Mitchell

Photo News – 16th Bradford Fellowship Photography scheme calls for applicants for the first time

The Bradford Fellowship in Photography is the Museum’s longest standing cultural partnership…
In every case the scheme has contributed significantly to both the development of the Fellow’s practice and provided a unique opportunity for students in Bradford to interact with significant artists. We are proud of its legacy and excited to announce a call for the 16th Bradford Fellow.”
Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum.

For the first time in its 27-year history the 16th Bradford Fellow in Photography scheme, which includes a £10,000 award, a major exhibition and the opportunity to work with higher education students, has been opened to applications.

To support mid-career photographers in their professional activity and works with the artist and the Fellowship partners to share knowledge and learning about the practice of photography. Specifically, “to enable a photographer/artist to explore their personal artistry and ideas to produce a new body of work”. Also, for the artist to work with students at Bradford College and University of Bradford to give an insight into the artist’s working practice and to encourage the development of the students’ own practice.

3 September. Full details can be found at Bradford Fellowship in Photography.

Applicants should be photographers or artists working with photography, be established in their field and have a history of exhibitions, publications, commercial and/or significant editorial work.

Applicants should have a track record of teaching at FE/HE levels and be fully committed to delivering the teaching aspect of the Fellowship in Bradford.

We welcome collaborative applications and proposed artworks created by individuals or groups of artists. Please note if a collaborative proposal is selected the fee for the project be equally divided between the artists taking part.

Applicants are required to be UK residents.

Submissions should be sent by post only. Include the following information in both digital (on CD) and printed formats. Project proposal (800 words max), technical requirements, project schedule, artist CV, artist statement and any supporting material (written documents). There is an application fee of £15 (cheques only) for each submission. Please make payable to ‘National Media Museum’.

The Bradford Fellowship – a partnership between the National Media Museum, University of Bradford and Bradford College – has previously been based on nominations. This year it’s an open call.

The Fellowship was established in 1985. There have been 15 previous recipients of the Fellowship, including Fay Godwin, Donovan Wylie, Neeta Madahar, Sarah Jones, Paul Graham and Nick Danziger.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Bursaries, Visual Artists Tagged: 16th Fellowship Photography, Bradford, Greg Hobson, National Media Museum, photography bursary

Aperture Anthology Bluelines Arrive!

Aperture Anthology In-A-Bag

The bluelines for our upcoming Aperture Magazine Anthology: The Minor White Years, 19521976 have just been delivered to editorial, expertly packaged and fully portable!

This long-awaited volumepublished on the occasion of Aperture Magazine’s sixtieth anniversarywill provide a selection of the best critical writing from the first twenty-five years of the magazinethe period spanning the tenure of cofounder and editor Minor White.

The texts and visuals in this anthology were selected by Peter C. Bunnell, Whites protg and an early member of the Aperture staff, who went on to become a major force in photography as an influential writer, curator, and professor. linkwheel creation . Several documents from Apertures founders and individual articles are reproduced in facsimile, and the book is enlivened by other distinctive elements, including a portfolio of each cover, and a selection of epigrams and editorials that appeared at the front of each issue. An extensive index of every contributor to the first twenty-five years of the magazine makes this an indispensible resource. Stay tuned for its Fall 2012 release…