Oliver Lang is a photographer who has used a mobile phone camera for several years. In 2011 he was a founding member of the Mobile Photo Group and organised an exhibition of Australian mobile photography as part of the Head On Photo Festival. In 2012 he was invited to teach mobile photography courses at the Australian Centre for Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and also volunteered to teach at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence as part of the Photolines Program. Oliver is interested in the rise of participatory photography and the innovations that the connected culture of mobile photography is driving. He believes that more than ever before, photography is about community and culture, rather than the camera.
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.
David Favrod lives and works in Switzerland. He is a graduate of École cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL) with a master's degree in art direction and a bachelor's degree in photography. Other than winning the Aperture Portfolio Prize, Favrod has also been included in reGeneration2, a book and touring exhibition showcasing emerging photographers. His work has been shown in solo and group shows around the world.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, unveiled their survey of war photography, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, on Armistice Day yesterday. The FT Weekend magazine featured some of the work from the exhibition in their latest issue. You can view the FT article and slideshow here. You can also read about the show over at Photo District News, which interviewed the exhibition’s curators.
Below war in Iraq photograph from 2003 by Yuri Kozyrev, which FT Weekend ran as a double truck.
Yuri Kozyrev (Russian, b. 1963) is a member of Noor Images and a contract photographer with Time magazine.
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 Flakphoto, Lenscratch 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!
Sylvain Granjon has just opened an exhibition at Galeria Tagomago that will travel to both gallery locations in Barcelona and Paris. The exhibit runs throught October 20th in Barcelona and moves to Paris from November 15th-18th.
I come from the entertainment world. I have been an entertainer for 20 years. I would say I’m an eccentric more than a clown.
All images © Chloe Borkett
Says Borkett: “The young are deeply proud to be Russian but are starting to question the tiny Republic’s success and the implications on their futures. International trade is restricted; jobs and opportunities are limited and on-going difficulties with obtaining expensive visas, limits economic migration.”
Borkett’s strength is in her beautiful use of colour to convey a sense of the story without either artistic indulgence or hard, objective, journalistic tactics.
Born in 1978, she graduated with a degree in documentary photography from the University of Wales, Newport and is now based in London. She has been involved in various exhibitions including the Ian Parry exhibition in 2011. She continues to pursue projects concerning social issues with a focus on human rights.To view more work from this series click here.