Tag Archives: London

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.


Portfolio Reviews – Photomonth at the Museum of Childhood with Citizen Skwith, Daniel Alexander and Dougie Wallace


Photos above © Citizen Skwith, Petting Zoo

The same day as the Tri-pod show PV took place at the Phoenix Brighton, I did a day of portfolio reviews at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green for Photomonth. It’s the fourth year that I’ve done this and I’m always happy to be invited back.

I never know what to expect from the people I see and there are always some surprises, such as Citizen Skwith‘s clever signs and wonderful sense of humour (see photos above). Plus, reviewers get paid which is not always the case.

I’m posting a few iPhone photos from Photomonth’s recent portfolio reviews of some of the work that I came across, although I didn’t record all of it. If you were there and want to let people know about your work, post a comment with a link to your website/work.

So, in no particular order, here are a few projects that I saw. More from the reviews to come in another post later next week.

DANIEL ALEXANDER
Daniel Alexander says of 1day6cities project. “Today it is exactly a year on from  11.11.11 when the films were all shot. The project is also being exhibited at Oxford House until the end of this month.” This gives you all time to see it before it comes down.

1DAY6CITIES from 1day6cities on Vimeo.

“1DAY6CITIES is a global photography project that took place on the 11th November 2011 – 11.11.11, in London, Dubai, Shanghai, Auckland, San Francisco and São Paulo. Using word of mouth, email and social networks we put together an international team of photographers to create a unique twenty-four hour snapshot of this day across six very different cities around the globe. At exactly 00.00 Coordinated Universal Time (world time/GMT) photographers in each of these cities captured their first image in an event that saw photographs being taken every 30 seconds for the following 24 hours.

“The brief was for the photographers to shoot the most interesting thing happening in their city, at the time they had chosen to shoot. The cities were chosen because they are roughly an equal time difference apart meaning the films show the sun travelling around the earth through the course of the day.” The edited film is shown above and the edited stills can be seen on the 1day6cities website. There is a full list of the contributors on the website.

DOUGIE WALLACE
Dougie Wallace arrives wearing a pale blue/grey and black ensemble and carrying his colour coordinated portfolio. He smells of fish. Well, his breath does, on account of the fish pie he ate for lunch. He shows me his work, see Mumbai Rickshaw drivers shot and the Stags, Hens and Bunnies (working title) project, which is near to completion, and documents the day and night antics of hen nights and stag parties in the north.

There’s more than a hint of the Carry On about the subjects of some of these shots – all of which are well observed and captured with a wry sense of the absurd. Referring to himself as ‘The Martin Parr of the Facebook’ generation, take a look for yourself…

CITIZEN SKWITH
Citizen Skwith uses photography to document the signs that he makes and places in public places. Subverting and playing with the language of warning signs, Citizen Skwith’s works are a clever form of street art made available for everyone to enjoy. His website features all of his work and is well worth a look. I’ve already ordered the time traveller Blue Plaque for my hallway.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Festivals, street art, Visual Artists Tagged: 1day6cities, Citizen Skwith, Daniel Alexander, documentary photography, Dougie Wallace, Hens and Bunnies, london, Museum of Childhood, Petting Zoo, photomonth, portfolio reviews, Stags, stop motion, street art

Photo Stroll – Press preview Tom Wood Men & Women and Shoot! Existential Photography open at The Photographers’ Gallery London

Today, a whirlwind Photo Stroll tour through the press preview today of two photo shows, Tom Wood’s photo show Men & Women, and the shoot-themed collection of photos Shoot! Existential Photography. Both exhibitions open tomorrow at The Photographers’ Gallery in London and run until 6 January. So there’s plenty of time to take a stroll.

These shows combine a diverse range of visual genres and the tenderness of Wood’s beautifully articulated moments offsets the drama of the shoot imagery, such as Christian Marclay’s Crossfire and the various images of gun-toting women, including Fire at Will documenting Niki de Saint Phalle’s ‘shooting paintings’ created in the early 1960s. For those who fancy themselves as the fastest draw in the West (End), there’s even a shooting alley where, if you hit the bulls eye or the surrounding ring (see my attempt, last photo), the camera is triggered and Bingo, you get a photo of you shooting. For more on Men & Women, see earlier post on Tom Wood.
All iPhone photos © Miranda Gavin, 2012.

Click to view slideshow.

Click link to view the gallery images from the slide show…

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Filed under: Photo Stroll, Photographers, Photography Books, Photography Shows Tagged: Christian Marclay, Crossfire, Erik Kessels, Fire at Will, london, Men & Women, Niki de Saint Phalle, Shoot! Existential Photography, The Photographers’ Gallery, Tom Wood

Pictures of the Week: September 21 – 28

Phone Cable Internet .

From the NFL touchdown controversy in the U.S. News submission . and Israelis observing Yom Kippur to China’s first aircraft carrier and surfing with dolphins in Australia, TIME presents the best images of the week.

Photo Show – First major UK exhibition of work by Tom Wood to open at The Photographers’ Gallery London

© Tom Wood, Seacombe Ferry 1985, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

© Tom Wood, Ladies Toilet Attendant 1985, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

The first major UK show of Irish-born photographer Tom Wood Men and Women opens at The Photographers’ Gallery on 12 October and runs until 6 January. Wood continuously recorded the everyday lives of the people of Liverpool and the Merseyside area from 1973 until the early 2000s, working in both black and white and later in colour. The exhibition will showcase over sixty previously unpublished portraits as well as a selection of vintage prints and book dummies of his now out-of-print publications Looking for Love (1989), All Zones off Peak (1998) and Photieman (2005).

“Editing from long-term and previously unseen bodies of work, such as the Football Grounds, Shipyard and Docks and Women’s Market, Tom Wood has re-evaluated these images through a creative collaboration with artist Padraig Timoney. Grouping the images in a non-chronological order under the headings Men and Women, the exhibition will showcase a curated selection of these photographs,soon to be published as two separate books by Steidl. The installation of the photographs will reflect the sequencing of the books mixing the different formats, styles and processes. This arrangement will highlight the formal correspondences and relationships between pictures as well as Wood’s prolonged involvement with his subject matter.

“His photographs include both candid and posed portraits of people alone or in groups. Images of strangers are interspersed with those of friends and family and are often made from repeated engagements with particular locales.

© Tom Wood, Maryhill 1974, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

“Trust and empathy are both key elements in Wood’s practice and his photographs are the result of considered observation, offering affirmative responses to moments from the lives of those he pictures.” From the press release.

© Tom Wood, Old Man on bench, Graffiti tiles 1985, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

Men and Women is a collaboration with the National Media Museum, Bradford. It is curated by Stefanie Braun, Senior Curator, The Photographers’ Gallery and Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum.

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Portraiture Tagged: documentary photography, Liverpool, london, Men and Women, Merseyside, Padraig Timoney, The Photographers’ Gallery, Tom Wood

Photo Show – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 images of deep space and beyond on show at the Royal Observatory London

People and Space winner: Venus-Jupiter Close Conjunction by Laurent Laveder (France)

What the photographer says: ‘In this image Venus is higher and on the right of Jupiter. I take my place in the lower right corner of the frame to complete the diagonal formed by me, the two planets, the Pleiades and Taurus. With my red flashlight on my head, I illuminate the beach. At low tide, the sand is wet and is reflecting the blockhaus.’ Taken with Canon 5D Mark II camera; Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/2.0; ISO 3200; 8-second exposure

How could anyone resist posting on the winning images in Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 competition? Not only are the images beautiful, in the deep sense of the word, but they are also a reminder, at least for me, of our place in an infinite universe. I have seen photos that depict scenes that seem to recall the sheer magnificence of the skies at night but nothing, nothing, comes close to the reality. These images are, for me, sublime in the true sense of the word.

Overall and Deep Space winner: M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy by Martin Pugh (UK/Australia)

What the photographer says: ‘I was always going to be excited about this image given the exceptional seeing conditions M51 was photographed under and the addition of several hours of Ha data has really boosted the HII regions.’ Taken with Planewave 17-inch CDK telescope; Software Bisque Paramount ME mount; Apogee U16M camera.

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012. Pleiades Cluster by Jacob von Chorus (Canada), aged 15

What the photographer says: ‘This image was a test to see what would happen with such a long exposure. It was taken near dusk, with only two frames and an hour of exposure. This image has since become one of my best.’ Taken with Sky Watcher Equinox 80ED telescope; Celestron CG-5 mount; f/6.25 lens; Stock Canon 100D camera; ISO 800; 30-minute exposure

So, on a sunny Sunday morning as I’m sitting in a kitchen in Prague, I want to share these other worldly delights. The competition is now in in its fourth year and there were over 800 entries from astronomers and astrophotographers from around the world as well as from young astronomers.

“As a centre for science education and communication, the team at the Royal Observatory are keen to encourage an interest in astronomy at a young age to embed a life-long interest in the subject.” With the help of Sky at Night Magazine and the photo-sharing website Flickr, entries were submitted in the categories of ‘Earth and Space’, ‘Our Solar System’, ‘Deep Space’ and ‘Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year’ as well as ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘People and Space’ and ‘Robotic Scope’.

The winning images are on show at a free photo exhibition at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, open daily from 10.00-17.00.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Shows Tagged: astronomy, Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012, Greenwich, Jacob von Chorus, Laurent Laveder, london, Martin Pugh, Royal Observatory

Photo News – Laura Noble issues open letter about closure of Diemar/Noble photography gallery and launch of new L A Noble Gallery

Today Laura Noble sent out an open letter to her network about the closing of the Diemar/Noble Gallery, billed as “one of the capital’s top spots for photography” (see below). The word was out and about on twitter where followers commented on the demise of the gallery. However, it’s not all bad news as from the ashes new things – the L A Noble Gallery – are created, so I’m sharing the letter with you all:

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness I write to tell you that, after three amazing years, Diemar/Noble Photography has closed its shutters for the last time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for your support. Without the patronage of clients and visitors, the enthusiasm of the press and the ambition and talent of our artists, we would not have achieved so much in such a short time.

Diemar/Noble was always more to me than a gallery, it was – and remains – a community. If the legacy of the gallery is to leave even a little more passion and excitement for photography in this City, then it is an achievement I will be very proud of.

Without you sharing in the vision, the gallery could never have hoped to become “one of the capital’s top spots for photography” (Time Out) over such a modest time. I hope you can share my pride in all that the gallery has achieved.

My time as Co-Director at Diemar/Noble has been a life affirming one and deepened my love for all things photographic. The opportunity to explore different avenues in the future may have drawn this venture to a close but my commitment to photography remains and the next chapter promises to build on that. My involvement with photography is an on-going and passionate one. I will continue to carry out portfolio reviews and consultations, lectures for photographers and collectors as well as my other writing and curating projects.

Most exciting of all, I have now established the L A Noble Gallery, which I shall be launching at the Unseen art fair in Amsterdam on the 19th of September. The lauraannnoble.com website will also be launched on the same day.

Now looking forward to my next challenge, I am excited to see what the future will hold for myself, the photographers with whom I work and those exciting new talents we have yet to discover.

I do hope that you will stay in touch and join me for future endeavors.

Yours faithfully in gratitude,

Laura Noble

Filed under: Art Galleries Tagged: closing, Diemar/Noble Photography, Laura Noble, london, photo gallery, Unseen art fair

Photo News – John Stezaker wins Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012

John Stezaker (b.1949, UK) has been awarded the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize at a special ceremony in The Photographers’ Gallery on Monday 3 September 2012. The £30,000 award was presented by artist and 2003 winner of the Prize, Juergen Teller. Photos from the award ceremony to come tomorrow as I am working on the fly but wanted to post this asap. I posted on the fly while out and about on Monday evening and it was saved to drafts and not published. So here it is, a little later than planned, but heh – that’s life.

The Prize is awarded to a photographer of any nationality for their significant contribution to the medium of photography either through an exhibition or publication, in Europe between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011. John Stezaker won for his exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (29 January – 18 March 2011).

Stezaker’s collages examine our multifaceted relationship to the image. Through his juxtapositions of found photographs, illustrations and stills taken from books, magazines, vintage postcards and classic movies, Stezaker adopts the content and contexts of the original images to create new and poignant meanings. John Stezaker was chosen by jury members: François Hébel, Director, Les Rencontres d’Arles; Martin Parr, artist; Beatrix Ruf, Director/Curator, Kunsthalle Zürich; and Anne-Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany. The other shortlisted artists for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012, each awarded £3,000, are: Pieter Hugo (b.1976, South Africa) for his publication Permanent Error, published by Prestel (Germany, 2011); Rinko Kawauchi (b.1972, Japan) for her publication Illuminance, published byEditions Xavier Barral (France, 2011); and Christopher Williams (b. 1956, USA) for his exhibition Kapitalistischer Realismus at Dům umění České Budějovice, Budweis, Czech Republic (5 May – 12 June 2011).

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers blogs, Photography Awards & Competitions, Uncategorized Tagged: Deutsche Borse award 2012, John Stezaker, london, Photo award, photo collage, The Photographers’ Gallery