Tag Archives: Magnum Photographer

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.


Tearsheet of The Day | Paolo Pellegrin from Cuba for the National Geographic

I already shared a link with a photo to Paolo Pellegrin’s National Geographic feature, Cuba’s New Now, in the last Features and Essays post,but I also want to show how good the opening spread looks in the actual magazine. blog comment . Stunning.

pp. 28-29 National Geographic magazine. November 2012 issue. Caption: A window reflects an image of Fidel Castro in a working-class Havana neighborhood few tourists see. Photo Paolo Pellegrin

Paolo Pellegrin (b.1964. Italy) is a Magnum photographer who lives in Rome and New York City.

Peter van Agtmael Receives the 2012 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography

On Wednesday night, Magnum photographer Peter van Agtmael received the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, joining a legion of photojournalists that includes James Nachtwey, Paolo Pellegrin and Brenda Ann Kenneally. Established in 1978, the W. Eugene Smith Grant is one of the most esteemed in the industry, named after the legendary photographer whose harrowing pictures of World War II gave an unparalleled and poignant view of the human toll of the conflict. In a fitting tribute, the annual grant aims to recognize a photographerwho has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to documenting the human condition in the spirit of Smiths concerned photography and dedicated compassion.

Van Agtmael has done that with his long-term project, Disco Night September 11, which focuses on the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their consequences within the United States. But it was his existing work along with his proposalto show the side of the ongoing wars through Iraqi and Afghan perspectivesthat earned him this years honor. An additional $5,000 fellowship was awarded to photographer Massimo Berruti for The Dusty Path, a combination of works examining victims of drone strikes, missing persons and the fight against militancy in Pakistani classrooms.

At 24the same age as many of the soldiers he would go on to documentvan Agtmael began the project during an embed with Americantroops engaged in heavy fighting around Mosul, Iraq.As an American of the generation shouldering these wars, I feel a strong responsibility to document their cost,” says the photographer, whose lens captured everythingfrom violent firefights and days-long foot patrols to the rehabilitation of those maimed by war.”Over the course of my lifetime, I intend to keep returning to [these conflicts] to create a comprehensive document.

To that end, van Agtmael, now 31, plans to use his grant to capture the other side of the conflictto give face to our ‘enemies’ in the fight. “Im ready to shift my focus to the other side of the war,” he says. “The Iraqis and Afghans that have been most affected remain depersonalized and shadowy in our collective consciousness. We live in a self-absorbed cultureone largely unburdened by memory.

Van Agtmael plans to return to Iraq and Afghanistan to follow these stories, but will also travel to the Middle East and Europe in hopes of documenting their diaspora. He’s timed the conclusion of his project to the American withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014another reminder of the human sacrifice and cost of the war. Heplans to use photographs, video, audio and text to share the entire range of what hes witnessed over the last seven years; still, van Agtmael maintains it’s a small shred of the whole. “Most stories will remain forever anonymous, and I’m very grateful to the W. Eugene Smith Grant for the opportunity to document the stories that would otherwise go unseen,” he says. Ive seen a nasty and primal side of mankind, but its been balanced by enough displays of extraordinary humanity to give me hope.”

The $30,000W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is given once per year along with an additional$5000fellowship to a second recipient. blog comment . LightBox previously featured the work of 2011 Smith Grant Award winner Krisanne Johnson.

High and Low: Jim Goldberg’s Works in Process

Although a photographers process is integral to his/her work, it is often a carefully guarded secret. Most photographers tend to keep the development of their work to themselves, sometimes choosing to seek counsel only from a small circle of trusted friends.

It comes as a surprise, then, to find Magnum photographer Jim Goldbergs reworked sketches, videos and maquettes of his groundbreaking books openly shared online.

For Goldberga photographer whose approach has always been eclectic, evolving, and utilizing other mediums, including textthe very act of sharing these works in progress is an important and formative part of the final product.

Goldberg talked to LightBox about the process of revisiting, sharing and republishing two of his groundbreaking works. Rich and Poor (1977-85) juxtaposes two economic classes through intimate environmental portraits and personal statements written on the prints by the subjects, while Raised by Wolves (1985-95) documents the lives of homeless runaways in San Francisco and Los Angeles through photographs, text, drawings and interviews.

Being a teacher for so long, Ive realized that so much of what you teach students is about learning to respect the importance of process. Watching students grow is interestingand them observing my process helps them see that its not that mysterious of a thing to do. In order to figure this artmaking stuff out, its trial and error and experimentation, and takes some time and hard thinking. Putting work out in many forms and stages is an extension of how I see things. I feel the art process is best served when it invites comments and constructive criticism from people. Its a strategic gesture, too, because the feedback I receive helps me move forward with my ideas, which is what process is aboutto craft and evolve something.

Rich and Poor

I was invited by Steidl to republish Rich and Poor. Up to this point my archive was mostly analog. proveedor factura electrnica . Revisiting Rich and Poor meant that it was time to start digitizing my older work. I started by going through all of my contact sheets and re-editing. My studio ended up scanning a lot of images that were never printed in the original book, which in turn gave me a way to experience my old work with a beginners mind. This got me excited about seeing things I had passed over years before during my original edit. When I originally made the work, I was getting so much positive feedback about how I was using images with text that the stand-alone images fell by the wayside. Or perhaps back then I didnt have the courage to include images that functioned simply as straight photographs.

Revisiting the archive excited me on many levels. The freshness of my youth particularly resonated with me, but it also gave me thirty years of distance to look back at these images. Aside from the overall nostalgic patina, I feel like I was looking at these images with a critical distance for the first time. Im now able to separate my own impulses with the overarching history/context of what was happening in the 70s and 80s.

I also wanted to conceptually tie the past in with the present and so decided to revisit a few of the original subjects and map where they are today. I plan to include this in the new Rich and Poor edition via a small insert of contemporary imagery.

Raised by Wolves

Raised by Wolves has been out of print for some time, which has made it expensive and difficult to findso people are constantly asking me for it. Its also been almost 20 years since the book was published, so I felt it would be a good time to put it back on the table as something to look at again, as well as digitize.

Raised by Wolves was a good ten years of working with the kids; collecting ephemera;and making the exhibition and the book.

Still when it came time for the book and exhibition to be produced, and all the deadlines were mounting, aesthetic choices had to be made quickly as to what would be included and what was to go back into boxes. So there was a lot that hasnt been looked at since.

My studio manager and I started brainstorming on strategies to get the work out there again, and we decided that the best way would be to make something to put up on my website.

So we took a new intern to the studiowho happened to be a production whizzand had him organize and digitize everything. I gave him some guidance and checked in with him often on we had had discovered on that particular day, but for the most part gave him free reign as to what could be explored and organized.

Based on what I was witnessing on the streets, I knew that I needed to record what I was experiencing in ways that just couldnt be done with the camera alone. I have, since the beginning of my career, used text, video, audio, Polaroids, found objects, and ephemera. With Raised by Wolves it was my first attempt to incorporate all these various approaches into one project.

Raised by Wolves,video by Jim Goldberg

The children in Raised by Wolves were living hard liveslives that were leading to nowhere. So now, when I reheard a recording that the intern (Brandon) had found in some box, and I heard the voice of lets say Tweeky Dave, well that added something that would extend to the viewers experience of the project.

Its always good to find things that you havent found before. Im not doing it because I have nothing else to do or because Im old and I may as well go back into my archive. Im going back into my archive with purposeto see what I can reinvent. Im still vibrant and making new work. directory submission . The making of the new work guides how the old work looks.

Beyond Rich and Poor and Raised by Wolves, Goldberg is revisiting and re-imagining other projects from his archive. A previously unpublished series titled Coming and Going is being reworked as a series of Japanese small books. Goldberg is also reevaluating and reworking Open See, the project for which he was given the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2007 and the Duestche Borse Award in 2011. Goldberg plans a new edition that will be more expansive than the original, one that will further explain the complexities of the situationof immigration, being a refugee and being trafficked in a place and time. Working roughs for the proposed book and multimedia sketches for the project again are available online. Goldberg says of his process Its always good to find things that you havent found before and Im going back into my archive with purposeto see what I can reinvent. Im still vibrant and making new work. The making of the new work guides how the old work looks.

Photographer/Artist Jim Goldberg is a member of Magnum Photos and Professor of Art at the California College of Arts and Crafts. He Lives in San Francisco.

Photographing the Clashes in Cairo

Last week, as protests once again raged in the streets of Cairo, Magnum photographer Moises Saman was there. Over three days, he documented the ongoing street battles near his residence in the Garden City area—right around the corner from the American Embassy and Tahrir Square.

With rocks and tear-gas canisters flying through the air, Saman understood that he only had a small window of time to work.

“If you’re putting yourself right in the middle, eventually you’ll get hit,” he said. “You have to work fast.”

Taking cover behind a burnt car, Saman photographed protestors in the streets early on the morning of Sept. 14th. It was there that he shot the photograph featured as the opening Worldview spread in this week’s issue of TIME. Police and protestors had clashed throughout the night, following a string of unrest earlier in the day that had resulted in the attack of the American Embassy. Arriving at the protests, Saman found a varied scene.

“It was around 7 or 8 am,” he told TIME, “and the mood was tense. There were not many photographers around—I was one of the only foreigners.”

The street gleamed with pools of water from police water cannons, reflecting men standing defiantly in the street. Improvised tools of outrage littered the roadway: stones, chunks of concrete, burned-out vehicles and broken tree branches.

In the background, lines of men fanned out, some with arms crossed, others recording the spectacle with their cell phones. Taking advantage of a brief lull, several sat on the curb, nursing their exhaustion from a long night of clashes and tear-gas.

Moving quickly, Saman photographed young men as they scavenged for stones. Working in the no man’s land between the groups, the photographer needed to turn his back to police in order to capture the action in front of him. Although security forces weren’t firing live ammunition, the risk of injury was still high: “Getting hit with a rock will ruin your day,” he jokes.

Living in Cairo for the past year has taught Saman that he can’t afford the luxury of hanging around a scene waiting for the best light and peak action. It’s often when one lingers too long that problems can arise.

“You need to work quickly,” he said. “You need to work with purpose.”

Moises Saman, a Magnum photographer based in Cairo, was previously featured on LightBox for his work from Libya.

Martine Franck: 1938 – 2012

Martine Franck, an esteemed documentary and portrait photographer and second wife of Henri Cartier-Bresson, died of cancer in Paris on Aug. 16 at the age of 74. A member of Magnum Photos for more 32 years, Franck was a co-founder and president of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation.

“Martine was one classic Magnum photographer we could all agree with,” said photographer Elliott Erwitt. “Talented, charming, wise, modest and generous, she set a standard of class not often found in our profession. She will be profoundly missed.”

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1938, Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. In 1963, she began her photographic career at Time-Life in Paris, assisting photographers Eliot Elisofan and Gjon Mili. Although somewhat reserved with her camera at first, she quickly blossomed photographing the refined world of Parisian theater and fashion. A friend, stage director Ariane Mnouchkine, helped establish Franck as the official photographer of the Thtre du Soleil in 1964a position she held for the next 48 years.

As her career grew, Franck pursued a wide range of photographic stories, from documentary reportage in Nepal and Tibet to gentle and evocative portraits of Paris’s creative class. article writing submission . Her portfolio of the cultural elite includes photographic peers Bill Brandt and Sarah Moon as well as artist Diego Giacometti and philosopher Michel Foucault, among others. In 1983, she became a full member of Magnum Photos, one of a small number of female members at the legendary photographic agency. Cable Deals In My Area . Balancing her time between a variety of stories, her work reflects an innate sensitivity to stories of humanity.

In a piece published in the Guardian in 2006 about her time photographing a Buddhist monastery in Nepal, Franck chose to highlight a photo (slide #2 above) of an elder monk sitting with a young apprentice.

“I was there for an hour, just sitting quietly in a corner, observing,” she explained. “The picture is somehow a symbol of peace, and of young people getting on with old people. Although I didn’t think that at the timein the moment, it’s just instinctive. Afterwards, maybe, you realize what the photograph means.”

Her humanitarian work paired her with numerous social humanitarian organizations and was heralded for the truths it revealed. But her name was also often associated with Henri Cartier-Bresson.

In an interview on Charlie Rose, Franck recalled her first time meeting her future husband in 1965.

“His opening line was ‘Martine, I want to come and see your contact sheets,’” she recalled. They married in 1970.

Throughout her career, Franck served as a powerful advocate, both for Magnum and for the continued legacy of her husband. Serving as the president and co-founder of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Franck ensured that the spirit of his work survived.

Franck continued to work on her own photography, participating in group projects with Magnum, including “Georgian Spring.” As recently as this April, Franck’s expansive collection of portraits were exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Claude Bernard.

Magnum photographer and President Alex Majoli described Franck as a dear friend and a steady foundation within the photo agency. “Magnum has lost a point of reference, a lighthouse, and one our most influential and beloved members with her death,” he said in a statement released by Magnum over the weekend.

She is survived by her daughter, Melanie.

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

  • APhotoEditor and Conscientious Extended do round-ups of the many arguments and comments ignited by an NPR intern’s blog post about never paying for music and David Lowery‘s response to the post, looping in MediaStorm’s recent pay-per-story model announcement and its reception to explore what these kinds of attitudes could mean for the creative fields in general.
  • The highly anticipated, so-called “Google Glasses” were demoed at the I/O conference this week, PetaPixel reports. These camera-equiped goggles, which are set to ship sometime next year, could one day allow point-of-view shooting and instant sharing online. The relatively discreet $1500 device has the potential to bring about the most radical change to street photography since the development of the 35mm film camera.
  • Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey blogs about packing up and heading off to Les Rencontres d’Arles, ”arguably one of the most important international photography assemblages,” where he’ll be doing free portfolio reviews along with the rest of the staff of Burn Magazine. Additionally at Arles, sixty exhibitions by photographers including Sam Falls, Regine Petersen, and Jonathan Torgovnik, author of the monograph Intended Consequences, are on view through September 23.
  • Boston‘s The Big Picture shares photos from LGBT pride events taken around the world, some of which were met with violence and intimidation. The New Yorker‘s Photobooth shares a selection of black-and-white images from the 70s and 80s, “Forty-Three Years After Stonewall,” when a riot at a popular Manhattan gay bar in response to a routine police raid ignited the LGBT rights movement.
  • Feature Shoot shares a terrific hour-long streaming documentary on Magnum Photo founder Henri Cartier-Bresson, “Just Plain Love,” which features backstories from many famous photographs, directed by Raphaël O’Byrne in 2001.
  • Photoshop, the Game, otherwise known as LevelUp for Photoshop, which offers the opportunity for users of the software to improve their skills, learn new features, and win prizes, is free online until July 15, 2012, reports John Nack. Maybe by then, you too can be as good as Kelli Connell, whose exhibition Double Life is on view through this Saturday, June 30.

Penelope Umbrico Photography @ FoMu, Antwerp

Photo (c) Penelope Umbrico

The photography of Penelope Umbrico is often described as offering a sort of “radical reinterpretation” of photographic practice, or shedding “a radical new light” on the medium, conceptually, formally, and in several ways between. The artist produces by means of “aesthetic and conceptual chops,” famously appropriating images found using search engines and picture sharing websites, translating the digital realm’s relentless flow of images into conceptual works of photography.

FoMu’s upcoming exhibition of this particularly new course of photographic practice places Umbrico’s work in good company. From Here On, on view June 6 through September 30 2012, features an international roster of artists who create their work with the overload of digital images they find on the internet.

“They recycle, clip and cut pictures from Google Earth, Google Street View, Facebook, Flickr, etc. Does this mean that traditional photography is dead? With this exhibition, FoMu opens the debate on issues such as copyright, authorship, privacy and the future of photography.”

From Here On
June 22 through September 30, 2012
FoMu – Photo Museum
Antwerp, Belgium

From Here On shows the work of artists such as Hans Aarsman (NL, °1951), art collective Leo Gabin (BE), Constant Dullaart (NL, °1979), Mishka Henner (UK, °1976), Thomas Mailaender (FR, °1979), Willem Popelier (NL, °1982), Doug Rickard (US, °1968), Andreas Schmidt (DE, °1967), Pavel MariaSmejkal (CZ, °1957), Penelope Umbrico (US, °1957), Corinne Vionnet (SH, °1969) and HermanZschiegner (DE, °1971).

Curators: Clément Cheroux (FR, curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris), Joan Fontcuberta (ES, explores the conflict between nature, technology, photography and truth), Erik Kessels (NL, Creative Director communications agency KesselsKramer, Amsterdam and London), Martin Parr (UK, Magnum photographer) and Joachim Schmid (DE, has been working with found photography since 1980).
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›› Refer to our previous Penelope Umbrico-centric stories for more information and media surrounding this artist’s body of digital work.
›› View From Here On curator and Magnum photojournalist Martin Parr in conversation with Rinko Kawauchi.
›› Buy Penelope Umbrico (Photographs) for 20% off.