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Photo Shows – Group show I LOVE YOU opens at Tenderpixel London and Mahtab Hussain’s Building Desires on show at mac Birmingham

©EJ Major, Marie Claire RIP (2004-2007). photograph courtesy of the artist.

Today two shows, one opening this week in London and another that has already opened in Birmingham. I LOVE YOU is a group show curated by Richard Ansett at Tenderpixel in London. The show runs from Friday this week until 16 June. One of the series on show is EJ Major‘s Marie Claire RIP (2004-2007), see photo above.

©Mahtab Hussain from Building Desires show. Photo courtesy of the photographer

Already on show and running until 10 June in Birmingham, Mahtab Hussain shows his series of portraits Building Desires at mac Birmingham. Go see, go look, go ponder identity in contemporary British society as explored through the lens of Hussain, who describes himself as a British Pakistani Kashmiri, and asks the question: What does it mean to be a British Pakistani male today?

I LOVE YOU
A photograph is a secret about a secret…the more it tells you the less you know. Diane Arbus
Major says of the series: ”Marie Claire RIP is based on an article published in Marie Claire magazine in 2002 featuring police mug-shots of the same woman taken over a fourteen year period. The article revealed that not long after the last picture was taken the woman was found dead. Marie Claire RIP is a re-staging of these images using the artist as subject.

“This piece was motivated by a desire to memorialise an unnamed person, a woman who had already died and had no control over the use of her image. At the same time the piece is intended to be non-specific in terms of the nature of the character’s demise.. While the piece challenges the veracity of the photographic portrait it also finds an authenticity in a notion of self-portraiture that involves acting. It is me and it isn’t her and yet it is her and it isn’t me at the same time.”

I LOVE YOU also includes work by Grace Brown, Natasha Caruana, Pete McGovern and Andre Penteado. I have to admit though that I am a bit stumped by the accompanying text to the show and how exactly it relates to the title and theme of the show. I leave it with you, dear readers, to follow the link and enlighten me as to how it applies. I get the gist and I can understand some of the references but am not sure how it relates. That said, I will pop along to the opening on Friday briefly as I am back on UK terra firma.

And on the topic of I Love You, here’s a link to the short video mash-up to Lionel Richie’s Hello that I posted in February but feel like linking to again.

BUILDING DESIRES
Hussain’s project – created over the last four years since he was at Goldsmiths studying for a BA in Art History – introduces three key elements of masculinity; the young boy bound by cultural and religious constraints, the teenager who begins to form a new identity on the streets away from the security of family, and the contemporary Pakistani male who has adopted desirable mainstream ideals of what it mean to be man living in the UK.

For Building Desires, Hussain is also engaging with the local community in Birmingham and has created a live working wall where the audience can answer his key question about identity. “I also add an interview (text format) that I have conducted with an individual each week, talking about masculinity and identity and also an image of the week.” I saw some of Hussain’s portraits from the ongoing series quite a while back and was impressed by his gentle approach to both the individual photographic subjects as well as the topic of identity, as a whole. However, I’ve yet to see the recent portraits.

See more from the project…

©Mahtab Hussain from Building Desires show. Photo courtesy of the photographer

©Mahtab Hussain from Building Desires show. Photo courtesy of the photographer

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Visual Artists, Women Photographers Tagged: Building Desires, EJ Major, I LOVE YOU, london, mac Birmigham, Mahtab Hussain, Marie Claire RIP, portraiture, Tenderpixel Gallery

Kati Mennett

Kati Mennett creates visual stories, and as her website states, she is in search of the spectacular. Currently living in Massachusetts, Kati graduated from the Art Institute of Boston with a BFA in Photography. He work has been exhibited in the US and Europe and featured in publications such as Another Man, Dayfour, F-Stop Magazine, Vogue Italia, and Umter Magazine.

I like the idea that she is looking for the spectacular in the mundane. Kati is infatuated with the notion that fantasy is constantly a part of reality–and those ideas make us look at ordinary things with a fresh eye.

Portrayers: All of my work is inspired by childhood wonder. I never want to loose that outlook on life, the thrill of the unknown and the ability to find beauty in everything.

My documentary on my family and friends is about finding the beauty in the sometimes mundane and everyday life. Having awareness of how temporary life is, I am chronicling all my experiences and relationships to give them permanence.

My series Portrayers is about creating fantasies. Whether they be about adventure, love or mystery, these images are meant to excite and entertain!

Photographer #417: Ulrich Lebeuf

Ulrich Lebeuf, 1972, France, is a photojournalist and documentary photographer. He has worked on numerous stories for the French and international press. Next to his photojournalistic work he is interested in themes of popular culture, representation, consumption and the notion of immediate pleasure. The series Antonyme de la pudeur takes a look at the sex industry. It is a glimpse into a world in which Ulrich manages to humanize the actresses, making the viewer reflect on the stereotypes of the business and on our own moral judgments. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines as Le Monde, Libération, Time and National Geographic. His photographs have been shown at several venues as the opening of the Rencontres d’Arles festival in 2006. He is a member of the M.Y.O.P agency. The following images come from the series Antonyme de la pudeur, Tropique du Cancer and Alaska Highway.

Website: www.ulrichlebeuf.fr & www.myop.fr

Samuel Bland

This week we are exploring the work of the Fiveleveninetynine Collective of London, the creators of the Broken Train and A Royal Wedding.

Based in London, Samuel Bland is freelance and fine art photographer and a teacher. “If he hadn’t been a photographer Samuel would have gone into thinking about stuff a lot. He sometimes takes himself off round the country on foot, with only a tent and a camera for company.” Samuel’s work focuses on identity, ecology and the relationship between man and his environment. He interested in combining media – still and moving image, text and sound – to create unusual bodies of work that explore these issues. Samuel graduated with a Distinction from the MA Documentary Photography course at London College of Communication. He has exhibited in the UK and Ireland and was recently selected for the Magenta Foundation’s Emerging Photographers for 2011.

Samuel has a number of interesting series, including the one that follows, The Long Walk Back, documenting a 500 mile walk back to his roots. If you need the text larger, simply click on the image.

The Long Walk Back: The Long Walk Back is a document of an unusual journey through England: a 500-mile walk, back to the place where I came into the world.

It came out of a desire both to confront my own memories and identity and explore the character of my country and it’s people as they are today – hoping that these two strands would overlap and that I would learn something about each.

This desire emerged out of a sense of disconnection from belonging to a place, or a people, or from the notion of being English. Conversations I had with others suggested this was not an uncommon set of feelings, and so I decided to try to discover what it was, if anything, that connected people to a place and to each other, in this country in this time.

So I decided to quite literally go back to my roots: to walk from my place of residence (on the South Coast) to the place where I was born (just shy of the northern border) through all the places I had lived in-between. This would take me through a huge swathe of the country: cities and villages, fields and forests, national parks and industrial wastelands.

The journey took 54 days, during which time I only walked, avoiding all vehicular transport, motorized or otherwise. I was especially drawn to the idea of walking through the country rather than driving around it or taking public transport; of seeing the whole thing, the places in-between places, and of connecting with something more ancient in it, through travelling in the most ancient and innately human way there is.

I documented the journey in photographs and words (on a blog), and the finished project includes words, images, a graphic representation of my trajectory through the country, as well as old photographs from my past and that of my family.

I am particularly interested in the play of meaning that can occur between paired images and words. The resulting project is not a definitive visual record of England today, or a rational examination of the development of English identity, but a personal view of the country glimpsed through fragments of thought, memory and of course vision.

Photographer #407: Francisco Reina

Francisco Reina, 1979, Spain, is a politically and socially-engaged conceptual photographer based in The Netherlands. In his project The Art of Power he meticulously manipulated architectural elements that depict political institutions, making them into impenetrable structures. We see the  ruling institutions of today as rational enterprises who’s interest should be to further the interest of their societies as a whole. Francisco strongly believes that this notion is not always rooted in reality and that the leaders of our world are gradually becoming an elite class primarily concerned with defending its own interests. The series called Strauss’ Legacy focuses on “the so-called neoconservatives and the way in which their presence in the American presidential administration on September 11, 2001 shaped events.”  He created images that through a conceptual way takes a close look at “the role of multinational corporations in a conflict which began under the name “Operation Enduring Freedom” and turned into a perfect market niche for multi-million dollar earnings.” His work has been exhibited mainly in Spain, but also in The Netherlands and New York. The following images come from the series The Art of Power, Strauss’ Legacy and The Silent Enigma.

Website: www.franciscoreina.com

Ej Major @Matt Roberts Arts, London







All images ©Ej Major

A buzz surrounds Ej Major’s one man show that opens on Thursday at Matt Roberts Arts, winner of the 2011 Salon Photo Prize (sponsored by 1000 Words). Of the work on display, most notable is her clever faux biography entitled Marie Claire RIP.

“These series of 12 images,” Major explains, “is based on an article published in Marie Claire in 2002, which featured police mug-shots of a [heroin addict] taken over a fourteen year period. The article revealed that not long after the last picture was taken the woman was found dead.”

She adds, “Marie Claire RIP is a re-staging of these images using myself as subject. I intended the piece to be non-specific in terms of the nature of the character’s demise. There is no direct reference to heroin addiction. The series may be read in terms of each person’s story or experience who views it. While the piece challenges the veracity of the photographic portrait it also finds an authenticity in a notion of self-portraiture that involves acting. It is me and it isn’t her and yet it is her and it isn’t me at the same time.”

This exhibition runs from Friday 2 September to Saturday 24 September. Matt Roberts Arts, Unit 1, 25 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG.

Ej Major @Matt Roberts Arts, London







All images ©Ej Major

A buzz surrounds Ej Major’s one man show that opens on Thursday at Matt Roberts Arts, winner of the 2011 Salon Photo Prize (sponsored by 1000 Words). Of the work on display, most notable is her clever faux biography entitled Marie Claire RIP.

“These series of 12 images,” Major explains, “is based on an article published in Marie Claire in 2002, which featured police mug-shots of a [heroin addict] taken over a fourteen year period. The article revealed that not long after the last picture was taken the woman was found dead.”

She adds, “Marie Claire RIP is a re-staging of these images using myself as subject. I intended the piece to be non-specific in terms of the nature of the character’s demise. There is no direct reference to heroin addiction. The series may be read in terms of each person’s story or experience who views it. While the piece challenges the veracity of the photographic portrait it also finds an authenticity in a notion of self-portraiture that involves acting. It is me and it isn’t her and yet it is her and it isn’t me at the same time.”

This exhibition runs from Friday 2 September to Saturday 24 September. Matt Roberts Arts, Unit 1, 25 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG.

Ej Major @Matt Roberts Arts, London







All images ©Ej Major

A buzz surrounds Ej Major’s one man show that opens on Thursday at Matt Roberts Arts, winner of the 2011 Salon Photo Prize (sponsored by 1000 Words). Of the work on display, most notable is her clever faux biography entitled Marie Claire RIP.

“These series of 12 images,” Major explains, “is based on an article published in Marie Claire in 2002, which featured police mug-shots of a [heroin addict] taken over a fourteen year period. The article revealed that not long after the last picture was taken the woman was found dead.”

She adds, “Marie Claire RIP is a re-staging of these images using myself as subject. I intended the piece to be non-specific in terms of the nature of the character’s demise. There is no direct reference to heroin addiction. The series may be read in terms of each person’s story or experience who views it. While the piece challenges the veracity of the photographic portrait it also finds an authenticity in a notion of self-portraiture that involves acting. It is me and it isn’t her and yet it is her and it isn’t me at the same time.”

This exhibition runs from Friday 2 September to Saturday 24 September. Matt Roberts Arts, Unit 1, 25 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG.