Tag Archives: UK

John Stezaker Awarded the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

For more than 30 years, artist John Stezaker has used found images as his primary medium. In his compositions, black-and-white studio portraits become surreal two-faced beings; elsewhere, a woman’s face is replaced by the crashing white waves of an illustrated postcard. These collages, which use classic movie stills, vintage postcards and book illustrations, are sliced and re-arranged into entirely new forms—they’re simple constructions, but Stezaker’s eye for the uncanny makes them powerful.

On Sept. 3, Stezaker was awarded the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, which recognizes a significant contribution to the medium of photography through exhibition or publication, for his presentation of photographic collages last year at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

The £30,000 prize (about $48,000) is organized by The Photographers’ Gallery in London. “Stezaker’s work has been influential on a new generation of image-makers,” said Brett Rogers, the Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, in a statement. “Within the vastness of today’s image flow, Stezaker has managed to resurrect the power and uncanny mystery inherent in the still image using traditional photographic strategies, most especially collage.”

Stezaker’s exhibition at Whitechapel showcased work from the 1970s until today.

“I am dedicated to fascination—to image fascination, a fascination for the point at which the image becomes self-enclosed and autonomous. It does so through a series of processes of disjunction,” Stezaker said in a statement from Whitechapel.

John Stezaker is a London-based artist. See more of his work here.

An exhibition of the artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 is on display at The Photographers’ Gallery, London until Sept. 9.

Portrait of a City: A Look at London

In the new photo book London: Portrait of a City, editor Reuel Golden says he wanted to use images to convey the history of the city and tell it in a compelling way that will sort of surprise people as well. That’s no easy feat when the city in question is one of the world’s oldest. But Golden says he found Londons photographic history was most compelling in three main eras: the Victorian period, the post-World War II era and the swinging ’60s. Images from those particular time periods, according to Golden, best displayed the character of the city, the soul of the city and the personality of the city.

Thats not to say the process was simple. To kick the project off, a few thousand photos were compiled, many of which were found buried in dusty drawers from places like the London Metropolitan Archive, which catalogs records of the city. Then came the task carried out by Golden, famed publisher Benedikt Taschen and art director Josh Bakerof whittling down the thousands of images into a manageable collection of photos that exemplified London. Though the book is the latest in a series of city-themed collections (past books have featured New York and Berlin), when it came to picking images of London, the team was especially critical in what they included. They were looking for photos that exuded fashion, a certain kind of cool,” says Golden. “And also you want to show ready identifiable icons.

Throughout the pageswhich also feature essays on the citythere are images of London life from the East end to the West end, all of which are invariably both familiar and fresh. Each image symbolizes a recognizable piece of Londons architecture, history, culture and of course, its iconic style, but often in a way that’s never been seen before.

The end result is a 552-page behemoth of a book with hundreds of images from anonymous and amateur photographers, as well as the big names of the business like Bill Brandt and David Bailey. article writing submission . Its important to get a good mix of big, important photographers, but also people who just documented London in a totally, totally different way, says Golden. Part of our mission behind these books is to sort of discover lesser known photographers and bring them out to the light of the world.

London: Portrait of a City was recently released byTASCHEN.

The Dark Side: Roger Ballen’s ‘Asylum’

Roger Ballen’s photographs are as much alluring as they are unsettling. For nearly 50 years, Ballen has used photography to explore some of the most upsetting parts of the psyche—and, in that period, he has created some of the most exquisite and unique images of everything from people and skeletons to animals and nature.

Born in New York in 1950 and based in Johannesburg since 1980, Ballen originally started as a documentary photographer. His mother worked at Magnum Photography, and later opened one of the first photo galleries in New York. Ballen recalls that, as time passed, he moved away from street photography toward work that was more conceptual. “My early work was somewhat documentary, but as time went on, the world became increasingly intense, increasingly more abstract, so my work became more complex in all sorts of ways,” he says. Since moving to South Africa, Ballen has left behind his early reportage style, instead choosing to stay within the frame of the camera to create an image.

Roger Ballen

Complex Ambiguity, 2009

Working strictly in black and white, Ballen creates unique pictures that explore, and then revisit, imagery of people, skeletons, animals, nature and faces. He has always taken an interest in animals in his photographs, and is curious about how the animal kingdom interacts with nature and humanity. Perhaps most striking in his photographs are the faces that always seem to be looking at the viewer. Taking inspiration from South African mythology and ancestor worship, Ballen says, “There’s faces everywhere, and I guess at the end of the day, who are the faces? Who’s telling you what to say? Who’s producing the dreams that come out of the night? There are mysterious third parties that govern our behavior in all sorts of ways.”

Ballen’s most recent project, and the subject of a solo show at the Manchester Art Gallery, stems from two other bodies of work: Boarding House, 2009, and Shadow Chamber, 2005. In each, Ballen found his way into an old South African mining house and former warehouse. It was while exploring these buildings for many years that Ballen found the location for his current body of work, Asylum.

Right near the boarding house building, Ballen came across a house in which the owner allowed people to stay for very little money under one condition: he insisted that the birds he collects be allowed to fly all over the house, and that they don’t stay in cages. “The house is full of birds, ducks, chickens, pigeons, doves, whatever, different birds and they’re all over the house, flying from one room to the next,” Ballen recalls. “The people that live in the house are people from different aspects of the streets in South Africa—some people come from other places in Africa, some are unemployed, some are products of poverty, violence and anything else. I interacted with these birds and animals to create these photographs.”

It is through this interaction that the photographer explores what he refers to as the dark side of one’s psyche. For Ballen, the problem begins with how the Western world defines dark. “In American culture, or western culture, dark means evil, scary or something you stay away from, something you don’t want to confront you,” he says. “You want to live your life in a very light way. I think the pictures deal with an aspect of the so-called dark side.” In Ballen’s mind, it’s through the dark that one finds the light. “The dark is what people actually refer to as the side of themselves that they’re scared of,” the photographer says. “The dark side is the side of themselves that they don’t want to work through. Dark is really fundamental to the work.”

Asylum is on view at the Manchester Art Gallery from March 30 – May 13. More of Roger Ballen’s work can be seen here.