Tag Archives: Word Of Mouth

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

Summer Songs of the Russian Riviera

In 2004, when photographer Rob Hornstra wanted to publish his first cohesive body of work in a book, he ran into a common problem—he couldn’t find a publisher who was willing to fund it. Hornstra’s solution was less than common: he decided to raise the initial funds himself by selling copies in advance via word of mouth and social networking. It took a month, but he succeeded. Hornstra decided to jump start the publication of his next two books the same way, with each volume of pre-orders selling out more quickly than the last. Hornstra is now on his sixth book (plus newspapers, postcards, prints and posters), and still relies primarily on his own crowdfunding efforts to fund them and their related projects. Crowdfunding and self-publishing are less rare these days, but that is thanks in part to pioneers like Hornstra whose distinctive eye and determination helped blaze the trail to get important work to receptive audiences without the backing of traditional journalistic and publishing outlets.

Hornstra’s latest book is on the restaurant singers of Russia’s favorite Black Sea resort town of Sochi. Any self-respecting restaurant on the coast has a live house singer to belt out sappy Russian chansons—take a vodka-soaked ballad and drop in a techno beat, all at full volume—from behind an electric keyboard or a laptop. Sochi is the center of the world, as far as this type of live entertainment is concerned, and Hornstra saw it as the perfect metaphor to depict the city and the region, traveling to more than 60 restaurants over 100 miles of coastline in 2011 to make the 37 photos for the book. The pictures mercifully strip away the noise of the music and cancel out the dark rooms and sharp flashing lights with Hornstra’s trademark, even lighting, allowing the viewer to patiently examine every telling detail of the interiors, including the faux Greek, French, Roman, Slavic and American décor.

Sochi Singers is in fact only the latest installment of The Sochi Project, Hornstra’s five-year commitment to exploring the region in the years leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics Games, which Sochi will host exactly two years from this month. Partnering with writer and filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen, who wrote the essay in Sochi Singers, his goal is to paint a more complete picture of the area than the public is likely to see during those few short weeks in 2014. They have already traveled to a Soviet-era sanatorium outside of Sochi and the troubled region of Abkhazia and the Republic of Georgia, located only 13 miles along the coast to the southeast. Next month they plan to travel to the Caucasus mountains to the east, and the infamous breakaway republics of Dagestan, North Ossetia and Chechnya.

As Russia cycles into the news again next month when former president Vladimir Putin will likely be voted back into office, it is Hornstra’s commitment to “slow journalism” that allows audiences to put the headlines in context, as well as to see past the propaganda and pomp and circumstance that will inevitably surround the Winter Games. By examining the stark contrasts contained within the small region of the world, and recording both what changes—and what remains the same—Hornstra’s work reflects something deeper and more historic: Russia’s continuing search for a post-Soviet identity.

Rob Hornstra is a Dutch photographer. Learn more about the Sochi project hereThe Sochi Singers series recently won first place for the Arts and Entertainment—Stories category at the World Press Photo awards.