September 27, 2013

Friday Round Up - 27 September

This week Friday Round Up is bursting with stories – Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam, Noorderlicht Photo Festival, Delhi Photo Festival, new work from Ludovic Robert and Geoffrey Hiller’s Kickstarter Project Burma in Transition, and even a few photos of my own - plenty to view and read over the next couple of weeks while I take a short holiday to catch up with my family in Italy; there are still some places where the Internet doesn’t work! Friday Round Up will be back on Friday 11th October. Until then…

Unseen Photo Fair - Amsterdam 

This brilliant Fair that brings together photographers, galleries, and the public opened yesterday in Amsterdam. General Manager of Unseen, Sasha Stone, took time out of her ridiculously busy schedule for an interview with Alison Stieven-Taylor that included a behind-the-scenes tour while the Fair was in final build. You can read the interview on the Feature Articles link on this blog or click here.

Link: Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam

Nooderlicht Photo Festival
Now in its 20th edition, the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the northern city of Groningen, The Netherlands, this year is housed in the old Sugar Factory on the outskirts of town. This massive industrial site lends itself brilliantly to the Festival which has been cleverly designed to make the most of the natural architecture of the space.

Photos above (C) Alison Stieven-Taylor

The open call theme this year is "To Have and Have Not," a topic that curator Wim Melis says was centred on the concept of how the GFC affected the very rich, the 1 percent, a world that is hidden to most. The complexity of photographing what essentially “happens behind closed doors is challenging” states Melis, yet from a pool of 350 submissions he has created a powerful exhibition that gives insight into the playgrounds of the mega-rich. It is a mind boggling collection that demonstrates the excesses and, in my opinion, the sheer insanity that comes with having more money than you need for ten lifetimes, let alone one. "To Have and Have Not" is housed upstairs and presented in a series of cube structures that allow you to walk around the exhibits and really immerse yourself in the work (see above).

Curator Wim Melis

(C) Mark Peterson

Adjacent to this space is one of two commissioned exhibitions, "The Sequel," which features seven photographers - Ad van Denderen, Pieter ten Hoopen, Christian Kryl, Kadir van Lohuizen, Andrea Stultiens, Lidwien van de Ven and Xiaoxiao Xu - who were commissioned to produce a second instalment that built on an existing work. Melis says the concept of "The Sequel" was to give photographers an opportunity to delve further into a subject that they had already invested in. While the whole collection is engaging, two pieces really stood out for me. Ad van Denderen’s work looking at the new Palestinian city of Rawabi juxtaposed against his previous series Baladia, a training city of the Israeli army. And Pieter ten Hoopen’s short film on the residents of mythic city of Kitezh in eastern Russia. Kitezh is a cultural trope in Russia, symbolising a better world, without pain and deprivation, but the reality for residents is quite the opposite.

 (C) Ad van Denderen

(C) Pieter ten Hoopen

The other commissioned exhibition, "The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar," was set up as an international project, says Melis, with sugar as a product being an example of globalisation. “This project is about globalisation, but also colonialisation which is in sugar’s roots. We took as a starting point the countries where sugar and the Dutch have had connections – Suriname, Indonesia and Brazil. We collaborated with those countries engaging local writers and involving local organisations who were given the raw materials we had, to build their own exhibitions”. Six highly respected photographers were commissioned and given specific briefs. James Whitlow Delano and Alejandro Chaskielberg focused on Suriname and The Netherlands; Ed Kashi and Francesco Zizola Brazil and The Netherlands; Carl de Keyzer Indonesia and Belgium, his homeland, and; Tomasz Tomaszewski Indonesia and The Netherlands. The result is an expansive exhibition, and book, that documents the impact of sugar on these countries, and their communities, from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

(C) Ed Kashi 

My feature on Photography in The Netherlands featuring Noorderlicht and Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam will be in a coming issue of Pro Photo magazine.

Link: Noorderlicht Photo Festival
Until 13 October

Photo Essay:
Ludovic Robert – Stu Steps Up

London-based French photographer Ludovic Robert is following Stuart “Stu” Nixon, a 49 year old who has been living with Multiple Sclerosis since he was 18. A father and husband, Stu's courage and determination to not let this heinous disease beat his spirit are an inspiration, and now he’s attempting to “walk” to raise awareness and funds for MS. The only catch? Stu can’t walk! Watch Stu’s story here, shot by Robert in Wales, and have some tissues close by! This is a wonderful, brave story and Robert’s compassionate black and white images allow us to witness, but not intrude on, intimate moments of joy and also despair as Stu struggles daily with this debilitating disease. Stu hopes to raise 60,000 pounds for the MS Society UK’s 60th Anniversary by walking 60 kilometres through London in October.

All photos (C) Ludovic Robert

Link: You can watch the first part of Stu Steps Up here

Delhi Photo Festival 

The biennial Delhi Photo Festival opens today. An initiative of the India Habitat Centre and Nazar Foundation, this edition of the Festival features a broad range of work from traditional print photography to multimedia works. The print exhibitions are on the theme “grace” in tribute to Indian photographer the late Prabuddha Dasgupta who passed away last year at the age of 58 years.

(C) Prabuddha Dasgupta

More than 2300 bodies of work from 90 countries were submitted for this year’s Festival which has been expanded beyond the India Habitat Centre to feature independent exhibitions and activities at galleries throughout the city creating a city-wide Festival.

Following the format that seems to be the template for many photo festivals around the world – exhibitions, workshops and portfolio reviews – the Delhi Photo Festival features more than 40 print exhibitions from a diverse group of photographers. There is a dedicated exhibition linking the works of 5 photographers inspired by Indian Cinema - Jonathan Torgovnik, Kannagi Khanna, Max Pinckers, Nathan G and Pushpmala N. And also a self-published exhibition “Looking Eastward” curated by Sohrab Hura. And that’s just the main print exhibitions. Australian Tamara Dean is also exhibiting.

(C) Sacha Goldberger

 (C) Kauser Haider

Unpacking Tamara Dean's show

September 27 to October 11, 2013
Link: Delhi Photo Festival

Kickstarter Project:
Geoffrey Hiller - Burma in Transition

Award-winning US photojournalist Geoffrey Hiller has been visiting Burma since 1987, a country he labels “one of the world’s poorest and most isolated places. I first went in 1987 on the one-week visa. After a frenetic trip, it wasn’t so much the monks and pagodas that haunted me, but the faces of the Burmese, painted in white, often smiling. I wanted to find out more about who they really were, plagued by a corrupt government and international sanctions”. His fascination with the country resulted in the creation of the award-winning multimedia web site “Burma: Grace Under Pressure,” which has been viewed “by millions”. 

All photos (C) Geoffrey Hiller

Hiller has continued to use his camera to capture “daily life from the cramped streets of the colonial capital of Yangon, to dusty markets in Mandalay, to Muslims in Meikhtila, and river life in Pathein”. His work presents a fascinating story of a people who have lived under a repressive military dictatorship for half a century and his photographs are rich in colour, complexity and humanity. Now with “unheard of political and cultural freedom…the real question is how this will play out in the lives of the Burmese people”.

Hoping to self-publish his work as a book “Burma in Transition,” Hiller has launched a Kickstarter Project which ends on October 10. 

Changing the Skyline 
To round up this Friday's coverage here are a few photographs from my own project exploring the changing skyline of Europe. Have a great weekend.

(C) Alison Stieven-Taylor
Milan September 2013

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