October 22, 2013

Warriors from the Reservation- Kickstarter Project

Warriors from the Reservation - photojournalists Svetlana Bachevanova (FotoEvidence) and Anthony Karen, writer K.J. Wetherholt, and filmmaker Pamela Theodotou, have a Kickstarter project for their film and exhibition depicting "the warrior tradition among the Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Reservation and the modern experience as Native American Veterans in American wars, including through to Iraq and Afghanistan." See the link for all the details and please support this project if you can. 

Click here to view the project details

(C) Svetlana Bachevanova

October 18, 2013

Friday Round Up - From Paris - 18 October

Friday Round Up this week comes to you from Paris. It’s been a busy week for Alison Stieven-Taylor, there are so many exhibitions currently on in the City of Light. Here is a sample to whet your appetite. Plus the second edition of the Photo Reporter Festival starts on Saturday at St-Brieuc Bay.

Sebastião Salgado – Genesis

The window of the Taschen Bookshop, Paris

Earlier this year I interviewed Sebastião Salgado about his Genesis project, which is a touring exhibition and book. This week I had the privilege of meeting the man himself at his exhibition at the Maison européenne de la photographie, the exquisite European Photography Museum in the heart of Le Marais.

Sebastião Salgado signing my Pro Photo Story

Salgado is one of the most humble, and generous people I’ve ever met. He spent hours signing books and talking to those who lined up in the rain patiently waiting their turn to enter the exhibition. He told me he hopes that Genesis will come to Australia, but at the moment none of the major galleries have committed. I hope it comes to Australia too and cannot believe that the powers that be in the gallery world would pass on an exhibition like this; it is one of a kind.

Genesis is one of the most extraordinary projects, and seeing the exhibition reinforced for me Salgado’s unique approach to photography and his innate ability to capture the essence of whatever he is photographing. There were so many moments in the exhibition when his images stopped me in my tracks. If you are in Paris, this has to be a must-see. 

(C) Sebastião Salgado

(C) Sebastião Salgado

Here’s an excerpt from my interview with him:

Salgado spent eight years working on Genesis. During this time “Salgado travelled by mule, boat, aircraft, hot-air balloon and truck, depending on locale. Many journeys had to be done on foot and timing was worked around small windows of good weather – summer in Antarctica and the Arctic, before the rains in Indonesia and the floods in Brazil. Salgado travelled in two-month blocks, making four trips annually over the eight years.

The end result is an extraordinary collection of more than 200 black and white photographs. Lélia (his wife) is once again the editor, curator and designer of the collection, which is divided into five sections – Planet South, which is self-explanatory; Sanctuaries including The Galápagos, Indonesia, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea; Africa; Northern Spaces and; Amazonia and Pantanal.

In thinking about the highlights of this eight-year opus, Salgado recalls the 850 kilometres trek he made from one of the holiest cities in northern Ethiopia, Lalibela, to the town of Gondar. Famous for its castles and religious architecture, Gondar is situated at 2300 metres above sea level.

“The walk took about two months through the mountains,” says Salgado. “It was a unique experience and I walked because there are no roads. These tribes live as they did in Old Testament times and produce everything they need – food, textiles even farming tools. After the first week of walking, I was very far from any towns and roads, and I was inspired to be part of this society that was completely living in another era, and in harmony with the land…”

You can read the full interview with Salgado here.

Until 5 January, 2014
Maison européenne de la photographie
Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 8pm
5-7 Rue de Fourcy, 75004 Paris

Am I Beautiful? - Russiantearoom (RTR)

(C) Oleg Dou

This week I met Liza Fetissova, owner and director of RTR in the 3rd arrondissement. Liza opened the Gallery seven years ago with the objective of providing a forum for Russian photographers, both established and emerging artists.

"Am I Beautiful?" is the 38th exhibition for RTR and presents the work of seven young Russian photographers exploring the concept of beauty in contemporary society. Along with works by Fulbright Scholar Margo Ovcharenko, who has won numerous awards and the acclaimed Oleg Dou, are photographs by sisters Dasha and Maria Yastrebova, the latter at only 19 years old and making her European debut with a clear visual signature. There are images also by artistic duo Sonia and Mark Whitesnow. And a documentary multimedia project by Tina Chevalier which centres on a woman,
“Christina” and her belief that being beautiful will solve all her problems.

(C) Dasha Yastrebova

(C) Maria Yastrebova

(C) Margo Ovcharenko

(C) Sonia and Mark Whitesnow

In commenting on the show’s theme Liza says “The concept of beauty, originally an abstract idea, has now become a currency, an accessible and achievable dream. If certain periods of history have appreciated equally intellect, knowledge, science and love of beauty, our society today seems to value appearance over meaning...Nowadays beauty is measured, weighed, valued and judged according to standards established by the canons of global marketing”.

“The young artists from ”Am I beautiful? "are part of this new generation that reuses and reinvents in their creations the codes of contemporary visual language…At the centre of their work, all of them, maybe without fully realising it, evoke the human image with its myriad differences.”

Liza says “RTR is the ideal place to discover the fascinating, energetic, ironic, poetic and courageous Russian artists who have been supported by RTR gallery for the past seven years”. This exhibition is well worth a visit and there is a small bookshop and print room with images from Russian photographers including photojournalist Sergey Maximishin, Igor Moukhin's post-Perestroika work and Antanas Sutkus perhaps most well-known for his photographs of Jean-Paul Satre shot in 1965.

Until 2 November
42 Rue Volta
75003 Paris

Exhibitions – In Brief:

Beyond the Veil - Catalina Martin-Chico

Until 31 October
Cosmos Gallery
56 Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg
75007 Paris

Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969)

Photographs, drawings, photomontages
More than 300 works spanning 1910-1960s

Until 26 January, 2014
Jeu du Paume
1 place de la Concorde
75008 Paris

Sergio Larrain (1931-2012)

Magnum Photos first South American member, Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain took to the streets of Santiago in the 1950s and 1960s with his Leica. This exhibition celebrates this period.

Until 22 December
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2 impasse Lebouis
75014 Paris

Photo Reporter – St-Brieuc Bay

The second edition of Photo Reporter Festival kicks off tomorrow. Its creation was based on two objectives: to provide a platform for exposition of first class photojournalism to a broader audience and; to assist photojournalists in traversing the changing landscape in terms of the profession’s economic environment. To this end the Festival has established an Endowment Fund “that allows a business, regardless of size, to invest in a project which not only benefits the local economy, but offers access to information for all through photography”. Last year the Fund “collected” 150,000 Euros.

This year 13 photographers are on show from a pool of 300 submissions from 46 countries. 

Philip Blenkinsop – Burma Before the Change

Stefano De Luigi – Reality Wedding (Italy)

Peter Dench – The British Abroad

Agnès Dherbeys – Mother (South Korea)

Marie Dorigny – Women Pay the Price of Peace (Nepal)

Robin Hammond - LAGOS – Rhythms of an African Mega-City

Guy Martin - The Rise of Turkish Soft Power

Catalina Martin Chico - Saint-Martin or Paradoxes in Paradise (West Indies)

Kosuke Okahara - Surviving for the Existence: Abkhazia, a Country that doesn’t Exist

Darcy Padilla – Drill Baby Drill (USA)

Claude Rives - The Loire River Invaders (France)

J.B Russell - An Iraqi Journey (USA)

Donald Weber - War Sand (France)

Photo Reporter
19 October to 11 November
For more information visit the Festival Website

W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography

Congratulations to Robin Hammond who is this year’s recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. The Grant of $30,000 will enable Hammond to continue with his long term project into the issues facing those with mental illness in Africa. Hammond was also this year’s FotoEvidence Book Award winner and his book Condemned was launched in New York yesterday. A big week for the New Zealand-born Hammond who now resides in Paris. 

Next week Friday Round Up will not appear as Alison will be in transit back to Australia, but look out for more stories on 1st November. Until then....

October 11, 2013

Friday Round Up - 11 October

Friday Round Up is back this week with 2013 FotoEvidence Book Winner Robin Hammond's book launch and exhibition of "Condemned," conceptual artist Phillip Toledano's exhibition "The Absent Portrait," Michael Coyne's "X Factor" and an interview with Sydney documentary photographer Louise Whelan about her new book "New Settlers".

Book & Exhibition
Robin Hammond – Condemned 

“Condemned: Mental Health in African Countries in Crisis” is the result of an exhaustive exploration over seven years by Paris-based New Zealand photographer Robin Hammond. Shot in nine African countries “Condemned” was the winner of the 2013 FotoEvidence Book Award and Hammond will be in New York for the launch of his book and the supporting exhibition which opens on 17 October at VII Photo Gallery.

“Condemned” is an incredibly moving story of those with mental illness who are struggling to survive in countries that are beset by conflict and hampered by failing infrastructures. My interview with Hammond and the full review of his book will appear in November.
Published by FotoEvidence, “Condemned” features 89 black and white images, as well as interviews with those suffering from mental illness and mental health workers. Svetlana Bachevanova, publisher of FotoEvidence, said “FotoEvidence is extremely proud to again be publishing a powerful and important work that gives voice and draws attention to the plight of some of the most vulnerable people in the world”.

Hammond is the winner of four Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism and has dedicated his career to documenting human rights and development issues around the world, with specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011 Hammond won the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. (All images (C) Robin Hammond)

For more details please visit FotoEvidence

Phillip Toledano - The Absent Portrait 

For a complete change in visual style, take a look at New York-based British conceptual artist and photographer Phillip Toledano's exhibition The Absent Portrait, which is currently on show at Edmund Pearce Gallery in Melbourne. This work premiered at the Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam in September (you can read my interview with Unseen GM Sasha Stone on the Feature Articles tab at the top of the blog or click here).

The Absent Portrait explores concepts of censorship, absence and suppression and builds on Toledano's work around socio-political themes. In creating this series Toledano was initially inspired by the images created by the common practice of Iranian censors to “black out” by hand with large black strokes the pictures of women on the commercial packaging of everyday goods. 

In an interview with Time Toledano said, “When you take away the packaging and you have this figure that large, it takes on a kind of painterly aspect. You see the censor’s hand, the swirls of ink. It’s beautiful, but also very disturbing.” 

“The thing about the series for me that’s important to get across is that, yes, it is about women and it is about the Middle East, but it’s also very applicable to all of us, because all of us in every country live in a system where reality is twisted — whether it’s by religion or by government, there’s a certain amount of torquing,” he concluded.  (All images (C) Phillip Toledano)

Until 2 November
Edmund Pearce Gallery
Nicholas Building
2/37 Swanston St, Melbourne

Michael Coyne – The X Factor 

Michael Coyne is best known for his ground-breaking coverage of the Iran Iraq War in the 1980s, but Coyne has shot numerous assignments for international magazines over the past thirty years and published more than a dozen books on a wide range of topics.

Now his exhibition, the X Factor, is on show at Manning Clark House in Canberra until 1 November. The exhibition comprises a collection of images shot by Coyne over the past three years using Fujifilm’s X series cameras. (All images (C) Michael Coyne)

Until 1 November
11 Tasmania Circle
Forrest, (Canberra)

Louise Whelan - New Settlers 

I recently interviewed Sydney documentary photographer Louise Whelan for the Weekend Australian Magazine about her new book New Settlers published by Australia’s only dedicated photography book publisher Gianni Frinzi from T&G Publishing. You can read the full interview on the Feature Articles tab of this blog or by clicking here.

To find out more about the book please visit T&G Publishing 

Barat Ali Batoor - Pro Photo

The latest issue of Pro Photo magazine features my profile on Barat Ali Batoor, out now.

Have a great weekend.