November 29, 2013

Friday Round Up - 29 November

This week on Friday Round Up Sean Gallagher heads to India, three new exhibitions for Melbourne - Bill Henson, Guy Vinciguerra and Melbourne Now, Alison Stieven-Taylor's feature interview with Barat Ali Batoor this year's winner of the Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year Award and more.

Photo Project:
Sean Gallagher - Toxic Development: Pollution in India

Sean Gallagher is one of the most respected photojournalists covering environmental issues today. He’s embarked on a new project with the aid of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to document the effects of pollution in India from both an environmental and social perspective. 

In my opinion toxic waste, and particularly e-waste, is one of the greatest threats we face in the Digital Age and Gallagher’s unique visual insight and his erudition bring focus to this grossly under-reported issue. You can follow his work at Project Live – India! 

(C) All photos Sean Gallagher

Guy Vinciguerra – Metropolis
I first came across Italian-born photographer Guy Vinciguerra’s work at this year’s Ballarat International Foto Biennale with his exhibition of photographs shot in China, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as part of his ten year exploration of the Silk Road.

In his new exhibition opening at the Colour Factory next week Vinciguerra presents a series of monochrome images of Tokyo and its inhabitants in the series “Metropolis”. Of this series he says he wanted to “draw attention to the restraints that are imposed on us, those we impose on ourselves and the universal absurdity of life”.

(C) All photos Guy Vinciguerra

5 December 2013 to 25 January 2014
Colour Factory Gallery
409-429 Gore Street
Fitzroy (Melbourne)

Bill Henson – Untitled 1985/86

Currently on show at Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne is a selection of works by renowned Australian photographic artist Bill Henson. These photographs feature both portraits and landscapes and give an insight into the breadth of his oeuvre and his talent to create photographs that are like painterly still lifes. This is a rare opportunity to see the works of one of our truly great artists in his hometown. 

(C) All photos Bill Henson courtesy Tolarno Galleries

Bill Henson
Untitled 1985/86
Until 14 December 2013
Tolarno Galleries
Level 4 104 Exhibition St

Barat Ali Batoor – Walkley Award Winner

Earlier this year I interviewed a young Afghan photojournalist about his extraordinary photo essay – the Unseen Road to Asylum – which documented his flight from Indonesia to Australia on board a boat that sank at sea. Last night in Brisbane (Australia), Barat Ali Batoor, who is now settled in Australia, accepted the inaugural award for Photo of the Year and Feature/Photographic Essay in the 2013 Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism. Congratulations! To read my feature interview with Batoor, please click on the Feature Articles tab at the top of this blog.

(C) All photos Barat Ali Batoor

Photo Essay:
Denis Sinyakov – The Changing Face of Russia

(C) All photos Denis Sinyakov

Photographer Denis Sinyakov’s photo essay – The Changing Face of Russia - shows a country unsuccessfully grappling with the influx of low paid labour from Central Asia and a declining “native” population. Many new residents are illegal migrants who have fled from their homelands of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan where there is a high rate of unemployment and the economic outlook dismal. Sinyakov says these immigrants are “despised by most natives” creating a volatile atmosphere in a country that is still reeling from the collapse of the Soviet empire and the economic fissure that continues to divide the country.

Sinyakov was one of 30 people arrested in September at the Greenpeace protest on Artic oil drilling. He was released from jail in St. Petersburg on 21 November.

Sinyakov released from jail

Melbourne Now

More than 400 artists and over 250 artworks, installations and photographs comprise a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Now – which is on until March 2014.

Reportedly curated to reflect the “complexity of Melbourne and its unique and dynamic cultural identity” Melbourne Now presents a diverse range of creative pursuits, but I have to say I am somewhat disappointed that the photographic line up features what could be termed “the usual suspects” and there is nothing very “new” or "now" about the content. From a curatorial perspective the net could have been thrown wider to encompass cutting edge concepts, experimental works and photographic art being created by lesser known artists.

(C) Ross Coulter

(C) Polixeni Papapetrou

(C) Steven Rhall

(C) Zoe Croggen

(C) George Metaxas

(C) David Wadelton

Melbourne Now
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and NGV International 
Until 23 March 2014
Free Entry

November 22, 2013

Friday Round Up - 22 November

This week on Friday Round Up Melinda Gibson talks about photobooks, Peter McConchie releases Fire and the Story of Burning Country, Angkor Photo Festival's 9th Edition, Cross Projections in Sydney, FotoEvidence calls for submissions and more.

Peter McConchie – Fire and the Story of Burning Country

Australia is a continent beset by climate extremes. In summer our cities, which are fringed by dense bushland, become tinderboxes. As the scrub dries out the fire season begins and residents in heavily treed areas live with the constant fear of bush fires.

Each year we wait for the next bush fire disaster. In February 2009 Black Saturday took the lives of 173 people in the state of Victoria. Last month in New South Wales bush fires ripped through the Blue Mountains destroying numerous homes.

But while fire is met with fear in modern society, Australia’s indigenous people have lived in harmony with fire and used it to manage the land for millennia. The use of fire in this vein is the central focus of a new book “Fire and the Story of Burning Country” by photographer and author Peter McConchie.

In Fire and the Story of Burning Country McConchie aims to dispel the myth that fire is to be feared and is only destructive. Through stories told by the indigenous elders and community leaders of Cape York in Australia’s far north, McConchie presents a unique view that shows how fire can be used to the benefit of the land and its people. 

(C) All photos Peter McConchie

Dr. Don Hankins, a specialist in fire ecology/pyrogeography, Indigenous land management practices and conservation of Indigenous cultural practices supports this theory stating, “Where Indigenous fire is applied to the landscape it yields a mosaic of positive outcomes from resilience to growth. Where Indigenous fires have been removed from the landscape devastating bushfires are more common, as are their impacts on people and whole communities”.

McConchie has a long history of working with Australia’s indigenous population with the intent of not only documenting their unique culture, but of taking their story to a wider audience. It is through the exchange of knowledge that we will create greater understanding of how one of the oldest cultures in the world has survived in one of the harshest continents. Fire and the Story of Burning Country is a welcome addition to that body of knowledge.

Published by Cyclops Press
To purchase the book click here

Talking Photobooks:
Melinda Gibson

Last night at Edmund Pearce Gallery in Melbourne UK photographic artist Melinda Gibson spoke about the evolution of the photobook. Gibson has published two books, which have received wide acclaim – The Photograph as Contemporary Art, a deconstruction and reimagining in photomontage of Charlotte Cotton’s 2009 book of the same name, and her latest Miss Titus Becomes A Regular Army Mac released at this year’s Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam. 

L-R: Daniel Boetker-Smith from the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive (the hosts of the talk), Dan Rule, Melinda Gibson and Heidi Romano.

In a discussion led by writer and bookshop owner Dan Rule, and photographic artist Heidi Romano, Gibson spoke to a small, but dedicated audience about opportunities that self-publication have delivered the photo-artist. Gibson talked of performative qualities, limited editions and handmade creations. She said that inviting the reader to engage with the book, whether through the requirement to cut open pages, unwrap covers or reassemble content, takes the photobook beyond the bookshelf or the coffee table. It is in this space that the photobook itself become the piece of art.

Gibson, who was one of the jurors at the Unseen Photo Fair photobook awards this year, says the democratisation of photobooks has resulted in more photobooks being published than ever. “Everyone can make a book, but because of that there is a lot of rubbish out there,” says Gibson. “Photographers need to think about the best context for their work and it isn’t always a book. Narrative and editing are critical to making a photobook that works. You really need to think about the book and what you want to do because books last forever and if it’s shit….” well you get the idea. 

Visit Melinda's blog here

2014 FotoEvidence Book Award – Open Now

Applications are now open for the 2014 FotoEvidence Book Award. This year the jurors are Ed Kashi, Marcel Saba, Mikko Takkunen, Regina Monfort and Svetlana Bachevanova.

The 2013 FotoEvidence Book Award winner was Robin Hammond for his work, Condemned, which exposes the atrocious conditions that those with mental health illnesses in Africa suffer. 

Robin Hammond

From the FotoEvidence website:

"The annual FotoEvidence Book Award will recognize a documentary photographer whose project demonstrates courage and commitment in addressing a violation of human rights, a significant injustice or an assault on human dignity. The selected project will be published in a book, as part of a series of FotoEvidence books dedicated to the work of photographers whose commitment and courage create an awareness of social injustice.

The Book Award winner and up to four other selected finalists will be exhibited on the FotoEvidence web site and at a gallery exhibition in New York City during the fall of 2014.

FotoEvidence is founded to continue the tradition of using photography to draw attention to human rights violations, injustice, oppression and assaults on sovereignty or human dignity wherever they may occur.”

Applications close 15 January, 2014. For more information click here 

Angkor Photo Festival

Now in it’s 9th Edition Angkor Photo Festival is the longest running event of its kind in Asia. This year the Festival attracted more than 1000 submissions from 75 countries. Curated by Françoise Callier, Program Coordinator, this year’s program features more than 130 photographers, the majority of which are from Asia. Exhibitions are mounted indoors and outdoors in venues throughout the city and there is an evening projections program also. 

(C) Kosuke Okahara Fukushima Japan

(C) Vlad Sokhin Restavek
Each year two of the evening projections are in the hands of guest curators. The 2013 guest curators are Shahidul Alam, Director of Chobi Mela Bangladesh and Jean-François Leroy, Director of Visa pour l'Image.

Shahidul Alam by Alison Stieven-Taylor

In curating his evening projection program Alam was looking for the “fun” in photography. Entitled ‘Seeking Humour Seriously,’ Alam says “We sit up straight when being photographed. Make sure our hair is looking right. In selecting ‘subjects’ for photography, my students choose from themes ranging from ‘drug addiction’ ‘prostitution’ or ‘child labour’. The more adventurous ones go to war zones. Photography is a serious business. What we photograph are ‘matters of consequence’. We might collectively put up V signs, or smile when being photographed. Even our frivolity is guided by norms of conduct. In our justified attempts to be taken seriously, we place barriers upon our craft, that seriously limit our ability to explore the social space. Once the photography is over, both photographer and subject can get back to being normal. Our imperfect world with all its unpredictability, its serendipity, its quirks and most importantly its humour surrounds us again. We breathe. We let go. We live.

There is another more ‘serious’ aspect to this behavior. Humour, satire and irony are wonderful instruments to not only express mirth, but also to critique, dissect and tease out subtleties of human emotion. Its playfulness allows a proximity that is difficult to achieve otherwise. Being less ‘serious’ it is capable of making statements far more provocative than would be tolerated in conventional spaces. It puts us off guard making us more receptive. Being ‘fun’ gives it a license that can be both powerful and effective. Like the child talking about the emperor’s clothes, the obvious but unstated can be tabled, where otherwise one might stay silent. ‘It was only in jest’ find cracks in our armoury that heavier weaponry would find impenetrable. 

In the end it makes us laugh, reflect, perhaps ponder. A worthwhile act in itself” - Shahidul Alam.

In addition to the exhibitions and screenings is the workshop program. This year the professional workshop leaders are Andrea Star Reese, Antoine D’Agata, Kosuke Okahara, Patrick De Noirmont, Sohrab Hura and Suthep Kritsanavarin. They will lead a group of 30 young Asian photographers. There is also the annual “fun-filled” Anjali Children's Workshop for children of Anjali House, an NGO in Siem Reap providing food, shelter and education to under-privileged children.

Angkor Photo Festival
9th Edition
23-30 November
Siem Reap Cambodia

For more information visit the website 

Exhibition Competition: is a website focused on promoting social documentary photography. The 2014 exhibition contest is now open for submissions. Two winners willb e afforded an exhibition at Fait & Cause Gallery in Paris in June and July next year. For more information visit the website

Cross Projections - Sydney
(C) John Ogden  

“Now in its 10th year, Cross Projections is a multi-media, cinematic screening of personal works by photographers. Work practices encompass social documentary and fine art photography, photojournalism, teaching, critique and exhibition.

Cross Projections grew out of the desire of photographers to maintain control over the presentation of their work and to showcase their stories to peers and the wider community. As a group we aim to give voice to unheard stories and promote ethics and social commentary in contemporary photographic culture.” Roslyn Sharp and Amanda James, Cross Projections Producers.

(C) Alexander Sharp

(C) Garry Trinh

(C) Kate Disher-Quill

(C) Tom Williams

(C) Marco Bok

Cross Projections 2013
November 28, 29 and 30
Doors open 6:30pm for a 7pm start 

Tusculum House
3 Manning Street
Potts Point

Limited seats. To book click here.

Cross Projections Program:
Alexander Sharp
Amanda James
Angela Stretch
Garry Trinh
Jim Anderson
Glenn Lockitch
John Ogden
Kate Disher-Quill
Kerry Pryor
Lyndal Irons
Marco Bok
Peter Kingston
Roslyn Sharp
Saha Jones & Maya Newell
Susie Hagon
Tom Williams

November 15, 2013

Friday Round Up - 15 November

This week on Friday Round Up Sydney takes the spotlight with three new exhibitions on show. Also view part two of the photo essay Stu Steps Up, check out the latest trends in photobooks, see what Sam Harris is posting to The Photographers’ Gallery Instagram feed and celebrate the launch of L’Oeil de la Photographie (formerly Le Journal). Plus Sydney photographer and publisher John Ogden’s Saltwater People series takes out this year’s National Maritime Museum Biennial Frank Broeze History Award.

Exhibitions: Sydney

Tim Page – Diggers in the Nam
© Tim Page

This week Tim Page’s exhibition Diggers in the Nam opened in Sydney at Blanco Negro. The exhibition features 20 silver gelatin prints of photographs taken between 1965-1969 when Page, then a young man in his twenties, threw himself headfirst into life as a war photojournalist.

Page is known as one of the iconic photographers of the Vietnam War. His pictures have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the globe over a career that has spanned five decades. Infamously reputed to be the inspiration for Dennis Hopper’s outlandish character in ‘Apocalypse Now’, Page has had a lauded, and at times, immensely dangerous career that has left him at death’s door on more than one occasion. Through his lens he has shown the world images that define generations and his photographs can be seen in museums and galleries around the world, and within the pages of books. And also on this blog with the Tim Page Unseen series featuring never before published photographs. 

All money raised from Diggers in the Nam goes to Soldier On an organisation supporting veterans with physical and psychological wounds.

Pictured L-R: Tim Page, Stephen Dupont, Marianne Harris and Ben Bohane, all members of the collective Degree South (Photo John Odgen)

Until 14 January 2014
Blanco Negro
Shop 4, 44-54 Botany Road
By appointment + 61 2 9698 4552

Jane Burton Taylor – Grove

For three consecutive years Australian artist Jane Burton Taylor travelled to Puglia in Italy to photograph that region’s olive groves through their seasonal cycles - many of these groves were planted in the Middle Ages and their longevity is testament to the passion and love given to nurturing them. Burton Taylor chose 12 groves where today the farmers still care for the trees by hand.

The result of her exploration can be see in the exhibition Grove currently on in Sydney. Shot on film using a 50 year old Hasselblad medium format camera Burton Taylor has presented her images as large-scale triptych panels. These works not only capture the wonder of nature but also “the spiritual and physical relationship humans have with” Mother Earth.

© Jane Burton Taylor

Until 1 December
Barometer Gallery
13 Gurner Street (cnr Duxford St),

Rennie Ellis - Kings Cross 1970 to 1971
© Rennie Ellis

In August the book DECADE: 1970-1980 by Australian photographer Rennie Ellis was launched. Featuring iconic images that capture the dichotomy of 1970s Australia in black and white DECADE reflects a period when creative exploration and cultural anarchy ruled.

Now the State Library of New South Wales is presenting an exhibition of Ellis’ works shot during a year spent documenting Sydney’s notorious Kings Cross, images that are also featured in DECADE.

16 November – 16 February 2014
State Library of New South Wales

Photo Essay:
Ludovic Robert - Stu Steps Up Part Two
© Ludovic Robert

In September we blogged about brave Stuart “Stu” Nixon and his attempt to raise funds for MS by walking 60 kilometres – except Stu can’t walk as he is an MS sufferer himself. London-based French photographer Ludovic Robert has been documenting Stu’s story and you can see part two here. And check out part one at this link if you missed it before! Keep a box of tissues handy.

Stu Steps Up Part One
Stu Steps Up Part Two

Paris Photo:
Photobook Fever

Later today in Paris (1pm local time) the winners of the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation Photobooks Award will be announced. Leslie Martin was one of this year’s judges and her interview with Wired is an interesting read. In ‘Take It From a Publishing Pro: The Photobook Format Is Up for Grabs’ Martin reveals that the photobook genre is wide open and the only constant is change. Of the 20 books on the short list in the Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation Awards First Book category 14 are self-published. 

(Photo Andrew White, Wired)

Martin says, “Increasingly, these self-pub books are very sophisticated in their construction and the materials they use…People are manipulating bindings, making beautiful cloth selection and doing things that you don’t find in the usual factory processes. I really respect the creativity in the self-pub world and the level of production has really increased dramatically...” 

Read the full article here - Wired

Check out the list of finalists in Paris Photo Aperture Foundation Photobooks Award here.

Instagram Takeover
The Photographers' Gallery London

If you haven’t already, check out The Photographers’ Gallery Instagram Feed which is currently in the hands of our very own Sam Harris (until 17 November). In parallel with the Gallery’s current exhibition Home Truths: Motherhood, Photography and Identity, curated by Susan Bright, the Gallery has engaged photographers whose work sits in this stream. 

© Sam Harris

Harris is known for his work which is an “ongoing family diary”. His book Postcards from Home has won multiple awards. Of his focus he says, “As I witness my daughters’ transformation in what feels like the briefest of moments, I’m compelled to try and preserve something of our time living together".

See Sam's Instagram Feed here

L’Oeil de la Photographie Launches
The L'Oeil team

“Seventy-five days after leaving Le Journal de la Photographie, we’re back with L'Oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography). The seventy-five days were turbulent and full of passion, and we owe our return to ten sponsors who will support us as we develop a more sustainable business model. We will introduce them in the near future. We would like to thank them all. Our return also owes itself to our team: of the 36 regular and occasional contributors to Le Journal, 34 are with us today as The Eye. And above all, we are here today because of you. The hundreds of messages we received in the past weeks reinforced our determination to return as soon as possible,” Jean-Jacques Naudet Editorial Director.

On a personal note I am delighted to continue to be part of a great team of writers who are passionate about the photographic medium.

Subscribe to L'Oeil de la Photographie today

Saltwater People 

Cyclops Press aka John “Oggy” Ogden’s Saltwater People series – Saltwater People of the Broken Bays and Saltwater People of the Fatal Shore - have won the 2013 National Maritime Museum Biennial Frank Broeze History Award. 

“Sydneyʼs beaches are recognized as the birthplace of Australian beach culture, but few realise that the coastal clans of the Dharug, Eora and Dharawal Nations, who lived along this coastline for tens of thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, were the custodians of the beaches and the many creatures who inhabited this interface between land and sea. Their rich culture and sustainable lifestyle holds many lessons for the current Saltwater People in addressing the environmental issues confronting the ocean beaches” – John Ogden, author, photographer and publisher.

Check out the books at Cyclops Press

Have a great weekend.