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.

Book:
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

Award:
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 

Festival:
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:
Sophot.com


Sophot.com is a website focused on promoting social documentary photography. The Sophot.com 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

Screenings:
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
Torsten
Saha Jones & Maya Newell
Susie Hagon
Tom Williams