February 21, 2014

Friday Round Up - 21 February, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up photojournalist Megan Lewis shares her latest story - a Photojournalism Now Exclusive. Plus the winner of the 2014 FotoEvidence Book Award, a feature interview with Sam Harris and two events for those in Melbourne - tonight the opening of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive Reading Room and the first show of the year for Strange Neighbour Gallery.

Megan Lewis - Conversations with the Mob

“It is possible to be a documentary photographer and in the same breath be a compassionate human being. I believe it is knowing when to act and when not to. I trust my gut, my intuition - life is about being present.” Megan Lewis 2014 

Twelve years ago photojournalist Megan Lewis threw in her full-time job on a daily newspaper, packed her car and camera gear and headed into the Australian desert to live with the Martu people, one of the last Indigenous groups in Australia’s Great Sandy Desert to come into contact with white people.

“When you shoot for a media organisation there is no room for going inside,” says Lewis. “We have this checklist – drama, action, violence or controversy. I wanted to tell a deeper story, and to look beyond the Aboriginal stereotypes created in the media where the focus is predominantly negative and centred on violence, poverty and substance abuse.”

The Australian desert is harsh. Temperatures regularly soar past 50°C in summer, and this dry, hot and sparse land is alien to the majority of Australians who cling to the seaboard. The Martu, or the Mob as they call themselves, number around 850 and inhabit a territory in Central Australia that is approximately the size of the United Kingdom. 

Lewis lived with this Indigenous community for nearly three years creating a body of work that became the book “Conversations with the Mob” which was published in 2008 to great acclaim. But her work with the Martu continued long after she put her camera down and today she remains connected to the Mob. In the past 18 months she’s worked with community leaders to institute healthy eating programs for the children and to build self-esteem through creative pursuits including photography and filmmaking.

In January 2014 Lewis returned to Central Australia. Unlike Conversations with the Mob which was self-funded, this time Lewis had sponsorship to aid in the cost of heading bush where it is easy to clock up thousands of kilometres travelling from one settlement to another. With the support of Fujifilm Lewis continues this remarkable story and you can watch her video here.

All images (C) Megan Lewis shot on the new Fujifilm X-T1

To buy the book visit UWA Publishing
To find out more about Megan Lewis visit her website.

Winner: 2014 FotoEvidence Book Award
Majid Saeedi - Afghanistan: Life in War

(C) Majid Saeedi

This week Svetlana Bachevanova, publisher of FotoEvidence, announced that Iranian photographer Majid Saeedi was the winner of this year's FotoEvidence Book Award.

Saeedi's submission was chosen from a pool of more than 50 entries documenting a wide range of subjects from photographers working in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

“Majid’s work contrasts with a lot of what we usually see from Afghanistan because he didn’t photograph war. He lived with the people he photographed as one of them," says Bachevanova. "All the work selected shows dedicated documentary photographers working with imagination and courage to shine a light on suffering and injustice…We look forward to exhibiting the work in New York this fall when we release the book.”

I interviewed Saeedi in September last year at Visa pour l'Image about this body of work. You can read the story and see more photographs by clicking on Feature Articles at the top of this blog.

Click here to find out more about FotoEvidence and to view the shortlist.

Sam Harris 

"British-born photographer Sam Harris is best known for his body of work “Postcards from Home”, through which he has demonstrated a unique approach to turning family photographs into a visual narrative that appeals to those outside the family circle. But his journey to this point has been one of hard truths, dogged determination and ultimately personal discovery, as he tells Alison Stieven-Taylor.

Postcards from Home (2008-2011), the first of a series, has been published online and is also an award-winning book, which has found wide appeal across cultures. “I think it is a common truth that if something is intimate then it is pretty universal really. I am sure Fellini said something along those lines,” he laughs. “Beyond that I guess the passion and the love that comes across in the photos is maybe refreshing when there’s so much sex, drugs and war photography out there”.

(C) Sam Harris

Harris, who now lives with his wife and two daughters south of Perth in Western Australia, began his career in London shooting bands for record covers. He says he came to photography through his interest in painting; he is another who originally wanted to be a painter, like renowned UK photographer Lewis Morley. “But I fell in love with the darkroom and the ability to play around with negatives and create images from my imagination. From the darkroom I took that into the studio and in-camera,” he says..."to continue to read this story and see more photographs please click on the Feature Articles tab at the top of this blog.

Exhibition: Melbourne
Todd Anderson-Kunert - Strange Neighbour 

(C) Todd Anderson-Kunert

Melbourne gallery Strange Neighbour kicks off its 2014 exhibition program with a solo exhibition by Todd Anderson-Kunert - “The situation we’re in”. Anderson-Kunert has created an installation that incorporates sound, image and 7” vinyl to create an immersive experience that is “centered around an abstracted ballroom”. Within this space “these components rhythmically keep time, moving towards each other and coming apart. Each component is like an event and a beat; some are everyday, others dramatic. They reflect and refract each other, creating a composite of tangent emotions.”

Strange Neighbour
395-397 Gore Street
Until March 22
Opens tonight at 6pm - 9pm 
Visit the Strange Neighbour Website here.

Opening: Melbourne Tonight
Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive 

(C) Li Kejun  

Tonight the new home for the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive Reading Room will officially open. Located next door to Strange Neighbour Gallery in Fitzroy, the Photobook Archive now has around 300 books with the collection growing daily.

Award-winning street photographer Jesse Marlow will officially open the Photobook Archive. On show will be a selection of books curated from the Archive by Heidi Romano of the online magazine “Unless You Will”.

The brainchild of Daniel Boetker-Smith, the Photobook Archive was created to provide a showcase of work from the Asia Pacific region, which Boetker-Smith says is largely under-represented in the world of photobooks. It is an open-access archive and accepts “photographic books and publications of all types”. The Photobook Archive also showcases books at various photographic festivals providing invaluable exposure for the individual artist and the medium itself.

Tonight 6pm-8pm
395-397 Gore Street

For more information about the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive click here.

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