February 26, 2016

Friday Round Up - 26th February, 2016

This week on Friday Round Up - Daniella Zalcman wins the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award, Stephen Dupont wins the POYi Best Photography Book Award and the Australian Photobook of the Year (Trade Category) for Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars and Jordan Madge wins Australian Photobook of the Year in the self-publishing category. Plus the first solo show in US for Brian Griffin opens at Steven Kasher Gallery in New York and some interesting weekend reading on what's happening in the media.

Stephen Dupont Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars wins 
POYi Best Photography Book Award and Australian Photobook of the Year (Trade)

Brian Griffin exhibition opens at Steven Kasher Gallery New York

Daniella Zalcman wins 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award for Signs of Your Identity

Book Awards:
It's been a busy few months judging book awards - first was the task of reviewing the entries for the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award and earlier this month I was a judge for the Australian Photobook of the Year Awards, which were announced last night at the new gallery space for Photobook Melbourne.

FotoEvidence Book Award

It was an honour to be part of the jury for this important social justice photography award and I am delighted to share some of the images from the winner Daniella Zalcman's Signs of Your Identity project. 

Zalcman took a different visual approach for this narrative creating double exposure portraits, which I found highly engaging and accessible. In telling difficult, often complex stories, it is critical to draw the audience in and make them want to know more, to understand what is going on. I believe Zalcman achieved this with her project, which documents stories of indigenous Canadians who were placed in boarding schools run by the Anglican Church in order to force their assimilation into the dominant culture. 

In Signs of Your Identity Zalcman juxtaposes portraits of survivors who are still fighting to overcome the memories of their residential school experiences, with the sites where those schools once stood. In these portraits she also incorporates government documents that enforced strategic assimilation and points out that even today First Nations people struggle to access services that should be available to all Canadians.

The jury also selected four finalists who will be exhibited with Daniella Zalcman's project at the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award Exhibit in New York in November when Signs of Your Identity will be released as book.

The finalists are:

Narciso Contreras for “Yemen: the Forgotten War”
Mario Cruz for “Talibes, Modern Day Slaves”
Hossein Fatemi for “An Iranian Journey”
Ingetje Tadros for “This is My Country”

Australian Photobook of the Year - Trade & Self-Publishing

Judging these awards involved reviewing physical copies of books that were printed as well as those that were hand constructed. There were a lot of different forms, styles, textures and concepts, which sparked lively debate as to what a photobook actually is. A conversation that continues. 

This year there were two categories for the Australian Photobook Awards presented by Momento Pro Sydney and Photobook Melbourne - trade and self-publishing. 

Winner - Trade Category
Stephen Dupont

Award-winning photojournalist Stephen Dupont was named as this year's winner in the Trade Category for his epic work, Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars 1993-2012 published by Steidl. This heavy tome pays testament to Dupont's unfailing dedication and commitment to long form photojournalism. I'm looking forward to reviewing this book in the next Photojournalism Now: Book Review feature. Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars 1993-2012 also won POYi Best Photography Book Award. 

Winner - Self-Publishing
Jordan Madge
A former Photography Studies College student, Jordan Madge won for his book Red Herring, which was a semi-fictional narrative centred on the disappearance of a young girl in Central Victoria (Australia) in 2009. The narrative in Red Herring is cleverly woven to build suspense and lead the reader on a journey that is at once a product of their imagination and also forensic. Visit Jordan's website here.

Exhibition: New York
Brian Griffin: Capitalist Realism 

Brian Griffin, Bureaucracy, London, 1987
Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Brian Griffin, Businessman, London, 1990 
Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Brian Griffin, London By Night #29, London, 1987 

Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

This is the first solo exhibition in the USA of renowned British photographer Brian Griffin who is most well known for his work in the 1970s that focused on the worldwide disruption of globalisation.

To capture the heroes and victims of Thatcherism and globalisation, Griffin invented a new photographic style, Capitalist Realism, parodying Socialist Realism. In this style Griffin’s photographs embody the essence of the decade, modish white-collars, rock bands suited up in business-casual and tin lunch-pail toting masons. Inspired by the bureaucratic and claustrophobic world of Kafka, by the French filmmaker Jacques Tati and by German Expressionist cinema, Griffin turned the workplaces in which he photographed into stages and his subjects into actors.

Griffin was recognised early on as one of the key British photographers of the 70s and 80s with The Guardian claiming in 1989 that Griffin was “the photographer of the decade", a sentiment echoed by the British Journal of Photography in 2005 who said Griffin was “the most influential British portrait photographer of the last decades.” Ten years later the World Photography Organisation labelled Griffin one of Britain’s “most influential photographers".

Brian Griffin, Eric Foster, Steel Erector, Broadgate, City of London, 1987
Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Brian Griffin, Construction Time Again, Switzerland , 1983
Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Brian Griffin, A Broken Frame, England, 1982
Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

In 1975, along with Martin Parr, Paul Graham, Graham Smith, Jo Spence and Victor Burgin, Griffin was included in the most important exhibition devoted to contemporary British photography: Young British Photographers at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. Since that time he’s had numerous exhibitions and won multiple awards including the Freedom of the City of Arles award during the photo festival Les Rencontres d’Arles in 1987.

This exhibition features over 75 photographs, black and white and colour. If you’re in New York this is a must-see.

Until 9 April
Steven Kasher Gallery
515 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001 

Weekend Reading:

Here are a few links to some interesting stories I've come across recently.

February 19, 2016

Friday Round Up - 19th February 2016

This week on Friday Round Up - documentary photographer Matthew Newton talks about his amazing project On Albatross Island, Australian Warren Richardson wins Photo of the Year in 2015 World Press Photo Awards, Dutch photographer Jan Banning wins the Social Documentary Network’s Call for Entries on Visual Stories Exploring Global Themes (2016) and Reed Exhibitions cancels Paris Photo Los Angeles.

Photo Essay:
On Albatross Island
Matthew Newton in Interview

with Alison Stieven-Taylor

Re-bonding after years at sea alone.

Collaboration takes many forms. On Albatross Island, a remote hunk of rock off the coast of Tasmania, Australia in the middle of Bass Strait, documentary photographer Matthew Newton threw in his lot with a group of dedicated scientists, and artist Richard Wastell, to tell the story of the important scientific work being done in this inhospitable, windswept place.

Newton tells that he always wanted to go to Albatross Island, but the island is restricted to official personnel only and requires a permit. Despite Newton’s inside running – he is a friend of one of the scientists who works there – it took him a year to convince the gatekeepers to grant him access.

“One of the easiest management strategies for scientists is not to publicise places because the less people know, the less likely they want to visit them (and disturb the habitat in a way that only humans can),” says Newton. Although there is little likelihood that Albatross Island will turn into a destination even for the adventurous at heart, as there’s not much there other than birds, rocks, some sparse vegetation and plenty of wind. Add to that crossing one of the wildest stretches of ocean in the world and no beaches on which to land and the prospect of unwelcomed visitors lessens further.

In the end the scientists weighed up the risks and opted to publicise the work being done on the island in the hope it would raise the collective conscience and hopefully lead to more funding for scientific investigation. “The thought is that if you make the community more aware there is the opportunity to also make them care deeply about the place,” says Newton. 

Albatross Island is 18 hectares of conglomerate rock. Its hostile climate offers a haven for the birds, which can nest and raise their young without threat from predators. But it’s not an easy location to shoot. With nowhere to land Newton had to jump overboard onto the rocks carrying all his gear, which comprised digital camera and lenses, recording and sound equipment, flash gear and a heavy-duty tripod for video work. “When the weather is not fantastic you have to be prepared to swim ashore too,” he adds. And there was no room for an assistant either with only five people allowed on the island at any one time.

Accommodation on the island was non-existent so tents also had to be carried. “We camped in this massive cave that runs through two-thirds of the island,” says Newton describing the cave as 1.5km high and the width of two tennis courts. “There’s a valley that runs through it and when the wind is howling at 100kph it offers shelter”. Humans are not the only ones who use the cave. Thousands of fairy penguins also call the cave home and Newton says at night when the penguins came back from a day at sea the noise was deafening. “It is wildlife on mass, it is really extraordinary”.

Newton visited the island three times over a six-month period, the longest stay being 10 days. The biggest technical challenge was recharging batteries. He carried solar power for that task, but efforts were often hampered by prolonged overcast skies. The ground proved a challenge also. Covered in a squelchy ground cover called Pigface, it was difficult to position the tripod securely. But it was the constant wind and the sea mist that were the most difficult to work around.

The first trip gave Newton the opportunity to scope out the various locations where he wanted to shoot and to see how the birds and the light behaved. “There was one colony of Albatross that on a clear evening got the last light. Because the birds are mostly white, even after sunset, the birds will glow more than the surrounding landscape, so any bird that flies up into the dark sky is lit. Also on a windy day there are more birds in the air”. Watching the scientists at work also informed his choices.

Newton visited the island at three key moments: when the birds returned from their long sea journey - albatross can stay out at sea for three to four years and some travel extraordinary distances; during the mating season; and to see the fledglings.

Albatross mate for life although Newton says watching the colonies it was apparent there were other liaisons. “There’s a lot of other stuff going on in the colonies,” he laughs. Most of these birds spend their lives at sea without their partner and when they return in early summer (southern hemisphere) they spend time re-bonding with each other.

During mating season the birds are nesting and each takes a turn sitting on the eggs. “The scientists use this time to put little radio trackers on the birds knowing they will fly out to sea, but come back to the nest in five days or so to give their mate a break. They can see how far they have to fly. One of the things with global warming is that the fish stocks are moving and if the birds have to fly too far the other bird left on the nest gets stressed and abandons the nest. Scientists are also monitoring the overlay with commercial fishing and where the birds fly and if there’s interaction there”.

Newton says one of the most memorable experiences was photographing the birds as they flew over him. “These are 5kg birds and they’re not scared of you so you can get quite close,” he laughs. “The colonies are like airports and the birds have to take off into the wind. They waddle through the colony, past all the others that are sitting on their nests, and quacking as they pass by. They get to the end and spread their wings and lift onto the wind. I was lying on the grass and these giant birds are two foot off the ground and they just fly over the top of you. It’s extraordinary”. 

On Albatross Island - The Exhibition
Newton says that after completing the work a philanthropist came on board to fund the exhibition and catalogue. The photographs are displayed as large format prints along with the illustrations from Richard Wastell.

Working on Albatross Island is an extension of Newton’s commitment to long-form photo essays. In the exhibition’s exquisite catalogue, he writes: “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. Stories are what move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us. Ultimately, as a documentary photographer, I want my work to be part of the conversation in geopolitics, social issues and the environment. To engage with the world on a deeply serious level. The price of admission to this amazing life is that you have to go all the way out there, come back and show the world what you saw. If you take that responsibility seriously it’s a difficult task”.

As our interview winds up I ask him about the sustainability of longform documentary photography. “I’ve got to the point now that I can do a personal project and not lose money, but I’m not at that point where I actually make money. I’m hoping that’s the next step,” he concludes.

On Albatross Island Exhibition
Queen Victoria Art Gallery
Until Sunday 3rd April

Moonah Arts Centre
April 29 - May 21

World Press Photo 2015

Winner Photo of the Year - Warren Richardson

Australian photographer Warren Richardson has been awarded 2015 Photo of the Year in the 59th edition of the World Press Photo Contest. Richardson’s picture of a man passing a baby through a barbed wire fence at the border of Serbia and Hungary also won the Spot News prize.

Richardson who is based in Hungary explained how the photograph was made: “I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone”.

Francis Kohn, chair of the general jury, and photo director of Agence France-Presse, said: “Early on we looked at this photo and we knew it was an important one. It had such power because of its simplicity, especially the symbolism of the barbed wire. We thought it had almost everything in there to give a strong visual of what’s happening with the refugees. I think it’s a very classical photo, and at the same time it’s timeless. It portrays a situation, but the way it’s done is classic in the greatest sense of the word.

Two other Australians were winners:

Daniel Berehulak won first prize stories in the Daily Life category for his New York Times photo essay An Antarctic Advantage, which documents the Chilean, Chinese and Russian research teams in Antarctica seeking to explore commercial opportunities once the treaties protecting the continent for scientific purposes expire.

Rohan Kelly took first prize singles in the Nature category for his photograph of the incredible storm shelf, a ‘cloud tsunami’ approaching Sydney over Bondi Beach. This shot was made even more interesting by the inclusion of the female sunbather engrossed in her mobile phone and unaware of the impending storm.

Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation, said this year’s contest went smoothly despite the volume of work being considered: “This year we had more photographers and more entries than ever in our contest and we see this as a great support of the industry. As an organization, we are delighted by the outcome this independent jury produced, and ready to present an exhibition of wonderful and powerful imagery to a global audience that can trust what they see. We see that the photographers are as committed as we are to providing accurate and fair images on the world’s most important events and issues. We had a new code of ethics for the photo contest and a transparent and rigorous verification process. This resulted in many more entries being checked, but fewer problems than last year being found. In 10 days we will be releasing a detailed technical report reviewing the verification process, and we will then lead the public conversation on these issues. Today, we celebrate the incredible and important work of all our prizewinners, especially Warren Richardson’s photograph”.

You can see the winners gallery here.

Jan Banning - Social Documentary Network 

Dutch photographer Jan Banning has won the Social Documentary Network’s Call for Entries on Visual Stories Exploring Global Themes (2016) for his project Law & Order, which was selected from a pool of 140 entries.

"In Law & Order, Banning contributes to the public debate regarding our approach to crime, especially punishment: do we want retribution or correction? In the US, the number of prisoners has quadrupled in 40 years to 707 per 100,000 inhabitants. In Colombia, this number is approximately 250, in France and Uganda around 100; in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, approximately 60-70. 

Of the four countries in this essay, only the US carries out the death penalty. There is no credible scientific evidence that the death penalty deters criminal behavior. As for the threat of imprisonment: research confirms time and time again that it is also not a deterrent.

What does contribute to the fight against crime is public confidence in the police and other criminal justice agencies. Criminologists have made it convincingly clear that economic inequality is the best predictor of crime and violence. Combating crime is not just a matter of keeping dangerous individuals in check but also of social justice."

Jurors this year were: 
  • Barbara Ayotte: Senior Director of Strategic Communications, Management Sciences for Health 
  • Barbara Davidson: Photographer and Photo Editor, Los Angeles Times 
  • Alice Gabriner: International Photo Editor, Time Magazine 
  • Elizabeth Krist: Senior Photo Editor, National Geographic Magazine 
  • Molly Roberts: Chief Photography Editor, Smithsonian Magazine 
  • Glenn Ruga: Founder & Director, Social Documentary Network 
  • Mikko Takkunen: Photo Editor, New York Times 
  • Jamie Wellford: Independent photo editor and consultant 
You can view the full photo essay on the Social Documentary Network. 

4th Edition of Paris Photo LA Cancelled

Despite great critical acclaim and apparent public success, Paris Photo Los Angeles fair organiser Reed Exhibitions has cancelled the show, which was planned to take place at Paramount Studios between April 29 and May 1, stating it is not viable.

February 13, 2016

Friday Round Up - 12th February, 2016

This week on Friday Round Up the 70's show at Magnet Galleries is extended by popular demand, Robyn Beeche Retrospective for Black Eye Gallery and Peter Elliston at Colour Factory.

Sneak Peek:
Albatross Island
Matthew Newton

Next week read the interview with Matthew Newton and see more of his extraordinary images of this little known Bass Strait island off the coast of Tasmania.

Living in the 70's
Melbourne - Magnet Galleries

Shirley Strachan Skyhooks © John Casamento

This group show features an eclectic selection of photographs of Melbourne during the 1970s. Michael Silver, the co-founder of Magnet, reports that crowds have been flowing through. "It's like the NGV," he says. The show has been so popular that it's been extended until 20th February. 

Black land rights demonstration Bourke Street 1978 © Colin Abbott

Muhmmad Ali and Bert Newton at the Logies 1979 © Bruce Postle

Doc Neeson, The Angels © Mark Hopper 

Red Rattler Jolimont Station © Bob Wilson

St Kilda Fair 1973 © Glen O'Malley 

Bob Hawke fields for Gough Whitlam Richmond 1977

In Conversation at Magnet
On Thursday 18th February Magnet is hosting an In Conversation with legendary Australian architecture photographer John Gollings, pictured below, and Dr. Rory Hyde curator of contemporary Architecture and urbanism at the V&A in London. Gollings was made a Member of the Order of Australia in this year's Australia Day honours. Check out the website for details.

Magnet Galleries Melbourne
Level 2
640 Bourke Street


Robyn Beeche Retrospective
Black Eye Gallery, Darlinghurst

"London gave me the freedom to go ballistic," said Robyn Beeche, the Australian photographer who was considered the "Andy Warhol of London'" and a central figure in that city's counter-culture during the seventies and eighties.

Beeche's studio in Thurloe Square, opposite the Victoria and Albert Museum, was a magnet for creative souls. Drag queen and cult movie star Divine was a close friend, as was designer Zandra Rhodes and founder of the Alternative Miss World Pageant, artist Andrew Logan.

Steve Strange, lead singer of Visage and owner of the New Romantics nightclub Blitz, regularly worked with Beeche on new concepts.

Her collaborations with make-up artists Richard Sharah, Phyllis Cohen and Richard Sharples, where models' faces and bodies were used as an artist's canvas, resulted in some of the most groundbreaking trompe-l'loeil photography of the pre-digital era…" to read the rest of Alison Stieven-Taylor's feature on Robyn Beeche in the Australian Financial Review Weekend click the link.

Above: Beeche also documented the Holi festival in India for 30 years. 
Read the story for more details. 

Peter Elliston - Southern Shores

This series shot in 1993 on the South Coast of England by Peter Elliston is the first exhibition in 2016 for Fitzroy's Colour Factory Gallery. It's a quirky collection of black and white images that echo the 1970s more than the 1990s.



Isle of Wight


Colour Factory
409-429 Gore Street